Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Vanderbilt Study Confirms the Obvious

I apologize to readers for my infrequent posting of late. It's the crazy season for me because I work in politics.
Last week on September 21st, 2010 Vanderbilt University released the results of a three year experiment with teacher pay for performance. The conclusion is that teacher pay for performance does not raise student test scores. Congratulations to Vanderbilt on a timely and courageous study. However, considering that teacher pay for performance has been attempted off and on for about 100 years, each time without success, maybe a simple review of history would have sufficed.

The pay for performance folks evidently believe that teachers are holding something back, just waiting for that cash bonus to bring out their true effort. Perhaps that's the way it is in the corporate world or in the world of finance. It's not that way in the world of education.

If the "reformers" want to do some economic good for education they should consider the following: We need educators to have good starting salaries and to reach maximum earning potential in 10 years instead of 25 years. These changes to salary schedules will, to use the common expression, attract and retain quality educators. Also, save the benefits of educators. One of the reasons we have managed to keep quality people in spite of the pittiful wages is that health care and pension have been adequate. How is it that we can now talk about financial incentives for educators in one breath, and about cutting their benefits in the next?

1 comment:

  1. Most teachers want an opportunity to advance their careers, like folks do in other jobs, without having to resort to leaving the classroom to become administrators. They are looking to create a career pathway for teachers and TEACHING. Pay is part of the package, but what else do workers desire as they move on up? Increased status, responsibility, recognition and acknowledgement of a job well-done, as well as a commensurate increase in salary.

    Ed reformers make this all sound so simple--merit pay or pay for performance alone holds VERY little appeal for most teachers.