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When Performance Pay Goes Public


These days, you can find out what parents think about your teacher, what campaigns your teacher gives to, whether or not he or she's "highly qualified" under NCLB, and -- for the places that have performance pay programs in place -- who's getting a performance bonus.

That's according to this interesting piece in the St. Pete Times. "Thanks to a new bonus plan, we'll know which teachers get the rewards. But what will parents do with that knowledge?" (Via EdNews.org) The day after the teacher info came out in Houston, according to the article, the site got 400,000 hits. Not that there's anything wrong with that.


Performance pay is the next step in education reform. The anachronistic practice of teachers receiving raises for years in service and degrees earned is coming to a close. William Sanders, a statistics expert from the University of Tennessee, has developed the most sophisticated model for objectively evaluating teachers called value-added assessment. It is perhaps the most accurate system for determining merit pay for teachers to date. VAA aggragates students' scores over time to determine which teachers are performing most effectively according to that state's standards. Everyone in the system needs to make sure there are no shenanigans involved with the tests. There also needs to be specific language that covers all "teachers" (i. e. art, music, phys. ed. etc.) eligible for the $$$$. The "teacher of the year" as ordained by the school board, the union, the superintendent, the student body, the chamber of commerce, etc. is a subjective evaluation and has no bearing on the actual performance of that teacher for that year. Politics play no part in these raises. Finally, teachers will be paid based on their performance. It's about time!

Paul Hoss
Marshfield, Massachusetts

One of the things that has been completely eradicated from the NCLB HQT demands is that teachers who failed to pass the Praxis testing are removed from the school and placed on a 90-day suspension. In the meantime, where are they going to get the monies to retake the tests, if they are unemployed? Thus this also adds to the increase of the teacher shortage. ETS gets richer and the students become poorer in learning and achieving academic success. No test can determine the quality of teaching that takes place in the classroom, school or community.

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