Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Why Am I Not Surprised?

Study: Bonuses for teachers don't boost test scores

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Offering middle-school math teachers bonuses of up to $15,000 didn't produce gains in student test scores, Vanderbilt University researchers reported Tuesday, in what they said was the first scientifically rigorous test of merit pay for teachers.
The results could amount to a cautionary flag about paying teachers for the performance of their students, a strategy that the Obama administration and many states and school districts have favored despite lukewarm support or outright opposition from teachers' unions.
The U.S. Department of Education has put a great deal of effort into luring school districts and states to try merit-pay systems as part of its Race to the Top competition, although teachers' unions often have objected on the grounds that they don't have fair and reliable ways to measure performance. In most school districts, teacher pay is based on years of experience and educational attainment levels.
The report's authors, from the National Center on Performance Incentives at Vanderbilt University's Peabody College of Education, stress that more research is needed to determine whether different approaches that link teacher performance to pay or additional training could help boost student achievement.

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Capitalism is a marvel, but it is not the answer to everything. People are motivated by more than just money. And there are just some things increasing pay will not improve. Teacher pay is only a small component of the profession. The real make or break number is the student to teacher ratio.
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