Friday, January 13, 2006

Merit Pay

NYT reported Over the objections of the teachers' union, the Board of Education here on Thursday unanimously approved the nation's largest merit pay program, which calls for rewarding teachers based on how well their students perform on standardized tests.

Good for them. I think the ultimate solution to public education would be to cut teacher's salaries in half, and then distribute the saved money totally based on results; the better the job the teacher does, the more money he makes.
The $14.5 million program, which immediately replaces a model with lower incentives, would distribute up to $3,000 annually per teacher and up to $25,000 for senior administrators.
I would have put more into the merit pay for teachers, and less for administrators.
Abelardo Saavedra, the Houston superintendent of schools, praised the vote, saying that it "will ensure that the academic growth of each child is important and will be compensated." Houston business leaders also supported the change. But Gayle Fallon, president of the United Federation of Teachers, which represents about 40 percent of the district's 12,300 teachers, condemned the program as misguided.
That is what the teacher unions always say.
In its place, Ms. Fallon called for across-the-board raises to lift Houston from what she said was the low-paying end of area school districts. "No one has been able to show us one ounce of research that paying teachers for test scores improves performance," she said.
Most of the time the teachers union kills merit pay, so it really has not been tried that often.
The 9-to-0 vote at the board meeting of the Houston Independent School District, the largest in the state, with 210,000 children, opened a new front in the national dispute over teacher merit pay and excited particular emotion in a city bruised by a cheating scandal that called some schools' test results into question.

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