Kent State Associate professor Claudia Khourey-Bowers succinctly reframed Michelle Rhee’s merit pay agenda to get to its essential flaw: “She thinks that essentially anybody can be a teacher, and if you bribe people with more money than other people then they will do things differently,” Khourey-Bowers said. “Everybody likes to make money, but it’s not the primary motivation for everyone.” The professor’s view is fully supported by research and described in this article.
Written by Esther Quintero for Valerie Strauss’s The Answer Sheet. Read the entire article here.
“The current teacher salary scale has come under increasing fire in the modern school reform area — and not without reason. Systems where people are treated more or less the same suffer from two basic problems. There will always be “free riders,” and relatedly, others may feel their contributions are not sufficiently recognized. So what are good alternatives? Based on decades worth of economic and psychological research, measures such as merit pay are not the answer.
Although individual pay for performance (or merit pay) is a widespread practice among U.S. businesses, the research on its effectiveness shows it to be of limited utility (see here, here, here, and here), mostly because it is easy for its benefits to be swamped by unintended consequences.
Research demonstrates that simply activating the idea of money in somebody’s head can, by itself, reduce that person’s pro-social behavior in subsequent and unrelated situations. For example, researchers Vohs, Mead and Goode (2008) showed that making money salient can later make someone less likely to perform pro-social tasks, such as helping a stranger pick up pencils that have dropped. (see here). …
What else happens when monetary incentives are brought in? As it happens, there is also now a growing body of applied educational research to suggest that the answer is: not much. Empirical studies conducted in Nashville, Chicago, and New York City and elsewhere have concluded that performance pay for teachers has little or no effect on their students’ test scores. So, essentially, these large and expensive experiments reveal what (inexpensive) experiments in other disciplines have been telling us for about 40 years.
The real question is, “Do we want our educators to be motivated primarily by market norms or by social norms?””
Posted: 1:09PM, October 11, 2011
Written by Alyson Perschke, with an introduction by Valerie Strauss, for Stauss’s Answer Sheet blog. Read the
entire article here.
Here is a letter that Alyson Perschke, a fourth-grade teacher in D.C. Public Schools, wrote to Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson about her evaluation under the IMPACT assessment system. ….. IMPACT is a system instituted under former chancellor Michelle Rhee which evaluates some teachers in part on the standardized test scores of their students and is largely based on five half-hour evaluations of teaching skills each year by administrators and master teachers.
“I am writing this e-mail to express the discouragement I feel in my career after my final IMPACT score was released. I credit myself as hard-working and dedicated, almost to the point of being a perfectionist, when it comes to my academic and professional life. …..I am proud to carry this pursuit of excellence with me now that I am in the first few years of my career…….My experience with IMPACT throughout this past school year was one of commendation. The scores I received from my five TLF [Teaching and Learning Framework] observations were excellent, leaving me with a 3.92 average (4.0, 4.0, 4.0, 4.0, 3.63).
My administrator and master educators applauded all facets of my teaching and classroom management, and asked that I be willing to be videotaped as an exemplar and to invite teachers struggling with the Teach rubric to visit my classroom. I received various e-mails from yourself and members of DCPS Central Office praising the high quality education I was bringing to my students each day.
I started with DCPS in the August of 2009 as a first-year teacher. My TLF, CSC, and TAS ratings show how in just two years I have nearly perfected what has been asked of me by my employer. Under the Group 2 rubric, my performance would merit a score of 394/400, an achievement that reflects the high level of professionalism you and I both expect of my performance. However, I, unlike the majority of my colleagues, am given much higher expectations as a Group 1 teacher and only earned 322 points. My students performing “as expected” on the DC CAS [D.C. Comprehensive Assessment System] dropped my score from almost flawless to average. My celebrated teaching deserved only a 2.5 for my Individual Value Added (IVA) score. …
Having IVA account for 50% of a Group 1 teacher’s evaluation is excessive. I teach reading, writing, mathematics, science, social studies, short and long term goal setting, critical thinking, social skills, collaboration, character development, and a love for learning. Using just four mornings worth of data to represent 180 days of teaching and learning is unreliable and insubstantial, a case manifested in the lack of correlation between my 2010-2011 TLF and IVA scores, respectively 3.92 and 2.5. …
The teachers in the “testing grades” are DCPS’s most important tools in showing both the District of Columbia and America the critical changes made in DCPS in recent years. Without equitable and effective ways to assess its teachers and students, DCPS is risking the loss of many talented employees. I will enter my third year as a classroom teacher this week disheartened, questioning my future with DCPS, but still hopeful that significant changes will be made this school year.
Posted: 12:27PM, August 16, 2011
The following originally appeared on Education Week. Read the original here.
Educators frustrated with federal policies and feeling increasingly under siege by their states will be converging on Washington, D.C., the last week of July 2011 for a rally, conference, and march to the White House. The organizers and endorsers—an array of teachers, advocates, researchers, and bloggers—have several issues that they’re pressing with the Save Our Schools rally. The chart below takes a look at the pro and con positions on seven of those issues.
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, signed into law by President George W. Bush, is a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that expanded the federal role in education and set annual testing and accountability requirements.
- Spotlight on No Child Left Behind
- Article: States Cautious on Duncan’s NCLB-Flexibility Offer
- Article: Outlines of ESEA’s Future Emerging on Capitol Hill
- Chat Transcript: Improving No Child Left Behind: A Local Perspective
- Commentary: Time to Kill ‘No Child Left Behind’
- Commentary: Let’s Not ‘Kill Off’ NCLB: A Response
- Commentary: Where’s the ‘Child’ in the No Child Left Behind Debate?
Race to the Top is the Obama administration’s multi-billion-dollar stamp on education reform that rewards states that are leading the way in specified areas: adopting standards and assessments; building data systems; recruiting, rewarding and developing teachers and principals; and turning around the lowest-achieving schools.
- Spotlight on Race to the Top
- Article: ‘Race to the Top’ Said to Lack Key Science
- Article: Rules Urge New Style of Testing
- Article: Race to the Top Winners Face Data Systems Challenges
- Article: Teacher-Evaluations Logistics Challenge States
- Commentary: The Evidence on Race to the Top
- Commentary: An Open Message to President Barack Obama
- Blog: Race to the Top: An Antidote to NCLB?
Standardized assessments—and increasingly high-stakes testing tied to student promotion and teacher pay—are a common method for teachers, administrators, districts, and states to measure progress and make conclusions based on results.
- Spotlight on Assessment
- Article: Test Industry Split Over ‘Formative’ Assessment
- Article: Common-Core Tests to Have Built-in Accommodations
- Article: Tough Work Begins for Race to Top Assessment Winners
- Article: Experts Lay Out Vision for Future Assessments
- Commentary: A Better Way to Assess Students and Evaluate Schools
- Commentary: A Seamless System of Assessments
- Commentary: Moving Beyond Test Scores
The Common Core State Standards Initiative, a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, aims to create a common set of standards and assessments for use across the states.
- Spotlight on Implementing Common Standards
- Article: Critics Post ‘Manifesto’ Opposing Shared Curriculum
- Articles: Leaders Call for Shared Curriculum Guidelines
- Article: ‘Common Core’ Standards Earn a B From Think Tank
- Commentary: Standards Aren’t Enough
- Commentary: The Time for National Content Standards
- Article: Federal Data Shed Light on Education Disparities
- Article: R.I. Aims at Equity in Funding Formula
- Article: Dispute Exposes Tensions Over Charters’ Role in Cities
- Article: Losing States in Race to Top Scramble to Meet Promises
- Article: Study Finds Bad Schools Rarely Get Better—or Shut Down
- Commentary: The End of School Finance as We Know It
- Commentary: Civic Investment and the ‘Skyboxing’ of Education
An increasing number of states and districts are paying teachers based on student performance, giving rise to debate over evaluation methods and theories of motivation.
Posted: 4:55PM, July 28, 2011
Originally posted on the Huffington Post. Read the entire article here.
“The nonprofit group set up by former Washington D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee is facing criticism for hiring a lobbyist to work on controversial legislation in Ohio that partially restricted the collective bargaining rights of teachers.
Between January and April of 2011, StudentsFirst employed Robert Klaffky, the president of firm Van Meter, Ashbrook & Associates and a close adviser to Ohio Governor John Kasich (R) to help push various aspects of education policy.
In particular, the group, established by Rhee after she left the D.C. school system following then-Mayor Adrian Fenty’s defeat, had Klaffky work on SB5, the infamous anti-collective bargaining bill passed into law but already facing the likelihood of referendum…
It now turns out that Michelle Rhee hired a close friend of the governor to lobby in favor of SB5,” said Piet van Lier, head of Policy Matters Ohio who has worked on education in Ohio and opposes SB5. “This bill would require merit pay and test-based evaluations for teachers, neither of which has solid research support as a way to improve schools.”
“SB 5 also dramatically weakens teachers’ rights to collective bargaining at traditional public schools and would prohibit charter school teachers from forming a union at all,” van Lier added. “Rhee’s support for this bill shows pretty clearly that she opposes collective bargaining for teachers.”
Posted: 2:50PM, May 24, 2011