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January 27, 2011 - Fierce Health Care
Merit Pay for Doctors Doesn't Work

Pay-for-performance initiatives that tie better outcomes to financial incentives for physicians doesn't work, according to a study published recently in the British Medical Journal.  The finding comes from an examination of the impact of performance targets on quality of care and outcomes among British patients with hypertension.

January 26, 2011
Washington DC Teachers Turn down Bonuses

Forty percent of D.C. Public Schools teachers rejected the thousands of dollars in bonuses offered to them for being "highly effective" educators under the evaluation system introduced last year. 

It wasn't out of humility, but because teachers would have to sign away some of their job security to accept the cash, the union chief said.

September 14, 2010 - Washington Post
D.C. Bonuses Come with Strings

Last Friday, the Washington D.C. Public Schools honored its 663 "highly effective" teachers at a Union Station reception.  The new merit pay system, IMPACT plus, rewards teachers for improving student test scores.  Teachers who accept the bonus money, however, waive their rights to certain considerations if they lose their jobs because of enrollment or program changes at their schools.  Other teachers who lose their jobs can take a $25,000 buyout, early retirement with 20 years of service, or a full year with pay and benefits to look for another position in the system.

September 12, 2010 - Washington Post
D.C. Unveils Merit Pay Details 

Washington D. C. school officials detailed how teachers could qualify for merit pay bonuses.  The bonuses are targeted toward teachers who receive the best evaluations.  Once the evaluations threshold is met, those teachers qualify for bonuses if they teach hard-to-staff subjects or if their students improve on standardized test scores.

July 29, 2010 - Washington Post
Error Rates in Evaluation Based on Test Scores 

Value-added measures have become all the rage in evaluating teachers.  An emerging body of research has found that these value-added estimates based on a few years of data can be imprecise.

May 17 2010 - Huffington Post
Research Shows Merit Pay for Teachers a Bad Idea 

In the proposed plans for teachers supported by Obama and by the US Department of Education in their Race to the Top grants, merit pay plans tie teacher's pay to the scores their students earn on standardized math and reading tests.  Advocates of this approach base their support on two assumptions:  first, that merit pay is long-established and widespread in the private sector, and second, that students' test scores are a reliable way to gauge how well teachers are doing their jobs.  Both assumptions are faulty, according to an Economic Policy Institute research report.

Teachers, Performance Pay, and Accountability

March 29, 2010 - Washington Post
Race to the Top Awards got to Delaware, Tennessee 

Education Secretary Arne Duncan selected Delaware and Tennessee as the only two states that quaified for the first round of Race to the Top grants.  Delaware will get as much as $107 million and Tennessee could be awarded $502 million.

December 23, 2009 -
Why Merit for Teachers is no the Answer 

Kim Marshall of Education Week provides eight flaws of a traditional merit pay program.

January 19, 2010 - Bloomberg
Obama to add $1.35 Billion to The Race 

President Barack Obama said he's adding $1.35 billion more for education in his budget to improve test scores and help students in an increasingly competitive global economy.

November 24, 2009 - Citizens Economists
Gates Foundation Commits 

The Gates Foundation announced it will commit $335 million to fund experiments in tenue, evalation, compensation, training, and mentoring in several large school districts and a few charter schools.

October 1, 2009 - SYSCON.COM
New Report on Teacher Pay Reform 

According to a core conclusion of Teacher Compensation and Teacher Quality, a new report from the Committee for Economic Development (CED), a business-led public policy group, reforms are needed in the way American public school teachers are paid to ensure that schools will be able to meet their goals and meet the demands for raising student achievement.  Schools must attract and retain high-quality teachers, the report states, but "traditional compensation policies for teachers are out of sync with the objective of expanding the pool of talented individuals who are willing to teach."

June 9, 2009 - Associated Press
Secretary Duncan Supports Merit Pay 

Education Secretary Arne Duncan supports merit pay for teachers but not solely based on standardized test scores.  He says he want it done with teachers, not to them.

May 21, 2009 - Labor Notes
DC Teachers Resist Attacks on Tenure 

Washington D.C. schools chief Michelle Rhee wants to give teachers bonuses in exchange for their tenure rights.  Rhee's hard line position has been rejected by the teachers.  The parties have now brought in an independent mediator, former Baltimore mayor Kurt Schmoke.

May 7, 2009 - Washington Post
Obama Seeks Millions for Teacher Pay Plans 

President Obama is seeking to add hundreds of millions for teacher merit pay programs, an investment in a reform that has often drawn criticism from teachers unions.  The Department of Education is seeking $517 million for performance pay grants, up from $97 million in last year's budget.  In addition, the stimulus law included an additional $200 million for such programs.

March 11, 2009 - Politico
Obama Proposes More Money for Improved Student Achievement 

In his speech on education yesterday, President Obama said, "Good teachers will be rewarded with more money for improved student achievement and asked to accept more responsibilities for lifting up their schools."

March 2, 2009 - Huffington Post
Chancellor Rhee Threatens Teachers Union

Washington D.C. Chancellor Michelle Rhee has declared that she will unilaterally impose a new teacher evaluation system that will result in widespread dismissals of teachers who fail to mee minimum standards.  "She is correct to say she has the power to unilaterally impose a teacher evaluation system," one American Federation of teachers official told Huffington Post, but "all you have to do to get her real agenda is to look at the language she used with you.  Words like 'impose,' 'unilaterally,' 'regardless,' and 'power.'  They all say the same thing.  She wants to do it to teachers, not work with them."

February 20, 2009 - D.C. Examiner
DC Teachers Respond to Chancellor Rhee Proposal 

Under Washington D.C. School Chancellor Rhee's proposal, teachers would be paid more if they gave up tenure.  The Washington Teachers Union has responded wih "United for DC Kids."  In a news release, WTU President George Parker said, "We know we have presented a comprehensive and reform-minded proposal that will help D.C. public school students flourish, while being fair and supportive of teachers."

December 5, 2008 - Washington University
Study Links Merit Pay to Fraud 

McLean Parks and James Hesford conducted a controlled study to test their hypothesis that performance bonuses may cause fraudulent behavior.  Professor Parks sums up the results of the study this way, "If you pay someone contingent on their performance, you have motivated them to perform.  However, if they are unable to perform well because the task is hard, because of economic conditions, or whatever, you have also given them an incentive to cook the books."

November 17, 2008 - OPB News
Washington Task Force to Push Merit Pay 

The Washington legislature created the Basic Education Finance Joint Task Force in 2007.  In its final report, due December 1, the task force will recommend longer school days and merit pay for teachers.

October 6, 2008 - Washington Post Editorial
Merit Pay Could Ruin Teacher Teamwork 

In his editorial, Jay Mathews worries that merit pay schemes will negatively impact how teachers work together.  Speaking about the charter schools he has examined, Mathews notes that, "Their staffs thrive on teamwork.  Everyone shares lesson plans, swaps ideas and reinforces discipline to help each child.  Won't big checks to just a few members of the team ruin that?"

September 2, 2008 - News & Observer
Study Suggests Changes in Teacher Pay 

A new study from a Duke University economist says these credentials are "valuables" and that, after a certain point, experience doesn't have much effect on student achievement.  The author of the study suggests greatly increasing beginning teacher pay while reducing what teachers would make later in their careers.  Critics of this study agree that beginning teachers deserve more money.  But they disagree with his remedy.

February 21, 2008 - Vanderbilt University
National Conference on Performance Pay 

The National Center on Performance Incentives is sponsoring a national conference on performance pay for teachers.  "Performance Incentives:  Their Growing Impact on American K-12 Education" will take place February 28 and 29.  The Center was created with a $10 million grant from the United States Department of Education.

November 20, 2007 - ABC News
Obama Supports Performance Pay

As part of a broader education platform, Senator Barack Obama supports performance pay based, in part, on student performance.  Obama cited Denver as a successful example and noted that any such plan must be collectively bargained.

October 9, 2007 -
States Look to Performance Pay

The controversial idea of paying teachers based not on how long they've been teaching but on how much their students learn got a boost when a key congressman recently propose adding pay-for-performance money for teachers in high-poverty schools to the next version of the federal No Child Left Behind education law.  Unions and other teacher support organizations, however, have contended that merit pay relies too much on tests that may not paint an accurate picture of how well someone teaches.

September 18, 2007 - Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll
Public Attitudes toward the Public Schools

The just released Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll indicates that 52% of parents felt "there is too much emphasis on achievement testing" in 2007 compared to only 32% in 2002.  62% said that the current emphasis on standardized tests was a bad thing because it encouraged teachers to teach to the tests.  Only 39% of parents were concerned about this in 2003.  82% prefer a measure of student improvement, rather than whether students pass a test, as the best way to measure school performance.

July 9, 2007 - Concord Monitor
Two Democrats, Two Takes on Teacher Pay 

Senator Chris Dodd has criticized a proposal on teachers' pay offered by Sen. Barack Obama, one of his 2008 Democratic rivals, who advocates different salaries depending on the subjects taught and students' performance.  Dodd, who did not mention Obama's name, said, "I fear that instituting a merit-pay system may encourage teaching to the test and discourage teachers from working in schools with large numbers of disadvantaged students."

June 12, 2007 - Washington Post
Higher Salaries Needed to Attract Match and Science Teachers

Higher starting salaries, more rigorous teacher training programs and additiona support for first year teachers are just a few of the incentives needed to deal with a projected shortfall of more than 280,000 math and science teachers across the country by 2015, according to a group of businesses, foundation and higher education leaders.  Some teachers unions worry that different pay scales would encourage discord on faculties.

May 10, 2007 - All American Patriots
Kennedy, Miller Introduce TEACH Bill

Rep. George Miller (D-CA) and Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) today introduced legislation to build and elevate the teaching profession to make sure that every classroom is headed by an excellent teacher.  The lawmakers said that the Teacher Excellence for All Children (TEACH) Act provides a blueprint for improving teacher quality under No Child Left Behind law.

April 17, 2007 - The Ag (Australia)
Australia Parents Propose Teachers' Pay Mode

An Australian Paren Council is calling on bonuses to be given to new teachers who excel in the classroom and experienced teachers who mentor younger colleagues.

April 13, 2007 - ABC Online Australia
1,132 Schools Qualify for Merit Pay

Against the wishes of the Federal Education Minister, The Australian States and Territories have agreed to work towards a national standard for school curricula, but the controversial topic of performance pay for teachers has been rejected.

February 14, 2007 – USA Today
Paying ‘Effective’ Teachers More

This USA Today feature examines the controversies and issues related to tying teacher pay to student achievement test scores.

January 4, 2007 - USA Today

A new website by the National Council on Teacher Quality, scheduled to launch today, promises to shine a light on teachers' working conditions. It gathers the minutiae of union collective-bargaining agreements and state policies for the nation's 50 largest school districts into a consumer-friendly database that allows anyone to compare districts. Together, the 50 districts educate 8 million children — about one in six public school children in the USA — and employ nearly half a million teachers.

September 28, 2005 – The Boston Globe
How ‘Merit Pay” Squelches Teaching

Merit pay for teachers was first attempted in England around 1710.  The result was that educators narrowed the curriculum to include only the testable basics.  Music and other subjects disappeared from the classrooms.  The plan was ultimately dropped as a bad idea.  Similar attempts in the years since have experienced the same outcome.

Since then, however, politicians and policymakers, with a greater interest in a political agenda than in fundamental reform, continue to advance the notion of merit pay.


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