I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Monday, July 18, 2011

Reformy Ideas Do Not Work

But... but... but... we have to make teaching like the "real world"!
A New York City program that distributed $56 million in performance bonuses to teachers and other school staff members over the last three years will be permanently discontinued, the city Department of Education said on Sunday.
The decision was made in light of a study that found the bonuses had no positive effect on either student performance or teachers’ attitudes toward their jobs.
The department had already suspended the bonus program in January amid tightening budgets and concerns about its effectiveness.
The study, commissioned by the city, is to be published Monday by the RAND Corporation, the public policy research institution. It compared the performance of the approximately 200 city schools that participated in the bonus program with that of a control group of schools.
Weighing surveys, interviews and statistics, the study found that the bonus program had no effect on students’ test scores, on grades on the city’s controversial A to F school report cards, or on the way teachers did their jobs.
“We did not find improvements in student achievement at any of the grade levels,” said Julie A. Marsh, the report’s lead researcher and a visiting professor at the University of Southern California. “A lot of the principals and teachers saw the bonuses as a recognition and reward, as icing on the cake. But it’s not necessarily something that motivated them to change.”
Gee, what a shock. Money should be a HUGE motivator for teachers; that's why they got into education in the first place...


CommutingTeacher said...

Another factoid placing the teaching profession away from the "real world" private sector. While we want to be paid a respectable wage for our toil, that is not the bottom line that motivates us. This is not stunning to those of us actually doing the work.

Lisa said...

Another study and statistic Christie can declare "irrelevant," as he did the NAEP report that ranked NJ #1 in the nation in 4th and 8th grade LA and Math.

Another study that should have been done years before anyone decided merit pay was one of the "key ingredients" in improving education.

Another "reform" that left out the most important stakeholder--teachers--in first identifying effective methods to improve education. (I don't remember seeing any study that surveyed educators who are IN THE CLASSROOM as to what they think are effective methods to improve education.)

And as you said, Duke, another "reform" for which no one's considered the price tag, or how to pay for. Unless their way to pay for it is to lower teacher compensation through salary freezes and reductions, and increased teacher payment towards pension and benefits, so that "merit pay" just brings us back to where we are today...and for a method that logically and actually (now with empirical proof) does not affect teacher and student performance.

More smoke screens, more deflection, more obfuscation, more lies...to keep the public in the dark as to their real agenda; one which has nothing to do with benefiting kids.

More studies and articles like this, and more real investigative reporting from the mainstream press, might start clearing away some of the stink, though.

Duke said...

Lisa - NAEP! Oh, I forgot about that. You are very, very good at making those connections.

CG - exactly right. But they never listen to those of us in the trenches,..

thinker said...

I have literally "just" entered teaching from "the real world" where I toiled for over a decade. Here's the thing though, in my experience, merit pay in "the real world" was typically earned collaboratively. I usually had projects to work on with other people, so it was rarely just up to me to earn that bonus. It was about meeting a goal as part of the team. Perhaps that is just my own personal experiences. I realize it is just one example but it just seems odd that everyone is screaming that teachers need to be held individually accountable when in the corporate world, it often a team of people working on a goal....just as it is in schools (classroom teacher, administration, classroom aides, special education teachers, gifted and talented teachers, parents, guidance counselors, etc.) except that no one seems to want acknowledge that.