Posts tagged ‘Merit pay’

March 2, 2012

Diane Ravitch: Is A Public School a Public Good, or a Shoestore?

January 26, 2012

Using Test Scores to Evaluate Teachers Is Based on the Wrong Values

Viewpoint in Jan 25 New York Times

“Numerical evaluations of educators, 40 percent of which is based on student test scores and achievement, will damage the relationship between teachers and students, a relationship at the heart of student success.

It will accelerate teaching to tests instead of teaching to the needs of kidsIt will put teachers in the terrible position of wondering whether the performance of their weakest students on a test might be a threat to their careers.

It will make principals hesitate to lead schools where test scores are low.

As a parent of a special education child who attends my school recently confided, “I worry that no one will want to teach a child like my son.”

Advocates of systems like the new evaluation system in New York, however, look to the business world for school improvement ideas. From this perspective, test scores are viewed as analogous to the way a business looks at profits.

These advocates believe that if teachers are in fear of losing their jobs, they will intensify their efforts to raise students’ scores. The focus is the score (the “profit”), not the child.

For these folks, test scores are the bottom line, and these “bottom line” reformers believe that what gets measured gets done.

Educators have a different belief. We believe that what is nurtured grows.”

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January 24, 2012

Meet François Legault, possibly the next premier of Québec

Simon Tremblay-Pepin on Legault’s political past and future

“Everybody remembers this education reform in Québec, namely because it still affects us today. Nonetheless, a number of people have forgotten other measures Mr. Legault introduced in education. I’ll name just two: performance contracting and success plans. These two attempts reflect François Legault much more aptly than the education reform. In the case of the latter, he was only responsible for its implementation, not its conception.

Performance contracts were arrangements between universities and the Ministry, which made funding for the latter conditional to reaching certain objectives (graduation rate, program revision, balanced budget, etc.). If results were not met, a part of the funding was retained. Success plans followed the same logic but for the elementary/high school system, with emphasis placed on the students’ academic success.

Not only has the outcome of these two measures been negative (incidentally both were dropped or pushed aside), but they appropriately convey Legault’s mentality. He wants to impose the private sector’s methods on the public sector. Institutions that did not meet their objectives were punished with less funding, and yet this logic is absurd in a public system. Indeed, in the end, the citizens using the service and the front-line workers are the ones “punished” for the administration’s failure.”

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January 21, 2012

Teachers, Superman and the “anti-Michelle Rhee”

Education historian Diane Ravitch says education reformers are killing the American school system

You’ve seen Waiting for Superman and were thrilled at education-reform superstar and part-time Sacramentan Michelle Rhee roughing up those bad teachers.

Bill Gates too is spreading the gospel of more testing and technology in the classroom. Even President Barack Obama is getting in on the school-reform act. He followed No Child Left Behind reforms with his own Race to the Top initiative, raising the stakes even higher for schools who lag on test scores.

The testing-and-accountability craze has swept the nation—but here and there are pockets of resistance, led by education historian Diane Ravitch. She was assistant secretary of education under Bush I, and was once a believer in testing and charter schools. She now also believes that Rhee and Gates and the other would-be reformers are actually hurting education, as she lays out in her book The Death and Life of the Great American School System.”

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December 12, 2011

Dianne Ravitch on Whose Children Have Been ‘Left Behind’ by US Education Reforms

A Nation’s Education Left Behind

“We now know that none of the current carrot-and-stick policies will shrink the [achievement] gap. We know it because they have been tried for 10 years and they haven’t worked. Structural changes like charters and vouchers overall will not make a difference. Merit pay makes no difference. Judging teachers by test scores demoralizes teachers and will lead to narrowing of the curriculum—so that the districts where children have the lowest scores will have more time for test preparation and less time for the arts, less time for history or civics, less time for science, less time for physical education. The children who need a great education the most will get the least.

And many more children will be left behind.”

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November 27, 2011

Documentary Exposes ‘The Incovenient Truth Behind Waiting For Superman’

By Robert Green

The release of the 2010 documentary ‘Waiting for Superman’ represented a high point for corporate education reformers in the US. With backing from Bill Gates and several other billionaires, the documentary received an enormous amount of media attention including being featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show.

However, since its release a grassroots movement has been growing to counter the film’s message that teacher’s unions are the problem and that more standardized testing and more semi-private charter schools are the solution. In short this movement of teachers and parents has exposed ‘Waiting for Superman’ for what it is: slick propaganda aimed at destroying public education and enriching the corporate interests behind the charter schools and the multi-billion dollar standardized testing industry.

Teachers, parents and indeed all citizens concerned about public education in Quebec need to familiarize themselves with the grassroots efforts to resist the corporate education reform agenda in the US because elements of that agenda are now being promoted by the two political parties most likely to win the next election. Liberal Education Minister Line Beauchamps has been musing publicly about her intentions to use the performance contracts imposed on schools through Bill 88 to defund underperforming schools. Meanwhile Francois Legault is proposing to enact a merit pay system for teachers while stripping them of their union-protected job security. Thus far, the various unions representing teachers in Quebec have done little to inform either their members or the public-at-large of just how disastrous such policies have been in the US.

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November 24, 2011

Instead of merit pay, raise teacher’s salaries to the national level

Op-ed By Jim Wilson published in the Montreal Gazette Nov 24, 2011

“In Quebec, there is no merit pay for any teacher. Yet without any criteria, senior bureaucrats at school boards and within the education ministry routinely receive thousands of dollars in performance bonuses.

A recent survey found that Quebec’s teachers rank dead last in Canada in both the minimum and maximum pay scales.

In terms of per-pupil expenditures, Quebec spends a similar amount to, if not more than, some other provinces. But the allotment for teachers’ salaries is disproportionately low.

This province’s teachers do not need merit pay. More appropriate would be standard salary increases to bring Quebec teachers to the level enjoyed by their colleagues in the rest of the country.”

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November 13, 2011

US-based National Education Writers Association Research Brief on Teacher Effectiveness

A research brief M. Legault would do well to read…

What Studies Say About Teacher Effectiveness

“As policymakers and school leaders seek new ways to measure and improve teacher effectiveness, it’s important for journalists and others to understand what is known about the topic so far, and what remains unsettled or unknown. This research brief does not synthesize all the studies in this highly technical field. But it does aim to improve the accuracy and clarity of reporting by exploring what the research says about timely questions surrounding the complex topic of teacher effectiveness.”

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October 31, 2011

Henry Aubin on Merit Pay for Teachers

“Merit pay makes excellent sense in theory. That’s why Legault has plenty of company in seeing it as a eureka solution for ailing schools. The Bush and Obama administrations, the Gates Foundation, the New York Times and the Washington Post editorial boards have all embraced the idea.What, you ask, can possibly be wrong with a system that pays teachers more if tests show their students are improving well?Answer: Actual practice, as disinct from theory.At least 10 U.S. states, taking advantage of a federal funding carrot, have so far adopted merit pay based on student testing. Legault might consider this south-of-theborder initiative as a giant pilot project. Results are coming in.”
October 31, 2011

Freakonomics Debate on Teacher Merit Pay

The Debate over Teacher Merit Pay: A Freakonomics Quorum

“Thirty years ago, the methodologist Donald T. Campbell framed what he called a ‘law’ of performance measurement:

‘The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision-making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor.’

Since then, social scientists have documented how simple accountability or incentive systems based on quantitative output indicators have actually harmed the institutions they were designed to improve – not only in education but in business, health care, welfare policy, human capital development, criminal justice, and public administration.”

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