As Republicans continue to push theoretical and disproven educational policies, research marches on.
MERIT PAY FAILURE: The party of punishment wanted to reward “better” teachers with bonuses, merit pay, while penalizing all the other great teachers. But like all the other studies, where merit pay only works for manual labor, and not intellectual persuits, this bonus program for teachers didn’t work.
Despite the following proof, Republican lawmakers nationwide will continue to promote merit pay as a great idea, and convince many Democrats that there must be something to it.
Edweek: A new study by the Santa Monica, Calif.-based RAND Corp. put the final nail in the coffin of New York City's teacher performance-pay program. The Big Apple's Schoolwide Performance Bonus Program has awarded $50 million to teachers during from 2007 to 2010, but there has been mounting evidence that all those bonuses weren't having much of an effect.
Apparently the RAND study was the final straw. The RAND researchers, like those in the previous studies, found the program did not raise student achievement in mathematics or reading in any grade, nor did it improve teacher job satisfaction. The findings led to the city's decision last week to eliminate the program.
Researchers suggested that the program had not adequately motivated staff to understand the program or buy in to the criteria for the bonuses, and noticed that both participating and control schools already faced intense pressure to improve because of the city's accountability measures. As the report noted, "Many case-study respondents reported viewing the bonus as a reward for their usual efforts, not as an incentive for changing their behavior."
This one failed experiment, the “carrot and the stick” approach to education, will soon just disappear in the debate. A debate controlled by the louder merit pay voices. In the article below,
EdWeek: Merit pay is the zombie of education policy—it just won't seem to die. Even in an environment of less-intense accountability pressure, and even with much larger bonuses, the Tennessee POINT study found that merit pay does not improve student test scores. While it's worth attempting to replicate this experiment, and worth trying to find out precisely why monetary incentives don't help teachers raise test scores, I can't see any reason to be terribly surprised at the results of NYC's merit pay program.