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Why Do You Ask?

From asking questions that require an answer To asking questions that require a conversation.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Why Pay-For-Performance Will Not Work to Improve Learning

Humans try to understand new things through metaphor and analogy.

Pay-For-Performance is akin to working on commission.

When people work on commission, they do not share or cooperate, because it may mean the loss of a sale to a colleague.

It works this way in insurance companies, car dealerships, electronics stores, clothing stores, and it will be the same in schools. Salespeople do not share their "best practices" with their colleagues for fear that the competition to put food on the table will become to great.  It is an issue of personal survival in a capitalist economy.

Sure, your office may attend profession development to maintain licensure, go listen to Zig Ziglar or Tony Robbins together, but when it comes time for the customer to walk in the door, a commissioned worker will not divulge their information for making a sale to a co-worker.  The competition for limited amounts of money is too costly.

The same will happen in schools that are forced to use pay-for-performance methods (whether we call it that, or merit pay, or any other misleading title).

The fact will become, that when a teacher finds themselves in competition for limited funds with another teacher, collaboration will end.  Sharing what works best in student learning will be detrimental to their paycheck.

That's no way to improve learning for students.

In my state of Georgia, our out-going governor (who will be able to hide from his decisions made this Spring) is seeking (and winning approval from Arne Duncan) to rid the state's current pay grades.  Teachers, as most know, are currently paid based on time and level of degrees.

The proposal is to pay a base salary (unstated), and then reward teachers for student gains (also unstated, but surely based primarily on testing).

This proposal is like making a single sale on which to base one's personal budget. 

A Bachelor's degree will be the only basis of pay.  Earning a Master's, Education Specialist, or Doctorate will mean nothing to the teacher as far as payment.  Ironic, don't you think that education is actually being called insignificant - in the education field!  You can't make up this kind of stuff.  Hollywood wouldn't even buy this kind of storyline.

Is this really the best we have to offer our nation in regards to education reform?

Posted via email from Murry's World

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