Inside Opinion

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Tag: merit pay

Sep.
26th

Agreed: Merit pay no quick fix for public education

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

Critics of school and teacher accountability are finding a little too much validation in a recent study of merit pay.

The study, conducted by Vanderbilt University’s National Center on Performance Incentives and billed as the first scientifically rigorous test of merit pay, was the result of a three-year experiment in Nashville schools.

About 300 middle school math teachers volunteered for the trial. About half were paid a set stipend for participating. The other half had a crack at bonuses of up to $15,000 if their student’s test scores improved.

The result: On the whole, students in the control group’s classrooms didn’t learn more than the students taught by teachers eligible for the extra money.

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Aug.
19th

Seattle opens next front in education reform effort

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

Seattle Public Schools administrators are fighting a battle for schoolchildren across the state.

The district has decided to go to the mat over teacher performance evaluations. District officials want teachers to be judged based in part on their students’ academic growth.

The union says the proposal is a no-go. With the school year fast approaching, a strike could be in the offing.

The Seattle Education Association would rather stick to a previous compromise: an evaluation system that would put teachers who rate “basic” or “unsatisfactory” at risk of dismissal.

What a radical notion – that teacher performance should dictate a teacher’s career prospects. Such is what qualifies as “historic change” – union officials’ words – in public education.

The district’s proposal is also rather modest contrary to the union’s characterizations.

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Jan.
14th

A classroom view of school reforms

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Many people presume to speak for teachers: lawmakers, parents’ groups, the Washington Education Association, various K-12 lobbies. But there’s no substitute for letting teachers speak for themselves.

What teachers think is a particularly timely question right now. Last year, Washington forfeited any claim it might have had to $4 billion in “Race to the Top” funding the Obama administration has offered to states pioneering cutting-edge reform strategies. In Olympia, the political resistance to some of those strategies – merit pay, for example – has often been framed in terms of what’s best for educators.

After the Race to the Top failure, a partnership of pro-education organization decided to find out what a scientific sample of actual rank-and-file teachers thought of the proposed reforms. The Excellent Schools Now Coalition surveyed educators in November. As it turns out, they appear much more receptive to the Race to the Top policies than some seem to think.

Excellence in Schools Now is a high-credibility group that includes the College Success Foundation, Black Collective, League of Education Voters, Stand For Children and the Washington Roundtable. Some of the results from its survey:
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