Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Performance pay fizzles in study

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is among many districts hoping to boost student success by rewarding its most effective teachers. So a new study on performance pay is likely to get as much buzz locally as it is among national educators and reporters today.

The gist: A three-year study of teacher bonuses in Nashville found that the rewards made no difference in student test scores. That's a bit of a shocker, with performance pay emerging as one of the country's hottest hopes for better public education.

Andy Baxter, CMS's performance-pay director, calls the study important and credible but adds that he hasn't had time to review the details. So I don't feel too embarrassed admitting that I haven't either.

Instead, I'll just offer some links to early reports and let you do your own research (there will also be a story in tomorrow's Observer):
Here's the take from The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit education news organization.
Here's Education Week's online report.
And here's a piece from Linda Perlstein, public editor for the Education Writers Association, who goes on to predict how this will play out in "the edublogosphere." (Hmm ... don't think I'll be putting that term on my resume.)


Anonymous said...

Dr. Gorman will find a way to manipulate the data to help his case in regards to "Pay for Performance"! Trust me it is not going away! When you constnalty chaning teachers--who is left to study? the data should be inconclusive.

Have you noticed in reports released to the public you never hear about the negatives of studies done by his team.

Question to Gorman, I noticed that you only stayed in your other districts no longer than two or three years...How could you tell if your strategies worked or if you were effective?

On a positive note....change effect people in different ways. It is important to evaluate the things that needs changing and informing and letting the people give their input on possible changes. You are doing it backwards! It seems that there is an "I" on your team!

Mike said...

I am glad to finally see some studies about the next wizbang idea to improve students and while it sounded like a good idea, there is no "hunt" in that dog. Much like the study about smaller classes, it did not work.

Dump that effort now and dump all other efforts like FOCUS school funding. Yes I would love to see something that would work for this population because they are a drag on our society. So much so, too many countries have passed us in too many areas. We are just above 3rd world status but not in many areas of the country.

Anonymous said...

Those in the trenches already suspected that. Most importantly, Welcome Back Ann! Follow up on the riot at North Meck that disappeared so quickly from the CO last week and CMS never acknowledged.

Anonymous said...

Ann you're back! Yeahhh! Don't over do it. We need you around for a while!

Anonymous said...

There is some sort of report out there ranking every teacher (with test scores) on effectiveness. These 'secret' score reports have remained nameless and some say principals have been told by the super not to give them to teachers.

These reports are what Gorman will use to base this merit pay off of. Shouldn't teachers know how they rank? What's the shroud of secrecy about?

Can someone enlighten me on this topic?

Anonymous said...

If "pay for performance" doesn't work it simply means that they really don't know WHAT to reward or HOW to reward it.

Or both.

It's really that simple.

They are most likely rewarding what they think works instead of what actually works.

Typical of management hubris when they do not look at the facts, but are pushing some cockeyed agenda.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back Ann!

Ann Doss Helms said...

Thanks for kind words, y'all!

9:57, I started hearing about those ratings over the summer. I believe the version I heard then was that parents were going to get ratings of their kids' teachers; Dr. Gorman said no way.

We know CMS does some kind of growth/value-added ratings on teachers, because that's what they've used last 2-3 years to ID teachers who are eligible for Strategic Staffing bonuses. I'd bet those ratings are being examined as part of performance-pay study. Plus, Andy Baxter has been meeting with some teachers to outline one of the formulas they might use to award bonuses.

Anonymous said...


If any of us were the Superintendent we'd like to have some effective tools to "encourage" the work force to carry about the policies of the school board.

The ability to hire and fire are the basics. But I have a feeling that I'd rather offer my teachers something other than an all-or-nothing proposition. I like all the positive tools. Bonus, recognition, professional development. Those are the upside of a difficult world. What could I use for the unpleasant side?

Rather than me make list, why don't the participants of this blog carry the water? Remember, these would be the methods you as superintendent would have. How they work will determine your future employment....and of course achievement.

Bolyn McClung

wiley coyote said...

Let's see, we constantly hear low performing, high poverty schools don't have the best or quality teachers. If that is the case and paying teachers for performance isn't helping kids learn anymore than they would have had the teachers not have the incentive, where does that leave us?

One would think in 40 years, these so called expert educators would have a clue. Obviously they don't.

A culture of testing is depriving poor children of the joy of learning, author and activist Jonathan Kozol told about 650 people in Charlotte Tuesday.

I've said for years that EOG tests are worthless. What has all that testing gotten us? Nothing.

Anonymous said...

Luv ya' Boylan,

However, I think most "highly
effective" teachers teach because for them it is truly a calling - not just a paycheck. As a traditional career for women, the pay scale compared to what an average man makes with often less education and credentials is pathetic. Contrary to conventional wisdom, some of the best teachers are spread across a wide socioeconomic spectrum of schools around the country.

I'm fully on board with you as far as giving administrators greater freedom to fire ineffective teachers. The problem here is powwerful teacher unions, tenure with potential lawsuits and state univeristy teaching programs with their own agendas that qualify teachers to teach in addition to our society's unwillingness to pay good teachers what they deserve.

As the mother of boys, I'm absolutely convinced that having more male teachers in the classroom is critical in closing the achievement gap and fixing the 60% female to 40% male ratio at schools like UNC-Chapel Hill. Men need to be paid what women should have been paid all along or nothing is ever going to change. A good teacher deserves as much respect and pay as a banker.

I look forward to a new documentary coming out soon in theaters about the failure of many U.S. public schools. Teacher unions beware.

Mike said...

Wiley, where we are with testing and such is the punitive reaction of the "educrats" to the complaints the business community that students were coming out of school and could not function. The overblowing of social situations is a specialty of these "professionals" to manipulate the social conciousness using the main stream press. The current game plan, played very effectively I might add, it to use this population to gain and exert their social superiority to the "hick" public.

Therein, they use these "tests" and the usual excuses that this population can not compete with all their disadvantages. As usual, a big deal is made when the tests need to be stepped up and greater achievement is needed. And then more fail the tests.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back.

The real problem is not Gorman, but a board that offers less oversight than a typical corporation. The research is clear on Pay for Performance. This latest study is icing on the cake. But mark my words, no one at the board will try to stop Gorman.

The List is the same thing. Including the small schools at Olympic, which are arguably the most successful High Schools in the West since the end of busing, is just one more example of an agenda that seems about everything but achievement.

Anonymous said...

From 9:32. Wiley,

I agree with some of your statements which are supported by many universities that now make submitting SAT's or ACT's optional including Wake Forest University. Because(knowing you should never start a sentence with "because"), the best predictor of future success is past success.

My sibling attended one of the two best known Ivy League universities in the nation. He had fabulous SAT scores with an OK high school GPA.

My husband attended a good university but would have never been accepted at the Ivy League
university my sibling attended even though his high school GPA was higher.

Guess who makes far more money? - if money is your measure of success.

After a disastrous couple of weeks, I think America needs to start "measuring" success in a whole new old-fashioned way.

Like, how long have you been able to sustain a good marriage, what is your relationship with your children, your parents and are you willing to forgive hurtful
transgressions and acknowledge your own shortcomings in a humble way?

What happened to measuring a person's "quality of life"?

My father-in law has two degrees from Harvard. He's on his 4th wife.
Referring to him as nothing more than a butt-head is generous.

My grandfather had to quit a state college at the height of the Great Depression. He was married and
committed to my grandmother for over 70 years after securing a job with the U.S. Postal Service.

So,how do we measure performance?

wiley coyote said...

Anon: So,how do we measure performance?
September 22, 2010 10:45 PM

Performance? I agree with your thought process here.

I went to college, paid my way and lacked only a few hours of getting an associate degree in architecture, but was getting married, already in the consumer products industry and went that route instead.

I never got a degree on paper but like many, I have a degree in hard work. Today I make a six figure salary because of my hard work, dedication and staying updated on new technology.

I consider myself successful but do not use money as a measure of that success, but rather a culmination of where I came from cutting grass at the age of 12 for $3.00 per yard.

My father was in WWII and Korea, worked for the postal service for 30 years while holding down a couple of part time jobs for extra money.

It's unfortunate that over the past few decades, many people have no concept of personal responsibility and hard work. Entitlements are running rampant.

We hear from time to time powerful and heartwarming stories of a mother with several children living in poverty who worked hard and put her kids through college ro even just to graduate high school. Why is it that story cannot be repeated on a larger scale?

Why is it people today with small children, who may not have graduated high school themselves, not understand their children CAN graduate and go on to lead productive lives?

Unfortunately today, the value of ones character; manners, respect, personal responsibility and what is acceptible at school are virtually non-existent.

M. Aberman said...

We don't need 'Pay for Performance,' so much as we need 'Don't Pay for Lack of Performance.'

Teachers who are effective should be paid well; others should be weeded out. It should be based on success at bringing students who are behind forward while maintaining the rate of growth of good students.

We need to cut back on our fixation with credentials. My bet is that credentials also have a low correlation with performance.

We also need to change the method of teaching. More "great teachers" won't solve the problems of high poverty students who will still have some years when a less than great teacher, giving the pacing guideline's lectures upon the standard course of study to 26 kids in rows of desks, fails to reach them. The students fall behind, and they get frustrated to boot.

There is an etiology to how a child fails to learn and we need to attack the problem based on that.

We need to teach in a way that the teacher watches each individual child learning - which is doable, as shown by the Montessori schools.

Anonymous said...

What about high poverty schools? It is no secret that by the time a child living in poverty enters school he or she has heard 600 words per day while children from professional families have heard more than 2000 words per day. Even the best teacher can not fight this word deficit. With pay for performance, good teachers will flee the inner city schools for the suburban schools where parents read to their children and purchase Your baby can Read. This is really sad.