Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Individual Teacher Bonuses: So Effective We Don't Even Use Them

Apropos of this and the general buzz about merit pay, etc, here's an excerpt from Strategic Designs: Lessons from Leading Edge Small Urban High Schools, (where "leading edge" means some of the more progressive Gates-y schools) by Education Resource Strategies, of which I've obtained a bootleg copy:

Rather than using a compensation structure, Leading Edge Schools tend to attract, retain, and reward teachers in more intangible ways, including opportunities to fill informal leadership roles, collaborate with like-minded colleagues, and know students well and feel they are making a difference in students' lives. All the Leading Edge Schools structure teacher salaries based on years of experience and credentials rather than systematically paying more for content area experience, leadership roles, or other additional areas of responsibility. And most Leading Edge Schools use the local district salary schedules, even when not required, such as for charter schools, and even though their teachers work many more hours per year. [...]

At Pacific Rim, teachers and administrators receive a bonus based 50 percent on schoolwide performance measures (state test results and a parent survey) and 50 percent on individual performance measures. Although in theory the bonuses would vary, in the study year, all staff members received the same $1,500 bonus.

In an unrelated note, ERS is yet another example of a non-profit who takes foundation and public money to write... proprietary software. *Sigh.* Someday we'll all enter the 21st century.

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