Monday, October 23, 2006

Mo Flow for Teach: Republicans Rescue Election with Merit Pay?

The Boston Globe publishes an AP story "Money Flows into Teacher Bonus Program" that has the Bush administration set to dole out federal pay-for-performance funds to select states that qualified for grants. Sixteen grants totaling $42 million will impact local teachers whose schools secured federal monies by submitting a successful application back in May. Schools that serve high populations of economically at-risk children received priority in the grant process.

The article waxes suspicious on the timing of the grants, and suggests that the monies will inject some sorely needed good news into sinking Republican campaigns. (See this post's title for incredulous response) I'm not so sure that more money for teachers is something many Republicans put high on their wish list anyway. We'll see.

Secretary Spellings believes the grants will work to ameliorate teacher quality differences between affluent and poor districts. "These grants will work to fix this by encouraging and rewarding teachers for taking the tough jobs in the schools and classrooms where our children need them the most," Spellings said. The grants--valued at $1800 to $2000--will be dispersed to teachers and administrators who raise test scores. The off chance of receiving twenty Benjamins isn't much of a reason to swap jobs. Teachers who work with kids who on average are more motivated and achieve more don't gamble for a chance to work with kids whose life chances are severely bleaker.

I'd like to do a study of what happens in these schools after the federal pay-for-performance monies land. There could be some interesting aftereffects like teachers jostling for the kids that are more inclined to make gains in the upper tiers of at-risk tracked schools? I'll shut my trap. Between the Globe and me, that's enough cynicism for one afternoon.


Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

If they want to entice teachers into going into troubled schools, they should think about making sure they have some autonomy. $2K is certainly not enough to coerce me into putting up with lousy administrators who treat teachers like robots.

8:32 PM  

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