Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Teachers paid bonuses for student results!

I was shocked to read this in the Age today...

"In January this year, nearly 8000 teachers working in the US city of Houston, Texas, received bonus cheques from a $US14 million merit pool as part of the district's biggest-ever performance pay scheme. Each teacher was measured against a complex formula that attempted to assess how they helped individual students improve on annual standardised tests. Based on their "performance", some teachers received as much as $US7175 ($A8174); others as little as $US38. Soon after cheques were issued, the name of every teacher who was rewarded a bonus - and exactly how much they received - was published on the website of the city's local paper, the Houston Chronicle."

To read the full report click the link.

Pay as you learn - In Depth -

Imagine the uproar as these teachers' names were published in the paper. Parents clambering over each other to demand that their children be taught by those teachers ranking highly. The shame and condemnation of those teachers scoring poorly. What an education system to be a part of!

But wait... There's more!

After a while you get used to reading these sorts of stories about educators in the US and with a shake of the head and a 'tut tut' you thank your lucky stars it could never happen in your country (insert your country here). Well, I was shocked to read at the bottom of this report that the Federal Education Minister of Australia was entertaining this as a GOOD idea! What???

Thank goodness I moved to New Zealand.

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Unknown said...

When will this neoliberal madness end? There is no solid basis for implementing an incventive system for teachers that is built upon the ideas of free market economics. Education needs to be free from the fetters of the market. It will not be well served by encouraging teachers to treat thier students as customers.

Anonymous said...

It would put me right off. See my views on the sort of classroom I would prefer.

My sort of classroom


Anonymous said...

Maybe it's the only way to improve teaching in the US and to provide a wakeup call to teachers who should have resigned long ago! Have you seen the video 'Stupid in America'? It's very interesting.

Unknown said...

Lyn, this is not a question of whether or not we should strive to improve the quality of teaching. Of course we should. The question is: are the principles of neoliberal economics - which demand that we treat students as customers - the most apt mechanism for improving the quality of education. I say, it isn't. And there is no evidence to suggest otherwise. Neoliberalism is a nasty ideology that educators everywhere should resist.

Jane Nicholls said...

Hi Lyn
I just watched the stupid in America video and it really is sad. I have read blogs by talented US educators and I want to believe that this video is over the top. But that aside, I still think that standardised testing and rewarding teachers for teaching to the test is not the answer. I think that maybe that is the reason for the bad results schools are getting in the US now. We need to teach individuals and we need to design our assessments to suit the individual.