Teacher incentives demotivate Houston teachers

January 26, 2007

Advocates of using pay to improve teacher performance grow excited over the addition of federal money to supplement local district pay incentives. But maybe they shouldn’t.

Contrary to other provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), there is little research to demonstrate that paying a few teachers more will improve student performance. Cheapskates looking for quick solutions advocate pay incentives, though, and some districts have plunged headlong.

Houston is reaping the whirlwind at the moment. Incentive pay went out earlier this week, and disparities showed up immediately.

The Houston Chronicle’s columnist Rick Casey very briefly explains in today’s edition:

It would be appropriate, in a way, for Houston teachers who are upset that they didn’t get bonuses to protest by calling in sick.

Or by stamping their feet and crying.

Or by holding their breath until they turn blue.

It would be appropriate, in a way, because it would be an immature response to an immature accountability system.

I’m not being snide about HISD’s bonus formula, despite some of the anomalies that have been identified, including no bonus for a teacher whose entire class passed the TAKS test nor for a teacher who had been recognized as bilingual teacher of the year.

There are several articles available on the payout, the way the plan is structured, and the problems. I understand the Houston Chronicle also has a web site featuring details of the payouts, including teachers by name, and amounts paid.

This is a great de-motivator. Who thought this through? No one.

Other sources:


Guess who said it: Quote for the day

January 26, 2007

The first step to maintained equality of opportunity amongst our people is, as I have said before, that there should be no child in America who has not been born, and who does not live, under sound conditions of health; who does not have full opportunity for education from the kindergarten to the university; who is not free from injurious labor; who does not have stimulation to ambition to the fullest of his or her capacities. It is a matter of concern to our government that we should strengthen the safeguards to health. These activities of helpfulness and of cooperation stretch before us in every direction. A single generation of Americans of such a production would prevent more of crime and of illness, and give more of spirit and progress than all of the most repressive laws and police we can ever invent — and it would cost less.

Who said it? Who prescribed such a “socialist” plan for our children? John Dewey?  Hillary Clinton?  Answer below the fold.

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