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The Challenge of Using 'Merit Pay' to Reward Teachers

I have been reading Barnett Berry's latest article. He is the President and CEO of the Center for Teaching Quality and his opinion about merit pay is worth sharing with you folks. Berry refers to Whitmire & Rotherham Teacher Unions commentary on The WSJ:

    ...The systems being proposed by such analysts as Whitmire and Rotherham are built on shaky technical ground: pay systems that do not reward the best teachers (e.g., see Houston’s ASPIRE program), or rely on unstable student test scores (e.g., see Tim Sass’ analysis of the instability of value-added measures in Florida), or favor teachers who teach in easy-to-teach in schools (see Stein’s review of the Hillsborough County, Florida program).

    Do not get me wrong: Unions need to do a lot more to promote performance pay systems that students deserve — and we (and our Teacher Leaders Network ) have been pushing them to do so. Too many union leaders have been recalcitrant or asleep at the wheel. They should be leading teacher pay reforms — and not just saying no to proposals for change. But I wonder why analysts, such as Whitmire and Rotherham, do not report on why unions often object to merit pay — as opposed to uniformly castigating them as purveyors of the status quo. Without even-handed reporting and discourse, it is difficult to advance the conversation and implement much-needed reforms in public education. Perhaps journalists and policy analysts might turn to teacher leaders themselves in advancing the dialogue on the future of the teaching profession.

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