Thursday, January 29, 2009

Passing Grade for Incentive Pay

It’s nice to see some workers doing well in this down economy. Teachers in the Houston ISD are being rewarded for doing a better job of teaching our kids, the proof of which is showing up in better test scores, and the bounty for which is showing up on teachers’ paychecks.

HISD teachers reaped over $31-million in bonus pay yesterday… amazingly, the Teachers’ Union criticized the incentives because they were too dependant upon test scores.

Say what?
How else will you measure a teacher’s effectiveness than by testing the knowledge of the students they’re educating?

There is a complex methodology for determining whether a teacher is eligible for bonus pay, based upon the potential students have, and how far above that level they actually achieve. In an environment where teachers are woefully underpaid, incentivizing job performance is one way to reward teachers who accel, and in so doing, help their students to accel as well.

One teacher who failed to receive a performance bonus the past few years changed her methodology from giving multiple-guess tests to assigning more novel reading to make learning more relevant.

Her bonus this year: $6,200.
The highest bonus went to an English teacher--$8,500.

Some teachers have refused to participate in the bonus pay program, boycotting the process to underscore the point that teacher pay is embarrassingly low. Tru dat, but paying a teacher better wages for producing better results seems like reasonable proposition.

Compare and contrast.

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