Tag Archive: merit pay

The selling of #CCRAP

Cross-posted with Marie Corfield. Promoted by Rosi.

In a previous post I compared the selling of PARCC to an as-seen-on-TV gizmo that promises to make your life perfect for only “3 easy payments of $19.95.” But unlike the Veg-O-Matic, frustrated, white suburban moms, and parents of all colors in all locales, have quickly discovered that the cost of the PARCC and its conjoined twin, CCSS, is anything but easy. They’re standing up and fighting back in droves. And that doesn’t sit well with the folks who market and sell this hokum. So, as Anthony Cody recently reported, somebody created an easy-to-use “How to Talk About Testing” ad campaign guide complete with a cute little bunny rabbit graphic and a classroom-friendly layout and fonts. I guess they figure if they treat parents like second graders, all will be well.

I wonder how many “easy payments of $19.95” this cost? And who created it? And who it’s being sent to?

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School Reform: Baseball Bats to Bad Data

Cross-posted at A New Jersey Farmer.

Remember when Joe Clark was the face of educational reform? The former Principal of Eastside High School in Paterson, NJ patrolled the hallways of his out-of-control institution in the 1980s with only a bullhorn and a baseball bat, fighting poverty, gangs, crime and under-performing students as the face of urban education. His tactics were crude and anti-education, but the fact that he was a hero to many spoke volumes about the way in which people saw the problems in our schools.

Today, the people with the bullhorns and the weapons are politicians and business owners who believe that the best way to cure the ills of public schools that have educated the freest, most productive people who’ve ever lived on this planet, is to make our schools just like the entities that led the way towards job outsourcing, unconscionable home loan processes, and a laser-like focus on stock prices that have almost bankrupted the economy.

Joe Clark’s sounding mighty effective right now.

The Failure of “Reform” – Merit Pay

Let’s keep this simple:

Every time merit pay has been tried in schools, it has failed.

When corporate reformers point to a merit pay program that works, inevitably there are many other variables at play. But when controlling for other factors, merit pay is an abject failure.

Belief in merit pay reminds me of Linus in the pumpkin patch. It doesn’t matter that the Great Pumpkin disappoints him year after year: he insists on believing. He can’t adjust his view of the world based on facts; the world must adjust to him.

So I’ve given up trying to change people’s minds on this. Either you are open to the truth, or you’re not. And the truth is, merit pay will never, ever help student achievement.

But don’t listen to me: (trust me, this clip is worth it)

Ed Reform 101: Summary Edition

Ed Reform 101So. What have we learned?

Standardized testing is generally bad for students, expensive, unreliable and biased. It is a terrible tool for evaluating teacher effectiveness. No parent would ever want their child’s entire academic identity to be boiled down to one single test on one single day. Who even likes these tests? Not the administrators. Not the teachers. Not the students. But despite that, stacks of bubble sheets, in all of their irrelevance, should be used for making staff decisions in our schools? Even though the folks who design the tests explicitly say that they should not be used for that purpose? And what about those who teach art, music or physical education? The question itself is arbitrary and absurd: “What percentage of teacher evaluation should be based on standardized test scores?” The clear answer for any serious educator or statistician is “zero.”

Ed Reform 101: Merit Pay, Seniority & Tenure

Blue Jersey’s Ed Reform 101

Part 3 – Myths about Merit Pay, Seniority & Tenure

Ed Reform 101As with so many other parts of the corporate “reform” agenda, adherence to merit pay and abolishing tenure is more a matter of faith than reality.

The truth is that there is no evidence that radically changing how we fire, layoff, and pay teachers will have any positive effect on student learning. There are, however, many reasons to believe that instituting merit pay and getting rid of tenure will harm students and the interests of taxpayers.

We also know that the difference between high-performing and low-performing schools is not whether they have merit pay schemes, or tenure, or lay offs based on seniority; why impose these changes on schools that are doing a great job educating kids?

What you should know about merit pay, seniority & tenure:

  • “Pure” merit pay experiments in schools have failed every time they’ve been attempted.

  • Merit pay, as conceived by corporate “reformers,” is rare and limited in scope in the private sector.

  • Experience matters, and senior teachers should not have to fear for their jobs simply because they’ve followed the decades-old tradition of making more money later in their careers.

  • Teachers are fired or counseled out of the profession regularly.

  • Tenure is necessary not just to protect teachers, but to protect students and taxpayers from cronyism and corruption.
  • Stop Demonizing New Jersey’s Teachers!

    Sometimes diaries here are like firecrackers that set off a crackling downpour of challenging comments. This diary definitely does – thanks, Helios. The convo started yesterday, and comments are still flying. What’s your opinion? – Promoted by Rosi

    As a teacher in New Jersey, I’ve been quite disturbed at the venom and hate-mongering that has been reported (and I would argue promoted) by the NJ press.

    In the latest attack, published today, Star-Ledger Editorial Board Member Kevin Manahan blasts New Jersey teachers for not embracing a proposed merit pay system.

    I responded with a letter to the editor, but I thought I’d post a longer, more detailed response here.

    Kevin Manahan’s “Good teachers should speak up for merit pay”, is an ill-informed screed against New Jersey’s teachers and our association the NJEA.

    Manahan blasts the NJEA (and by extension all teachers in NJ) for not embracing the merit pay scheme hastily concocted in the state’s poorly thought out “Race to the Top” funding application. While there is little to no evidence that merit pay actually works to improve student outcomes, NJEA’s detractors completely ignore the hard work our union does every day to improve the quality of teaching in New Jersey by supporting strategies that have been proven to get results.

    Has the Governor Gone Too Far?

    Cross-Posted from ShapTalk.com:

    For the past decade, New Jersey ‘s Governors have slowly but steadily politicized the State’s system of higher education, from appointing “cronies” to serve on the Board of UMDNJ to “finding” jobs in New Jersey Higher Education for fellow politicians.  Governor Corzine’s intervention in the union organizing drive underway at Rutgers  is as troubling.  For the State’s chief executive to get so intricately involved in the day-to-day management of the State University is quite unusual in and of itself, but for the Governor to actively promote this unionizing effort and go so far as to join the union’s organizing rally is unacceptable.  By exerting political pressure and influence on the President of Rutgers University, Richard McCormick, the Governor has also secured a “neutrality” agreement that prohibits the University from taking a position on the possible unionization and allows employees to promote unionization during work hours.  Has the Governor gone too far?