trusted online casino malaysia
Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Big Change No Change

President Obama wants to change student achievement by throwing a chunk of change at merit pay plans for teachers.

President Obama wants to change student achievement by throwing a chunk of change at merit pay plans for teachers.

The President's "Race to the Top" program would put $4.35 billion in the hands of states willing to pay bonuses to teachers for improved student performance. The problem, however, is twofold, according to a report from NPR. First, teachers' unions do not support the idea, and, second, a new study demonstrates that merit pay schemes for teachers have the effect of depositing government change in teachers' pockets without changing student performance ("Study: Teacher Bonuses Don't Improve Test Scores," 9/21/10).

The Vanderbilt University National Center on Performance Initiatives conducted the study in the Nashville metropolitan school district. Researchers found that, even though some teachers were offered up to $15,000 a year in bonuses, they were unable to improve student achievement. All that big change waved in front of teachers has produced no change in learning.

And why should it? It's not teachers who need the incentives to learn; it's the students. Teachers can redouble their efforts every two weeks or so and work themselves into a frenzy trying to improve their performance, but that doesn't mean students are going to score any better on standardized tests.

Student incentive to learn is not related to how much we offer to pay teachers. It's related to their vision of how education fits into their life goals - if they have any. So if the unions don't favor such programs and a new study shows they don't work, why is the Administration bent on pushing $4.35 billion of our tax dollars in the direction of the nation's public school teachers?

Because, when it comes to politics in the "hope and change" Administration, things remain decidedly unchanged. It's still dollars and favors for votes, just as it's always been. If the Administration wanted to incentivize the right parties in this endeavor, wouldn't they be looking for ways to motivate students rather than enrich teachers?

Perhaps. But students, as we know, don't vote.

But we do.

T. M. Moore
T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

Subscribe to Ailbe Newsletters

Sign up to receive our email newsletters and read columns about revival, renewal, and awakening built upon prayer, sharing, and mutual edification.