12 January 2006

Houston to give bonuses to rich teachers

ETA: For clarity, I have edited a couple items. My original words are struck through, the new ones are italicized. In the quote below, superscript numbers are mine and refer down to my itemized list.


Houston is about to become the biggest school district in the nation to tie teachers' pay to their students' test scores.

School Superintendent Abe Saavedra wants to offer teachers as much as $3,000 more per school year if their students improve on state and national tests.
...
The plan is divided into three sections, with as much as $1,000 in bonus pay each.

The first would award bonuses to all teachers in schools rated acceptable or higher,1 based on scores on the state's main standardized test.2 The second ties pay to student improvement on a standardized test that compares performance to nationwide norms.

In the third section, reading and math3 teachers whose students fare well compared with others in the district would be eligible for bonuses.

(CNN/AP)


  1. Schools rated accpetable or higher are more likely to be in rich white neighborhoods, while those with worse test scores below the "acceptable" cut-off are more likely to be poor, black and Hispanic.

  2. Standardized tests are typically given in English, History, and Math, sometimes in Science, and Languages, and never in Art, Music, or Physical Education.

  3. Reading and Math further restricts the second item.


I think NCLB should stand for No Children Learn via Bonuses.

4 comments:

Kavin Watson said...

This is insane. More money should be provided for schools who don't have a very good budget. I think if a proper study was done, test scores would corrolate with how much money a school recieves. That would give the poor an equal chance at enjoying the same learning experiences that more fortunate students experience. Giving money to the rich does absolutely nothing to improve their scores at all.

utenzi said...

Money's not a factor. At least not on the teacher part of the equation. Giving a teacher an extra k isn't going to make any difference in how he or she teaches.

A real solution would be to do something to cause the students to want to learn but I have no clue as to what might do that. If you want to throw money at the problem, at least throw it to the kids. Give money for grades just like some parents do. That's far better than dumbing down school curriculums to enable making some arbitrary cutoff score.

Bribing, if used properly, is a very strong motivation technique but you need to place the money where it'll do the most good.

subnetrix said...

I think your first point is moot, it said improve, not have the highest. If I scored poor last year and score average this year, the teacher gets a raise.

zandperl said...

Subnetrix:
The second ties pay to student improvement on a standardized test that compares performance to nationwide norms.
You are correct that part of bonus pay is tied to improvement, and thus may be acheivable at all schools, though I believe (I have no evidence) that this is still easier at better funded schools. Since I have no evidence, I did not argue it in my three points. However...

The first would award bonuses to all teachers in schools rated acceptable or higher
That part is a simple out-and-out flat score. Teachers in schools already passing will get bonuses. This is what I was arguing in my first point, though I guess I could've been clearer in my wording.