Your Views: Pay-for-performance plan is wrong for Janesville schools

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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Janesville School District officials are pitching a pay-for-performance teacher salary structure not supported by educational reasoning or research.

The proposed Professional Performance Structure (PPS) will move my kids’ district from a simple, fair, objective and efficient teacher salary schedule to an unproven, complicated, labor-intensive, divisive and stack-ranked pay system. While the proposal may please free-market ideologues, it will not better motivate teachers and improve my kids’ district.

Our local officials, who tout evidence-based leadership, should yield to the motivational and educational evidence related to merit pay. Overwhelmingly, the motivational research shows labor involving highly cognitive skills—such as teaching—does not improve with incentivized pay. Dozens and decades of teacher merit pay schemes have failed to improve student achievement. Local school leaders have yet to produce substantial educational research to support this radical reform proposal.

Beyond measure are the adverse effects PPS would have on the collaborative learning environment most parents want for their kids. The byproducts of PPS—stress, fear, competitiveness, erraticism and adversarialism—have no place in a nurturing school environment.

Lastly, labor-intensive attempts to make a fair system of merit pay, like PPS, are an imprudent use of precious public-school energies and resources. Janesville should not get caught up in the ideologically induced teacher accountability craze distracting districts across this nation. Instead of creating more bureaucracy, local officials and teachers should be collaborating to reverse the tide of declining public-school resources and mitigate the powerful effects rising student poverty has on student learning.




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