Done Right, Merit Pay Works

Done Right, Merit Pay Works

Today's news: A new randomized multi-district study of merit pay shows it works when done right. CPS gets credit for its treatment of SPED students. Application deadlines for many schools are soon (December 13). There was a fire at LPHS in the science lab. New York City debates testing as it gets a new mayor.  Chilling details about the Newtown shooter, but no explanation why he targeted the school.

TEACHING

What Happens When Great Teachers Get $20,000 to Work in Low-Income Schools? Results Slate: To fill some of those positions, they selected from a special group of transfer teachers, all of whom had top 20 percent track records of improving student achievement at lower poverty schools within the districts, and had applied to earn $20,000 to switch jobs. The rest of the open positions were filled through the usual processes, in which principals select candidates from a regular applicant pool.

'It's like Cracking a Code,' Fifth Grade Teacher Says of Challenging Job DNAI: Energy and optimism fill Heather Reed's classroom at Pritzker School, where she coaches volleyball, too.

Crunch time for the city's other teachers' union Chicago Reader: Steven Ashby of the University of Illinois's School of Labor & Employment Relations cited the Chicago Teachers Union as a worthy example. The CTU overthrew leadership that was tamping things down, invigorated its membership, and pumped up public

DISTRICTWIDE

A breakthrough in public education Chicago Tribune: A hardy but largely uneducated and unskilled workforce from stockyards and meatpacking plants carried Chicago to economic greatness. Today's Chicago is an up-and-coming technology incubator and hub for research and innovation.

Elementary and High School Application Process Deadline Approaches CPS: The application process for the 2014-2015 school year will close on Friday, December 13th. This process allows families to apply for the District's elementary magnet and selective enrollment schools, magnet cluster and open enrollment schools, and high school offerings including magnet, selective enrollment, International Baccalaureate (IB), military academies, and career and technical education programs.

After closings, Chicago gets good marks for transfer of special education students Catalyst: About a third of schools that were closed housed separate programs for children with serious disabilities. Experts say parents so far have few complaints about how CPS handled the transition of these students.

Chess crusade moves to capture CPS students Chicago Tribune: For four years, as the head of the youth committee of the Illinois Chess Association, the state's premier chess organization, he has been campaigning for a bigger, better, independent and free chess program in Chicago Public Schools.

SCHOOLS

5 students injured in chemistry class accident at Lincoln Park High ...Chicago Sun-Times: Three students were taken to hospitals Monday after an accident in a chemistry class at Lincoln Park High School on the North Side. Methanol was being burned inside a container that shattered, causing the chemical to spill, Fire Media Affairs Director Larry Langford said.

Lincoln Park High School Student Left With 2nd-Degree Burns After Lab Fire DNAI: Five students were hospitalized after a chemistry experiment went wrong Monday, officials said.

Local School Council Member Arrested Third Time for Public Indecency DNAI: Parents and teachers at King College Prep are asking Reginald Jones to resign if convicted.

NATIONAL

Common Core Standards, Online Testing Continue to Gain Ground in NJ NJ Spotlight: A pair of bills that would delay implementation of the Common Core and PARCC (Partnership for the Assessment of College and Career Readiness), its online testing component, are going nowhere fast.

No Motive In Newtown Report, But Many Details About Lanza NPR: At more than 50 pages, the summary report issued Monday gives an overview of findings from the investigation, while omitting controversial details such as 911 call recordings.

Chilling Look at Newtown Killer, but No ‘Why’ NYT: Almost a year after Adam Lanza killed 26 children and adults in a Newtown, Conn., elementary school, an investigative report shed new light on his internal life and complicated relationship with his mother.

OTHER DISTRICTS

Friendly Jousting Over Bloomberg's Legacy on Testing WNYC: Walcott calmly stated that he and the council members had a "philosophical disagreement" about the role of standardized tests. He defended test anxiety as nothing new, recalling the pressure he felt in third grade about whether he would be promoted to fourth grade.

Newark district and charter schools join together for universal enrollment plan NJ.com: The new system would provide big benefits for families, who would submit one application with up to eight school choices, both charter and district, ranked in order of preference. One central lottery would be used to determine placement.

Reformers keep the heat on during now-closed Minneapolis teacher-contract talks MinnPost: Last week as leaders of both sides gathered for the second of the closed-door sessions, 50 parents, students, community members and members of the group Students for Education Reform (SFER) were outside protesting.

Many school districts are giving their report cards a facelift for Common Core KPCC: School districts across California are rewriting elementary school report cards to reflect new learning standards known as the Common Core. Because the change is not dictated by the state, it's unclear how many schools are switching. But several superintendents in Southern California said they were in the process.

Reid, Pope guilty of racketeering in DeKalb schools case Atlanta Journal Constitution: The jury found the former couple guilty of racketeering. Jurors also found Reid guilty on one of two theft charges and found Pope not guilty on a theft charge.

Reporters' Notebook: Philadelphia, A Laboratory For Hybrid Schools NPR: Michel Martin talks with NPR education correspondents Claudio Sanchez and Eric Westervelt, about a new NPR series looking at problems within Philadelphia's public school system, and the lessons the rest of the country can take from Philly.

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    Interestingly, in the article it states " these transfer teachers were far from the Teach for America archetype of a young, transient Ivy League grad. Their average age was 42, and they had an average of 12 years of experience in the classroom. They were also more likely than control group teachers to be African-American, to be homeowners, and to hold a master’s degree. In short, they were stable adults with deep ties to the cities in which they worked."

  • This article is not really about Merit Pay in the true sense of what merit pay is about, which is about rewarding measurable and achievable performance. This is actually about providing participants a signing and retention bonus since the article states, "If a transfer teacher stayed in her new, tougher placement for two years, she’d earn the $20,000 in five installments, regardless of how well her new students performed." Since performance does not appear to be a factor in providing the bonus, its really a stretch calling this "Merit Pay". Also, the linked article does not state the number of participants in the program, nor does it specify how many teachers actually received the Bonus. These are two very important factors when considering the success or failure of this program. It seems that this is yet another attempt to demonstrate how "merit pay" is a good idea for teachers even though this is not really a good example of what merit pay is supposed to represent.

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