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Reaction to Merit Pay Study

The new Vanderbilt University study that’s critical of merit pay is shaking up the education world.  Did it leave you speechless?  Surprised?  Left with a sense of satisfaction that you knew it was coming?  It’s a groundbreaking study, so we’d like you to weigh in with a comment.

Here at CEA, we’ve long maintained that merit pay simply doesn’t work.  Good teachers are good every day, not just on pay day.

The National Center on Performance Incentives at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development released the study.  It’s  the first scientific study of performance pay conducted in the United States.

During the three-year experiment, educators were rewarded with $5,000, $10,000 or $15,000 bonuses based on whether their students’ achievement rose by a specific amount over a certain period of time. Researchers found that bonuses based on student achievement do not improve student outcomes.

CEA Executive Director John Yrchik shares his reactions to the study.  We’re looking forward to hearing from you.

Yrchik explains why this study is so significant.

President Obama has been pushing nationally for merit pay, Yrchik reacts.

Yrchik offers an example of a program that works.

  1. Merit pay will only assure one thing: an end to cooperation between teachers. The best asset for new teachers has always been their older, more experienced colleagues. Once teachers are competing for merit pay, that’ll be the end of free advice for newbies! Merit pay is simply an attempt to encourage young teachers to abandon a secure future and the the prospect of tenure for a quicker payoff they’re all sure they deserve. In order for Washington D.C. teachers to receive merit pay, they had to sign away tenure and agree to less job security: 40 percent declined. I hope everyone given the option in the future will reject it as well.

    February 17, 2011
  2. Richard J. Nigro #

    As I begin my 35th year as a music educator, I can’t believe the changes that our profession is facing. Merit pay is not the answer. The answer lies in family reform, with the emphasis being placed on parents to make sure their children are in school with NO VACATIONS OR DOCTORS APPOINTMENTS! As teachers , we have NO control over that and to have our pay based on their learning is totally absurd! Musical performance requires PERFECTION every time it is done and how can that be accomplished if students are always missing.

    September 28, 2010


    September 28, 2010
  4. Frances Calzetta #

    Spending 1.3 million dollars of private funding was a good thing to prove what teachers already knew. Teachers deserve high salaries for what they do.Learning more and self improvement comes from financial support from the school district and should be from the federal govt too. Duncan Arne should be more concerned with providing education opportunities for for them to take full courses, provide several sabbatical leaves per year per school for faculty. He should be concerned that the school environment is conducive to everyone’s well being. He should be concerned that there are plenty of support services for the students who need more than any one classroom teacher can possibly provide. Schools are badly undefunded (not including salaries).Be certain that salaries are much better across the board than they are. Materials should be provided as needed without teachers having to go for pocket money for teaching materials. He should be concerned with increasing public respect for teaching as a profession. This Punitive mentality that prevails toward teachers is what causes more problems. The notion of merit is that teachers aren’t working and doing their job.Teaching is entirely interdependent on one another.Also, the issue of WHO one is teaching has o be considered. The mentality seems to be that everyone has a high IQ and can learn the same thing at the same pace. Not so. Also, the federal governments should be worrying about how well the parents support their children and the schools. They need help too. Teaching is an intensely personal profession. That must be understood. Merit incentives have no place in public education. As proven, it makes no difference.

    September 28, 2010
  5. Elizabeth Santoro #

    Merit pay? RIDICULOUS! We are only able to work with what we are given. Our students often come to school hungry, lacking social skills, bring little or no enriching experiences to the table, and we tap dancing as fast as we can. Please do not consider such an unbalanced and ludicrous idea. Stop the insanity!

    September 27, 2010
  6. Jon Bayer #

    Merit pay is fine as long as they put enough moey aside for all teachers who deserve to receive it. That would be the vast majority of the current teaching staff. They will never do that, so merit pay will be and should be rejected. Towns simply looking for a way to pay less for teachers who work hard and deserve salaries that exceed 6 figures.

    September 27, 2010

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