Idaho Considers Merit

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And finally there is some good news this week as more states are considering merit pay packages (however meager most of these state-based pay incentives appear to be). Idaho can be added to the list of states interested in experimenting with pay-for-performance programs. The state’s Board of Education has appointed a committee to determine a viable merit-pay structure, a process that has stirred up the usual arguments. The possibility of using the state’s annual assessments has raised concerns since Idaho doesn’t yet have the capacity to control for prior student performance.

Meanwhile, some policymakers are concerned that merit systems don’t encourage teachers to collaborate, that Ms. Jones won’t help Ms. Smith anymore for fear Ms. Smith might outperform her. According to Byron Yankey, a committee member and elementary school principal, “Some reward systems can produce results counter to your goals.???