Mixed Week for Merit Pay

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Citing concerns about its cost, effectiveness, and mind-boggling complexity, Philadelphia has scuttled its pilot performance pay program. The test program, which employed far too many evaluations based on numerous criteria, ended up rewarding only 139 teachers but had cost $600,000 to implement. That's the equivalent of $2300 per teacher, whereas the actual bonuses were only $1000.


Gopher State Governor Tim Pawlenty has announced his "super teacher" initiative. The pilot performance pay program would be tried at five Minnesota schools where teachers who signed up would be eligible for bonuses of $20,000 to $40,000 for a total compensation of $100,000 in school districts where principals have a wide latitude to recruit, hire, and fire teachers as they saw fit. In addition to the "super teacher" component, the multi-part program also gives Minnesota an alternative certification program. The Minnesota Teachers Union and Pawlenty's opponents in the legislature expressed skepticism about the prospects of the new initiative.