The Houston school district has launched a large-scale plan to pay teachers bonuses based on the year-to-year improvement of their own students' test scores. ("Test-Tied Bonuses to Take Effect in Houston," Jan. 18, 2006.) The plan is expected to put millions more dollars into rewards for teachers whose students show better-than-average improvement compared with similar groups of students.
Unlike some districts that are overhauling old pay plans for a purely "performance pay" policy, Houston is sticking to a traditional salary framework, pegging salaries to years in the classroom and college credits. Bonus money will come on top of regular salaries.
Critics say the plan might falter due to teacher skepticism linked to the almost exclusive use of test scores to determine bonuses. What do you think? Does performance pay make sense?