Illinois Sen. Barack Obama told members of the nation’s largest teachers union this week that he supports the idea of merit pay for educators. In the prepared text for his speech at the National Education Association’s annual convention in Philadelphia, the Democratic presidential candidate said that teachers who excel at helping students raise their achievement, as well as those working in hard-to-staff schools and high-needs subject areas, should be rewarded extra. However, he noted that teachers’ performance should not be based “on some arbitrary test score.” “I want to work with teachers,” he assured the 9,000 NEA members gathered at the convention, many of whom are skeptical of the performance-pay initiatives. “I’m not going to do it to you. I’m going to do it with you.” Obama’s proposal reportedly received a smattering of applause.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.