Opinion
Education Letter to the Editor

Pay for Performance? Yes, But for Families

April 11, 2006 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

In response to the March 29, 2006, Commentary by Theodore Hershberg and Barbara Lea-Kruger on linking teacher pay to student learning (“Aligning the System”):

Can you imagine merit pay for doctors? We could pay them based on how much their patients improved. Under this plan, however, what doctor would take patients with the most difficult prognoses?

Teachers are in much the same situation. How can parameters be drawn that account for a child’s family background, which the Commentary’s authors admit is the most important influence in academic achievement? How can parameters be drawn for students who regress over the summer while others, thanks to their family situations, progress?

The real beneficiaries of “merit pay” should be children and families. They are the ones whom schools should serve and reward.

We all know, for example, that early-childhood education improves academic outcomes, reduces crime, and has a tremendous return on investment for society. So, how do we create a generation of reading-ready 1st graders? Why not through an incentive such as the provision of individual college accounts?

Incentives are used by government to attract businesses to certain locales. They are used by businesses to create excitement and interest about a product. As research tells us, the carrot works better than the stick. Isn’t it about time we rewarded those whose involvement is most important to a successful education system?

Incentives work. Let’s set up an experiment and see whom they work better for, teachers or students.

Keith Newman

Philadelphia, Pa.

A version of this article appeared in the April 12, 2006 edition of Education Week as Pay for Performance? Yes, But for Families

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Professional Development Webinar
Strategies for Improving Student Outcomes with Teacher-Student Relationships
Explore strategies for strengthening teacher-student relationships and hear how districts are putting these methods into practice to support positive student outcomes.
Content provided by Panorama Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Transform Teaching and Learning with AI
Increase productivity and support innovative teaching with AI in the classroom.
Content provided by Promethean
Curriculum Webinar Computer Science Education Movement Gathers Momentum. How Should Schools React?
Discover how schools can expand opportunities for students to study computer science education.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: September 21, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: September 7, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: August 31, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: August 24, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read