Performance-pay systems for teachers that are set up wrong might be worse than no performance pay at all, a coalition of groups promoting teacher quality warned last week. But the Working Group on Teacher Quality said the lessons needed to establish successful new pay systems have emerged from the experiences of states and districts that have tried them.
As a result, the group’s report, which details what it deems the “essentials” of overhauling teacher compensation, can guide policymakers as they move toward changes, its leaders said. The report endorses paying teachers for growth in student achievement as measured by tests—usually called performance pay—but only when coupled with other kinds of evaluation, ongoing training, and a career ladder.
The working group was led by the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching, which evolved from the Santa Monica, Calif.-based Milken Family Foundation’s Teacher Advancement Program, itself a pioneer in new ways of paying teachers. Underwritten by the Chicago-based Joyce Foundation, the coalition includes think tanks, teacher-advocacy groups, and organizations concerned with recruiting, retaining, developing, and paying for teachers.