Friday, October 26, 2007

Merit pay contagion strikes Tweed

Merit pay based on test scores, an even faster growing contagion in our school system than the drug resistant staph infection called MRSA, has now struck the Tweed building itself.

After offering more money to students, principals and teachers for good test results, according to NY Sun, the Chancellor has now asked
"a group of about 100 of his closest aides to draft performance goals they aim to meet by the end of the year. The goals will be monitored quarterly throughout this school year, in some cases by Mr. Klein himself. The conversations are preliminary thus far, but positive results could mean bonuses come June, the city official running the new program, Laura Smith, said yesterday.”

For some of these top executives, their goals are supposed to be based on more holistic measures – like principal satisfaction --but for some like Eric Nadelstern, head of the empowerment zone, they will be based on test scores and graduation rates alone.

So let me get this straight: if test scores improve enough in our schools, even if this leads to a ridiculous amount of test prep and/or cheating, and if graduation rates improve, even if this causes increasing numbers of students to be suspended, transferred or discharged from our schools, then the already overpaid officials at Tweed will get even more of our taxpayer money for being able to further degrade the conditions for authentic learning at our schools.

Now that’s accountability!

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