Teacher Performance Pay Programs Don't Make the Grade

10.23.10 – WASHINGTON, DC – Many of the nation’s most heralded teacher “performance pay” programs don’t even come close to truly reforming teacher pay to benefit talented educators, according to a new study and report card from The Center for Education Reform.

Data-driven evaluation and contract reform, not incentives, will drive quality

For more than twenty years, the notion of paying teachers more money if they are effective in the classroom has been an issue that has resonated with citizens and policymakers alike. Alternative compensation programs have been established from Colorado to Washington, DC, but most don’t make the grade.

“Performance pay for teachers is a simple concept with complicated opposition,” says Jeanne Allen, President of The Center for Education Reform. “True performance pay is not a system of bonuses or incentives, which in essence bribe teachers to work hard, but an evaluation and compensation package that rewards demonstrated impact on student achievement growth.”

A look at several programs around the country shows that:

- Most place too little emphasis on student achievement and growth while offering reward for benchmarks that do not have impact in the classroom

- Many are opt-in and therefore do not have the intended transformative effect on the culture of teaching in their areas

- Some programs labeled as “performance pay” initiatives are merely a series of bonuses, often school-wide

CER’s report provides policymakers with a roadmap to the implementation of meaningful performance pay guidelines and dispels the myths, confusion and misunderstandings that have blocked true evaluation and contract reform in the US.

“The greatest obstacle to performance pay and teachers being treated as other professionals is the teachers union and their ironclad, one-size-fits-all contract,” says Allen. “Performance pay that is not written into law and is not mandatory will always be watered down by special interests. That is why real performance pay must become the new status quo.”

For more information and to download a copy of Making the Grade?: A Report Card on Performance Pay Programs Across the US, visit www.edreform.com.


  1. cali

    Talk about one size fits all!! How about different teachers for different types of kids?! Some are extremely talented with Learning Disabled (LD) kids; some with English as a Second Language (ESL) kids; some prefer regular, average kids, and others enjoy challenging kids with behavior problems; and some do extremely with highly gifted kids. NOT every excellent teacher is great with EVERY type of student!!!!

  2. Mike

    Cali- you got this correct….teaching physics and calculus is NOT the same as teaching kindergarten or first grade. Teaching Chemistry is NOT the same as teaching ART or MUSIC and teaching P.E. is not the same as teaching Language Arts….first grade is different than 12 th grade…HELLO !

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October 23rd, 2010

Staff Reporter EducationNews.org

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