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Bribery Can Work

Here’s a deal for you to consider.

You can have a big salary increase, to more than $100,000 a year for a teacher with only five years of experience.

In exchange you’ll be giving up tenure and tying your future pay raises and employment to the test scores of your students.

The new pay-for-play system is one part of the education reform plan devised by the Chancellor of Schools in the District of Columbia now awaiting a vote by the union.

Many teachers, especially older ones, are suspicious and see the bargain as somewhat Faustian.

“It’s degrading and insulting,” said Brocks [a special ed teacher], to ask that teachers give up tenure and go on probation for a year if they choose the more lucrative of the two salary tiers under the plan, which is at the center of contract negotiations between the city and the Washington Teachers’ Union.

He said that Rhee [Chancellor of Schools] wants only to purge older teachers and that for instructors to sell out hard-won protections against arbitrary or unfair dismissal is unthinkable.

“For Michelle Rhee or anyone to ask that is like Judas and 30 pieces of silver,” Brocks, 59, said.

Of course, it all comes down to the central goal of raising student scores on standardized tests, and I have no doubt that this kind of bribery scheme will do just that.

However, will it do anything to improve student learning (not the same as passing the test)? I have plenty of doubts about that.

1 Comment

  1. Scott McLeod

    How is 1) putting teachers under some of the same kind of employment rules that the vast majority of people work within, and 2) offering them a financial incentive to do so either ‘degrading’ or ‘insulting?’ That guy’s so deep in edu-world he needs to come up for air and look around at the rest of the planet…

    Would I give up my own tenure for a performance-based system? In a millisecond.

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