Carrots Not Sticks

Business true believers assume workers are motivated exclusively by economic incentives. Consequently, they advocate paying teachers based upon how their students do on standardized test scores. But the rub of course is that the total “salary compensation pie” doesn’t increase, so instead of three teachers making 40k, one will make 30, one 40, and one 50.

I’ve already described the problems with this approach here and here.

An alternative is to get foundations and wealthy philanthropists to contribute to “teacher bonus endowments” in every district in the country. These endowments could enable school community committees to identify and award exceptional educators. Bonuses could be 1k, 10k, or as in this story from today’s LA Times, 25k.

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