Study: Merit pay for teachers not working

- The Orange County School District released a study saying that the teacher performance pay system isn't working, for both students and teachers. The school board plans to bring it to state law makers to change the evaluation system.

"Makes me feel sad, because as a teacher, I don't feel like I'm empowered and appreciated for what I do, day in and day out, for my students," says Kevin Strang, who has been a music teacher for 20 years.

 He says the teacher merit pay system isn't working.  The idea was, pay teachers more if their students do better. 

Linda Kobert of the Orange County School Board says, "The conclusion in our study is that there is no correlation between a teacher merit based pay system and student achievement."

She says, since the merit pay system was adopted 10 years ago, student test scores have been all over the place.

"And here you can see fourth and eighth grade math, reading, we've had some increase, areas of increase and decrease and another that stays the same." 

Teachers say they're unfairly paying out of their pockets for a flawed system. 

"Our morale among teachers has been falling and recruiting and retaining has become more and more difficult," she adds.

Kobert argues there are better ways to improve student education.

"Millions of dollars have been wasted. Many hours of instructional time have been lost for students and it's time to take a look to see how we can be doing this better."

Strang agrees, saying "I'd like to see us go back to the step system where we are rewarded for our education and we're rewarded by our evaluations given to us by our principals."

Kobert says eight other counties in Florida, including Miami and Tampa, called wanting to know how to do the study too.  She plans to ask state law makers to come up with a better plan to evaluate teachers.


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