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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Not a race for the top

It is unconscionable that the Department of Education is rating states' 'race to the top' plans on whether or not states encourage schools to pay teachers on the basis of student performance (Not a race to the top for Massachusetts, Boston Globe April 6, 2010).
As an organizational psychologist I am well aware that the nature of the effect of extrinsic motivation (pay on the basis of childrens' performance) on intrinsic motivation (the joy of teaching) is controversial. In some studies there is an undermining effect, in others there is not. As far as I know the large scale study of the effectiveness of pay for performance in the New York City School System has not yet reported any long term results.
For an administration dedicated to using the best science available, the decision favoring pay for performance for teachers seems premature.

Sent to Boston Globe

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