Merit Pay and Teaching: Classrooms Aren’t Factories

Merit Pay and Teaching: Classrooms Aren’t Factories

The Vanderbilt study (see Merit pay study: Teacher bonuses don’t raise student test scores) confirms what we know intuitively, you can’t pay a teach to perform better in the classroom. Well, at least not the way we measure performance, and that is the big issue. We still have our heads in the factory, and think our children are in one two. We think about performance rather than engagement. Test scores and not knowledge transfer. People don’t live they way they exist in classrooms. What we need is a new economic system that matches the reality of the way we work and live, and then create measures that demonstrate competency transfer to students, through educators, on multiple levels. Educators as teams. Heck, if you want to pay for performance pay the students directly. They are the ones performing, especially if their test scores are the way their teacher’s are measured.

Rather than keep going down the same routes, we need to cut a new path through the brush. We will be able to measure teacher performance, but only after we figure out how to measure knowledge transfer, engagement and the elements of sustainability that apply to education. We need to immediately stop trying to measure all of the wrong things, and spend our money instead on redefining the experience for the 21st-Century, which will include new relationship models between faculty and students, between students and administrators. When we craft the new model, we can then embed the right instrumentation to inform us of progress and momentum, or as I say in my new book, Management by Design, rhythm and motion. We need to define goals that we can all understand, and all work together and achieve. It won’t be the performance of individuals exclusively in the future, but collective performance that will matter, and if we do it right, we shouldn’t hold our teachers or our students accountable for things that our leaders aren’t equally accountable for.

Teaching isn’t broken, the ecosystem of learning firsts needs to be recognized, then engaged and then designed to meet the needs of everyone, and everything within it.

Daniel W. Rasmus

Daniel W. Rasmus, Founder and Principal Analyst of Serious Insights, is an internationally recognized speaker on the future of work and education. He is the author of several books, including Listening to the Future and Management by Design.

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