November 30, 2006

Performance pay in teaching and in business

The following is a partial transcript of my live chat tonight. (I've rearranged a few lines so that the conversation reads more linearly than it really was, and I've done some other light editing for readability.) Paying for performance came up, and a student who works in private business started to talk as if it made no sense to have pay systems without incentives, but she soon realized that conservative proposals for performance pay, at least in Florida, bear little resemblance to her experience in private industry.  Student 1 is currently in private business.  Student 2 is currently a teacher but used to be a chef.


Student 1:  In my job, I am expected to set goals and meet these. If I don't meet them, I don't get all of my possible raise. 

Student 2: what is your job? 

Student 1: Training Team Lead for and IS department of a large healthcare system 

Sherman Dorn: So you set your own goals? 

Student 1: Yes, me and my Director. 

Sherman Dorn: Most ideas of teacher performance pay do NOT have teachers setting their own goals. The major exception: the United Kingdom. 

Student 2: how so?  the UK teachers that is... 

Student 1: You have to buy into goals if you are expected to meet them. Therefore, it makes no sense for someone higher up to make goals for you. 

Sherman Dorn: Mr. Student 2: teachers work out goals in connection with their principals [I believe the term is head of school]. 

Student 1: That is a very corporate model. 

Student 2: okay, got it... 

Sherman Dorn: Ms. Student 1: I also assume that it's possible for EVERY employee to get a raise, if they hit their negotiated goals. 

Student 1: Yes 

Student 2: I worked as a Chef for many years... if food cost was down, bonus was up. Teaching's different...  I can't "pick" my students... at least in the first level... 

Student 1: That is true, our possible raise is based on how the company is doing. 

Sherman Dorn: That's generally not the idea with most proposals for teacher performance pay, which is usually framed as competitive: only a certain % would be able to get it. 

Student 2: like [Florida's] STAR "Special teachers are rewarded" 

Student 1: Really!!!! That is terrible. 

Student 2: 25% get bonuses based on the new plan...  as if to say, 75% of us aren't worth it 

Student 1: That is a terrible way to motivate teachers! 

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Posted in Education policy on November 30, 2006 12:06 AM |