Teachers union says study backs its skepticism about merit pay

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

ATLANTA (AP) – A national union is praising a new study that found that offering performance bonuses to teachers does nothing to raise test scores.

Randi Weingerten, who heads the American Federation of Teachers, says the study backs up the union’s argument that merit pay alone is not enough to lift educational achievement.

But the Obama Administration, which has pushed the merit pay policy, criticized the report by Vanderbilt’s National Center on Performance Incentives.

The report shows students in classrooms where teachers got bonuses fared no better than those in situations where there were no such special incentives. The study looked at fifth through eighth grade math teachers in Nashville Public Schools over three years.

A spokeswoman for the Education Department complained that the study only examined “the narrow question of whether more pay motivates teachers to try harder.”

Just a handful of schools and districts across the country have merit pay programs, and in some states, the idea is effectively illegal.

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