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Sec of Education Arne Duncan on merit pay (to the NEA in an interview)

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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-28-09 11:55 AM
Original message
Sec of Education Arne Duncan on merit pay (to the NEA in an interview)
http://www.nea.org/duncan#merit pay

Merit pay based on test scores is not equal pay for equal work. In my school, teachers have to do a lot more than they would if it were a middle class school. Teachers pay shouldnt depend on student scores.

Victoria Siegel
Speech/language specialist, Oakland, California

Secretary Duncan: Im a big believer in rewarding gain, not absolute test scores. If you look at gain, it really levels the playing field. If youre just looking at absolute test scores, I think you can create some real inequities.

And test scores should always be a measure, but not the measure.

In Chicago, we created a model that, actually, the best teachers in the system came up with. It really incented progress. It looked at a variety of factors, including test scores, but it was by no means limited to that. We did two things: Teachers would be rewarded based upon their students, but also upon the school improvement. You want to encourage teachers to work together and collaborate. Where these things never work is when youre pitting one teacher against another and everyone shuts down.

And also, every adult in the building was part of the successcustodians, lunchroom attendants, social workers, security guardsnot just teachers. In very high performing schools, its absolutely every adult building a culture of high expectations.

A lot of it was based on the Teacher Advancement Project, which is a national program thats partnered with unions.

We only put it into schools where 75 percent or more of the teachers wanted the program. Over 120 schools showed interest. So there was a tremendous amount of interest amongst the teaching ranks.

Theres a real level of complexity. Ive seen a lot of these programs not work. We tried to learn lessons from those that didnt work: if you only look at test scores, or if you have a limited amount of money thats pitting teachers against each other.

NEA Today: Im sure Victoria Siegel would say that even if you look at test score gains, its still harder to move kids up one grade level at her school than in a middle class school.

Secretary Duncan: Right. So the way you do it is to compare a school with other schools with similar demographics. So, it really is apples to apples.

You could also make an argument that its easier to move kids who are further behind than to keep accelerating kids. So, whichever piece of that you agree with, the bottom line is, you need to be comparing schools against like schools.

(Read a study of the first year of the Chicago TAP program by Mathematica Policy Research.)

end of quote

http://www.mathematica-mpr.com/education/tapchicago.asp (link to study)

There is no earthly way to read these words and not come away with the notion that Duncan's view of merit pay involves test scores (two of the three indicators in his TAP program involve test scores). Teachers on this site have repeatedly told you this was what merit pay means. We were right. It is one thing to argue that this is a good idea (I don't agree but that doesn't make those who do dishonest). It is quite another to argue that Obama and Duncan don't believe in this idea (they do). I wish this weren't the case but it is. Obama and Duncan clearly believe in a merit pay system based in substantial part on growth in test scores.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-28-09 12:04 PM
Response to Original message
1. Oh jesus christ,
I swear sometimes the more I listen to teachers on this site, the more I feel like their union needs to be shut down.

How in the hell could you read that and conclude it means merit pay based on test scores. He said the exact opposite.

How can you teach comprehension skills when you can't comprehend what you read yourself?
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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-28-09 12:08 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. I didn't say entirely based
but clearly they are playing a role, and I went to the other link, which I also provided, and it directly stated what the TAP was. It was a three pronged evaluation system. One prong is growth in test scores (the exact, precise words I used), one prong is teacher evaluation, and one is the progress of the school (also measured in test scores). So before you accuse me, inaccurately I might add, of not having read something, you might, just might, wish to both read my post and read the links.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-28-09 12:17 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. School failure is a big part of the deal. They want o turn them into charter schools.
In FL the same tests that fail a student fail a teacher and fail a school.

It's truly tragic.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-28-09 12:27 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. Oh good, then you agree you were wrong
Because the people who have been saying merit pay does not equal pay based on test scores have been saying exactly what's in your OP. There will be an entire program and teachers will be involved in its creation.

You are the one who has been saying merit pay = pay based on test scores. You're either pretending you didn't say that or you're pretending you aren't saying that now.

Nobody is proposing basing teacher pay on test scores, right?
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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-28-09 12:33 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. two of the three prongs are test scores
(growth in test scores to be exact). We have been repeatedly told by people like you that merit pay is for things like working in tough schools or having more education. It turns out that it does mean test scores for at least a decent part of it.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-28-09 01:03 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. It is for working in tough schools
Edited on Tue Jul-28-09 01:03 PM by sandnsea
The entire point is to improve underperforming schools. So the first criteria in getting the merit pay is to work in one of those schools. Improving it matters too. It is not just test scores no matter how many times you say it is. It just isn't. Anybody who reads those words, except a teacher that is threatened by change, is going to understand it is talking about a very comprhensive program that entails a whole lot more than a test once a year.
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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-28-09 01:10 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. then why doesn't he say that
I'll tell you why because it isn't true. No where, not in a single solitary place in either that interview, or that study is one word written about working in bad schools. If he meant to only apply it to those schools then he wouldn't need to talk about comparing apples to apples. Merit pay has a very, very specific meaning in education. It has meant that since it has been used. It means using some system to evaluate teachers and paying the ones you deem best under that system. Duncan's system uses test scores for two of the three criteria and evaluations of individual teachers for the third. It is plain as day in the link I provided and you still evidently haven't bothered to read.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-28-09 01:29 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. apples to apples is about comparing demographics
"Also, compare schools with similar demographics so it really is apples to apples."

Has absolutely nothing to do with test scores. It has to do with looking for solutions that can be proven to work demographically.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-28-09 01:41 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. Comparing demographics means comparing acheivement
which means comparing test scores. Arne's solution is merit pay. Based on achievement.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-28-09 01:54 PM
Response to Reply #15
19. Did you not read what you posted?
"You want to encourage teachers to work together and collaborate. Where these things never work is when youre pitting one teacher against another and everyone shuts down.

And also, every adult in the building was part of the successcustodians, lunchroom attendants, social workers, security guardsnot just teachers. In very high performing schools, its absolutely every adult building a culture of high expectations."

This is about more than test scores. It's getting schools to function better, in some cases functioning for the first time ever. There is no room for egos.

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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-28-09 01:59 PM
Response to Reply #19
21. I can read just fine
I didn't post that.
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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-28-09 05:45 PM
Response to Reply #13
31. if you were right all the schools would have similar demographics
because supposedly the merit pay only kicks in when you are working in a difficult school.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-28-09 12:21 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. And I find myself hoping YOU don't teach comprehension
Cause that's exactly what he is saying. What do think "apples to apples" means??
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-28-09 02:54 PM
Response to Reply #1
28. Did you even read the piece?
Did you see where Duncan kept mentioning using test scores as a measure of "gain"?

I think that you outed yourself with your statement "I fell like their union needs to be shut down." I think that gives you away, your true motives, your true feelings.

Thanks again for being part of the problem.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-28-09 03:26 PM
Response to Reply #28
30. "a measure" Did you read that?
I am so sick of teachers on this board who never listen and always complain.

The merit pay in question is part of "Race to the Top", the testing measures being one part of that program, which is one part of an entire agenda. But "test scores" is all anybody around here focuses on because they're more interested in trying to prove themselves right, (even though they aren't), then recognizing they may not have all the answers. It's the same with every issue that comes along. Nothing would get done if DU ran the world, that's for damn sure. People would sit in a bitch session waiting for utopia and it would never arrive.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-28-09 12:27 PM
Response to Original message
5. "Im a big believer in rewarding gain, not absolute test scores."
Arne is really talking in circles to win teachers over. He must think we are stupid.

My school is the top performer in a low performing district. So under Arne's proposed plan, we would get nothing, since we don't have a lot to gain. But those under performing schools will be rewarded once again. They are now getting resources we don't get to pull up their test scores.

So his system is really no different than Bush's. Except Arne wants to tie test scores to teacher salaries. Even Bush wasn't stupid enough to propose that.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-28-09 12:30 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. That is psychotic
That's right, schools that need help will get help. That's been the complaint on NCLB all along. The underperforming schools are being punished by having money taken away instead of having a system that helps them achieve.

Now you've got a system that adds the money into those underperforming schools, and you bitch about that too.

If you don't have a program in place to improve schools, and you don't measure that improvement, then how the hell do you know which schools need help and which schools are working.

You make no sense at all.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-28-09 12:42 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. Do you work in education? Cause you don't seem to understand how this works
Edited on Tue Jul-28-09 12:43 PM by proud2BlibKansan
Under NCLB, schools with poor test scores get resources (one of which is the over priced product Neil Bush is paid to sell to these schools). Schools that make AYP don't get anything.

Duncan wants to reward for growth. So once again, the schools that do well (and don't have far to grow) will not get rewarded while those who show growth get the rewards (this time it is salary increases). Yet those of us doing well serve the same population of kids.

So fail, do better and get rewarded. What a model.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-28-09 01:01 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. "They left the money behind"
Then somebody's been lying.

I think teachers are going to bitch about anything that challenges them.

And then people wonder why some don't want government anywhere near their health care. Look in the mirror.

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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-28-09 01:38 PM
Response to Reply #10
14. You are now making no sense
As for your slam on teachers, they are going to stand up for their kids and what works best for them regardless of what anyone else thinks or says. That's the bottom line. Teachers aren't out to win anyone over. They want programs that actually HELP kids.

And what this has to do with health care is a mystery to me.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-28-09 01:44 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. You are so right.
I would respond to that person but they put me on ignore over health care. As a retired teacher I resent that you were called a name like that.

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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-28-09 01:49 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. I wasn't called a name
Here is what I responded to:

"I think teachers are going to bitch about anything that challenges them."
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-28-09 01:51 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. And the word "psychotic" was used to respond,
And that is what I was speaking of.

I took that as an insult to all of us. But she can't see me cause I am on ignore for her.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-28-09 01:57 PM
Response to Reply #14
20. "Teachers aren't out to win anyone over"
Precisely, not even the parents of kids in their failing schools. If you can't do your job, blame the parent. If you can't blame the parent because the school in the neighborhood over is functioning, blame the taxpayer. And if you get all the funding you need from your local district, blame the federal government. Blame blame blame.

You really ought to listen to yourselves sometime.

We need to identify programs that work. If you don't want to help, you will be run over.

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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-28-09 02:01 PM
Response to Reply #20
22. Bottom line for teachers - what is best for kids
I don't know how much more simply I can put it.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-28-09 02:06 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. Because nobody else gives a crap about kids
except you, right?

:eyes:

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PVnRT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-28-09 02:14 PM
Response to Reply #23
25. For someone bitching about how others can't comprehend posts
You seem to doing plenty of misreading yourself. At what point did she say that "teachers are the only ones who care about kids?" She said that teachers' first concern is what is best for kids.

I know your teacher-hate clouds your judgment, but you might be able to make better points if you don't just post the first thing that pops into your head.
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ColbertWatcher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-28-09 03:13 PM
Response to Reply #9
29. "Duncan wants to reward for growth." That sounds so (what's the word I'm looking for) ...
... Wal-Mart-ish.

It sounds exactly how Wal-Mart screwed their vendors.

I've never liked NCLB and knowing that Obama will be continuing it isn't going to improve my opinion of it.

Gee, maybe if Arne had a better sales pitch?

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PVnRT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-28-09 02:12 PM
Response to Original message
24. So, if a school is a top performer and can't show improvement
no one gets raises and they get fewer resources? They get downgraded because they aren't showing enough improvement, when, in fact, there is little to improve? That's the problem with relying on "metrics" like the government does.

Why aren't administrator salaries being discussed here? Seems to me that school performance ought to impacting them, not individual teachers.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-28-09 02:26 PM
Response to Reply #24
26. That's how I read it too
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-28-09 02:28 PM
Response to Reply #24
27. Merit Pay is mostly about "Race to the Top"
This is primarily about one $4 billion program. School districts apply to participate and are awarded based on achievement. I don't particularly like the competition element, but the principles are fine. And if a district wanted to look at reductions in administration costs as part of their improvement plan, they certainly could. Guess how many will.

There are many other programs in the works, not just this one.

http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2009/07/07242009.h...
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-28-09 06:04 PM
Response to Original message
32. It's been clear to me since the first time I heard Obama discuss merit pay
that it would be based on test scores.

But then, I'm both a teacher and someone who isn't moved by fine sounding words, but by the potential that lies beneath them.

Obama told us, quite frankly, that he thinks Republicans are better on education than Democrats, and that he "sometimes gets in trouble with teachers."

He's right about at least one thing. I've never much liked ANY of his positions, since I consider the center-right to be as much an enemy as any Republican.

His appointment of Duncan, and his determination to move the privatization and corporatization of education forward, is unfortunate, to say the least. I can't speak for the rest of my colleagues. For myself, though, I will say that Obama has burned his bridges.

Not that I think he cares about that.
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