Tag Archives: Speaking of Salaries: What It Will Take to Get Qualified

Douglas County Colorado experiments with variable teacher pay

11 Jun

 

Moi wrote in Study: Teacher merit pay works in some situations:

 

Teacher compensation is a hot education topic. The role of evaluations in compensation, merit pay, pay based upon credentials and higher pay for specialty areas are all hot topics and hot button issues. The Center for American Progress has a report by Frank Adamson and Linda Darling Hammond. In the report, Speaking of Salaries: What It Will Take to Get Qualified, Effective Teachers In All Communities  Adamson and Darling- Hammond write:

 

As Education Trust President Kati Haycock has noted, the usual statistics about teacher credentials, as shocking as they are, actually understate the degree of the problem in the most impacted schools:

 

The fact that only 25% of the teachers in a school are uncertified doesn’t mean that the other 75% are fine. More often, they are either brand new, assigned to teach out of field, or low-performers on the licensure exam … there are, in other words, significant numbers of schools that are essentially dumping grounds for unqualified teachers – just as they are dumping grounds for the children they serve….

 

Download this report (pdf)

 

Download the executive summary (pdf)

 

Melanie Smollin has an excellent post at Take Part, Five Reasons Why Teacher Turnover Is On The Rise Marguerite Roza and Sarah Yatsko from the University of Washington’s Center on Reinventing Education have an interesting February 2010 policy brief.

 

Stephanie Simon of Reuters writes in the article, Valuing Physics Over P.E., Colorado Schools Test Novel Pay Scale:

 

A wealthy school district in Colorado is launching a radical experiment that sets a different pay scale for each category of educator, ensuring that even the best third-grade teacher would never earn as much as a veteran high-school math teacher.

The new system, which takes effect next month for all 3,300 educators in suburban Douglas County, Colorado, has sparked fury and resentment among some teachers and some parents. But it has also drawn interest from superintendents around the nation.

“It’s quite novel,” said Eric Hanushek, an education economist at Stanford University.

School districts across the United States have traditionally treated all teachers the same; no matter what grade or subject they taught, they started at the same base salary and received the same raises for experience and advanced degrees.

In recent years, districts have tried to differentiate a bit by offering merit pay to their most effective educators, signing bonuses for teachers in high-poverty schools, and pay bumps for those in hard-to-staff fields, such as special education. But Douglas County’s system goes much further.

The district’s chief human relations officer, Brian Cesare, said he asked school administrators, “Which jobs keep you up at night because they are so difficult to fill?” Using the answers as a gauge of supply and demand, he divided teaching jobs into five salary bands.

Most elementary, art and physical education teachers are in the lowest bracket; their annual salary tops out at $61,000. Middle-and high-school English teachers can earn up to $72,000. High-school science and math teachers draw upper salaries of $82,000. At the very top: Special education therapists, who max out at $94,000.

QUIRKS IN SYSTEM

The broad categories contain some quirks: The district is more selective about kindergarten and first grade teachers than other elementary teachers, Cesare said, so they fall in a higher bracket. Middle school social studies teachers are considered easy to hire, so they’re in the lowest bracket.

The goal, Cesare said, is to “pay the top more… the bottom less.”

No teacher currently employed by Douglas County will have to take a pay cut, but if they’re earning more than their market value, their merit bonuses will be smaller, Cesare said.

A sprawling swath of suburbia between Denver and Colorado Springs, Douglas County is one of the wealthiest in the nation, with a well-regarded school system. A slate of conservative Republicans took control of the school board in 2009 and has pushed through a series of controversial policies, including expanding the number of charter schools and providing vouchers to help students pay tuition at private and religious schools. The voucher system is being challenged in court.

The board abolished traditional tenure protections for teachers in 2010 and said last year it would no longer recognize the teachers’ union after contract negotiations hit an impasse.

With no contract to set guidelines on salaries, performance evaluations or working conditions, the board is free to impose systems like the new market-based pay rate.

“We no longer exist,” said Brenda Smith, the president of the local union, who has mustered protests against the new system but cannot block it.

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/10/douglas-county-teacher-pay_n_3417079.html?utm_hp_ref=email_share

 

 

What the various studies seem to point out is there is no one remedy which works in all situations and that there must be a menu of education options.

 

Resources:

 

A Lively Debate Over Teacher Salaries                         http://www.nytimes.com/schoolbook/2012/01/05/a-lively-debate-over-teacher-salaries/

 

Are Teachers Overpaid?                                                http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/01/02/are-teachers-overpaid/

 

Some Teachers Skeptical of Merit Pay                   http://www.nytimes.com/schoolbook/2012/01/13/some-teachers-skeptical-of-merit-pay/

 

Related:

 

Washington D.C. rolls out merit pay                                https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/washington-d-c-rolls-out-merit-pay/

 

Report from The Compensation Technical Working Group: Teacher compensation in Washington                                      https://drwilda.wordpress.com/tag/teacher-recruitment/

 

Fordham Institute report: Teacher pensions squeezing states https://drwilda.com/2013/06/07/fordham-institute-report-teacher-pensions-squeezing-states/

 

Where information leads to Hope. ©  Dr. Wilda.com

 

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

 

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

 

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©                           http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

 

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©                                                http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

 

Dr. Wilda ©                                                                                      https://drwilda.com/

 

Fordham Institute report: Teacher pensions squeezing states

7 Jun

 

Moi has posted about teacher compensation, but she has never posted about teacher pensions. In Study: Teacher merit pay works in some situations, moi wrote:

 

Teacher compensation is a hot education topic. The role of evaluations in compensation, merit pay, pay based upon credentials and higher pay for specialty areas are all hot topics and hot button issues. The Center for American Progress has a report by Frank Adamson and Linda Darling Hammond. In the report, Speaking of Salaries: What It Will Take to Get Qualified, Effective Teachers In All Communities  Adamson and Darling- Hammond write:

 

As Education Trust President Kati Haycock has noted, the usual statistics about teacher credentials, as shocking as they are, actually understate the degree of the problem in the most impacted schools:

 

The fact that only 25% of the teachers in a school are uncertified doesn’t mean that the other 75% are fine. More often, they are either brand new, assigned to teach out of field, or low-performers on the licensure exam … there are, in other words, significant numbers of schools that are essentially dumping grounds for unqualified teachers – just as they are dumping grounds for the children they serve….

 

Download this report (pdf)

 

Download the executive summary (pdf)

 

Dave Eggers and NÍnive Clements Calegari have a provocative article in the New York Times, The High Cost of Low Teacher Salaries

 

At the moment, the average teacher’s pay is on par with that of a toll taker or bartender. Teachers make 14 percent less than professionals in other occupations that require similar levels of education. In real terms, teachers’ salaries have declined for 30 years. The average starting salary is $39,000; the average ending salary — after 25 years in the profession — is $67,000. This prices teachers out of home ownership in 32 metropolitan areas, and makes raising a family on one salary near impossible… https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/is-it-true-that-the-dumbest-become-teachers/

 

More researchers are looking at teacher salaries as an element of attracting and retaining quality teachers. States and local governments are looking at a key element of the compensation package which is the pension benefit.

 

https://drwilda.com/2012/07/27/study-teacher-merit-pay-works-in-some-situations/

 

Joy Resmovits writes in the Huffington Post article, Teacher Pension Funds Hit District Budgets, Fordham Report Says:

 

 

The report takes a deep look at three school districts — Milwaukee, Cleveland and Philadelphia — and the impact of pension costs. On average, pensions are costing these districts $943 per student, the report says.

 

“It puts it in a metric that education people can understand: how many thousands of dollars per pupil are going to retirement costs,” said Bob Costrell, one of the study’s analysts. “In many states you’ve got retirement costs that are already taking up a few thousand dollars per pupil, which could rise much more if action isn’t taken.” In Philadelphia, Costrell found, the school district now spends $438 per student on retiree costs, but that may soar to about $2,361 per pupil by 2020.

 

“Playing out what this means in dollars and cents at the district level is scary,” said Sandi Jacobs, the vice president for policy at the National Center for Teacher Quality, a group that advocates tougher teacher evaluations and defined-benefit pensions.

The pension problem is creeping up on school districts across the country. Because pension funding accrues during teachers’ working lifetimes, a crush of retiring baby boomers causes more money to flow out of the funds than in. From 2009 to 2012, pension liability shortfalls swelled in 43 states. Some estimates put teacher pension unfunded liability at $390 billion to $1 trillion.

 

The possibility of fixing the problem is limited, Fordham’s Chester Finn and Michael Petrilli note in an introduction. Existing pension plans are “constitutionally protected,” burdening young teachers with changes but leaving retirees unaffected, the authors argue. “We’re saddled with a bona fide fiscal calamity,” they write, “and no consensus about how to rectify the situation.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/06/teacher-pension-funds-fordham_n_3393697.html?utm_hp_ref=@education123

 

Chester E. Finn and Michael J. Petrilli comment about the Fordham Institute report about teacher pensions.

 

 

Here is the Finn and Petrilli summary:

 

The big squeeze

 

Chester E. Finn, Jr. , Michael J. Petrilli / June 6, 2013

 

There’s no shortage of bad news in education these days, nor any dearth of stasis, but at least education reform is a lively, forward-looking enterprise that gets positive juices flowing in many people and that is leading to promising changes across many parts of the K–12 system. We are focused on making things better—via stronger standards (Common Core), greater parental choice (vouchers, charters, and more), more effective teachers (upgrading preparation programs, devising new evaluation regimens) and lots else.

 

When it comes to pension reform in the education realm, however, it’s hard to stay positive. Here, we’re saddled with a bona fide fiscal calamity (up to a trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities by some counts) and no consensus about how to rectify the situation. No matter how one slices and dices this problem, somebody ends up paying in ways they won’t like and perhaps shouldn’t have to bear. All we can say is that some options are less bad than others.

 

Today’s new Fordham study examines how three cities (and their states) are apportioning the misery—or failing to do so. This analysis pulls no cheery rabbits out of a dark hat, but it definitely illustrates the nature and scale of the pension-funding problem and describes a couple of painful yet, in their ways, promising solutions (or partial solutions) to it. As you will see in the summary report (by Fordham’s Dara Zeehandelaar and Amber Winkler) and several technical papers to follow, economist and pension expert Robert Costrell and education-finance expert Larry Maloney parsed the budgets of the Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Philadelphia school districts to estimate just how big an impact their pension and retiree-health-care obligations will have on their bottom line in coming years. (The Philadelphia paper is also now available on our website.)

 

This is hardly an academic exercise. As our title indicates, these obligations are putting “a big squeeze” on district budgets. In Philadelphia—today the most threatened of the three districts—our analysts estimate that the school system could find itself spending as much as $2,361 per pupil by 2020 on retiree costs alone. That represents a staggering increase ($1,923) from its current level, a huge price tag that can only mean fewer resources for teacher salaries, individualized instruction, new instructional technologies—and pretty much everything else that schools need and do.

 

Yet it’s not a foregone conclusion. Since we launched this study almost three years ago, both Wisconsin and Ohio passed pension-reform legislation that significantly brightened the economic outlook for the public school systems of Milwaukee and Cleveland. (Pennsylvania is battling over pensions as we write.) These reforms lowered the projections for 2020 retiree spending from $3,512 (without Wisconsin’s Act 10) to $1,924 per pupil in Milwaukee. Act 10 will thus save the district an estimated $1,588 per pupil in retirement costs in 2020 alone. Ohio’s SB 341 and SB 342 could save Cleveland $1,219 per pupil in 2020; not only do they lower projections from $2,476 to $1,257, but in 2020 the district will actually be spending less on retirement than it did in 2011.

 

Numbers like those are good for district budgets, but they exact a price. Yes, much of the debt burden was taken off the shoulders of school districts (and students), but it was placed instead on the shoulders of new, current, and retired teachers, as well as state taxpayers. This is especially vivid in Ohio, where cuts to pension benefits for new teachers may significantly reduce the desirability of a Buckeye teaching job.

 

Some might call this approach “eating our young,” making teaching notably less alluring for bright-eyed young instructors (and possible future teachers) while maintaining relatively generous benefits for veteran teachers and current retirees—some of whom will spend more years in retirement than they did in the classroom. Yet because of a legal environment that typically considers all public-sector pension promises, once made, to be “constitutionally protected,” policymakers have few other choices. (The exception is retiree health care, a benefit that in many states does not enjoy the same protections and thus could be a candidate for belt-tightening.) Never mind that yesterday’s “pension giveaway” becomes today’s “constitutionally protected obligation.” This is another example of how lawmakers in one year can tie the hands of their successors for decades to come.

 

It seems to us inevitable that, one day, public-sector employees across the United States—including but definitely not limited to educators—will find their pensions and other retirement benefits fundamentally transformed into something more like what’s now commonplace in the private sector: 401(k)-style plans that provide some assistance from employers but put much of the retirement-savings onus on employees themselves. At the very least, we’ll see a transition to cash-balance plans, which keep the government on the hook for a guaranteed payout but allow teachers to “cash out” at any time without losing their pension wealth. (Such plans also allow for greater portability than traditional state-managed retirement systems.)

 

But for now we’re stuck with the consequences and costs of a giant Ponzi scheme: Lawmakers have promised teachers retirement benefits that the system cannot afford, because the promises were based on short-term political considerations and willfully bad (or thoroughly incompetent) math. (For instance, assumptions about market returns that were wildly optimistic and assumptions about longevity that were overly pessimistic.) The bill is coming due and someone’s going to get soaked.

 

To repeat, no solution spares everybody. The best option is probably to share the pain: among retirees, current teachers, new teachers, school districts, and taxpayers.

 

Regarding the first two groups, without running afoul of constitutional protections, states can curtail retiree health care, as Wisconsin and Ohio did, which frees up some resources to apply to immutable pension obligations. In some states and districts (no one knows how many), governments have been picking up the tab for retirees’ health insurance between the ages of fifty-five and sixty-five (when Medicare kicks in). This benefit is practically nonexistent in the private sector, and for good reason: People in that age range are generally quite capable of paying for their own health insurance. Most are still working and participate in group plans operated by their employers.

 

As for filling the hole of unfunded liabilities, there’s little choice but to raise contribution rates for teachers, to increase districts’ contribution rates (which decreases funds for students) or to seek bailouts from states or the federal government (otherwise known as the “charge-it-to-taxpayers” gambit). But this is akin to putting water in a leaky bucket. Raising more revenue is necessary, but unless you attend to the leak (also known as currently accruing costs!), you’re going to have to put more and more water in. Perhaps the plug is reducing benefits, increasing age and years-of-service requirements, or decreasing retirement income via lower salary multipliers—all reasonable fixes.

 

A better idea? Buy a new bucket.

 

The unions, naturally, will scream bloody murder. It’s their job to try to hold all of their members harmless, including both current teachers and retirees. So this won’t be an easy fight.

 

But what should be clear from our new study is that doing nothing is not an option. Without immediate action, the problem will grow worse and districts will eventually get crushed—meaning tomorrow’s children will pay the price for yesterday’s adult irresponsibility. State lawmakers need to step up to the plate. Wisconsin and Ohio, in their ways, have at least begun to move.

 

Related Articles

 

40 reasons to call Harkin’s claim of flexibility laughable

The ESEA-reauthorization bill released by Senate HELP committee Chairman Tom Harkin could have left much more policy to the states

By the Company It Keeps: Robin Lake

Andy Smarick’s latest interview is with Robin Lake, director of the Center for Reinventing Public Education (CRPE)

Authorizer of, not in, the district

D.C. takes two steps forward, one step back

 

Category: Governance / School Finance

 

Citation:

 

The Big Squeeze: Retirement Costs and School-District Budgets

 

By Dara Zeehandelaar, Ph.D. , Amber M. Winkler, Ph.D. / June 6, 2013

 

Foreword by Chester E. Finn, Jr. , Michael J. Petrilli

 

When it comes to pension reform in the education realm, it’s hard to stay positive. Here, we’re saddled with a bona fide fiscal calamity (up to a trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities by some counts), and no consensus about how to rectify the situation. No matter how one slices and dices this problem, somebody ends up paying in ways they won’t like and perhaps shouldn’t have to bear. All we can say is that some options are less bad than others.n The Big Squeeze: Retirement Costs and School-District Budgets, we analyze and project how big an impact the pension and retiree health care obligations will have on the budgets of three school districts: Milwaukee Public Schools, Cleveland Metropolitan School District, and the School District of Pennsylvania.

 

The Big Squeeze: Retirement Costs and School-District Budgets is a summary report by Dara Zeehandelaar and Amber M. Winkler, based on three technical analyses conducted by Robert Costrell and Larry Maloney to be released by the end of Summer 2013.

 

See:

 

M-RCBG Faculty Working Paper No. 2012-08

 

Underfunded Public Pensions in the United States: The Size of the Problem, the Obstacles to Reform and the Path Forward

Thomas J. Healey, Carl Hess, and Kevin Nicholson

 

http://www.hks.harvard.edu/centers/mrcbg/publications/fwp/2012-08

 

It’s overwhelming: State and municipal defined benefit pension plans doomed by fundamental flaws

 

http://www.statebudgetsolutions.org/publications/detail/its-overwhelming-state-and-municipal-defined-benefit-pension-plans-doomed-by-fundamental-flaws#ixzz2VVkrsDC2

 

 

The pension liability of states and local districts is the elephant in the room/

 

Resources:

 

A Lively Debate Over Teacher Salaries                             http://www.nytimes.com/schoolbook/2012/01/05/a-lively-debate-over-teacher-salaries/

 

Are Teachers Overpaid?                                                      http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/01/02/are-teachers-overpaid/

 

 

Where information leads to Hope. ©  Dr. Wilda.com

 

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

 

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

 

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©                           http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

 

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©                                                http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

 

Dr. Wilda ©                                                                                      https://drwilda.com/

 

 

Study: Teacher merit pay works in some situations

27 Jul

Teacher compensation is a hot education topic. The role of evaluations in compensation, merit pay, pay based upon credentials and higher pay for specialty areas are all hot topics and hot button issues. The Center for American Progress has a report by Frank Adamson and Linda Darling Hammond. In the report, Speaking of Salaries: What It Will Take to Get Qualified, Effective Teachers In All Communities  Adamson and Darling- Hammond write:

As Education Trust President Kati Haycock has noted, the usual statistics about teacher credentials, as shocking as they are, actually understate the degree of the problem in the most impacted schools:

The fact that only 25% of the teachers in a school are uncertified doesn’t mean that the other 75% are fine. More often, they are either brand new, assigned to teach out of field, or low-performers on the licensure exam … there are, in other words, significant numbers of schools that are essentially dumping grounds for unqualified teachers – just as they are dumping grounds for the children they serve….

Download this report (pdf)

Download the executive summary (pdf)

Melanie Smollin has an excellent post at Take Part, Five Reasons Why Teacher Turnover Is On The Rise Marguerite Roza and Sarah Yatsko from the University of Washington’s Centeron Reinventing Education have an interesting February 2010 policy brief.

In Beyond Teacher Reassignments: Better Ways School Districts Can Remedy Salary Inequities Across Schools Districts Roza and Yatsko report:

This brief addresses this concern by demonstrating that districts would NOT need to mandatorily reassign teachers. It shows that there are other ways to restructure allocations that do not systematically shortchange the neediest schools. Discussed here are four options that districts could pursue to remedy school spending inequities created by uneven salaries:

  • Option 1: Apply teacher salary bonuses to some schools to balance salaries

  • Option 2: Vary class size across schools to level spending

  • Option 3: Concentrate specialist and support staff in schools with lower-salaried teachers

  • Option 4: Equalize per-pupil dollar allocations

Download Full Report (PDF: 736 K)

Of all the issues about teacher compensation, one of the hottest is “merit pay.”

Dylan Matthews writes in the Washington Post article, Does teacher merit pay work? A new study says yes:

There’s very good evidence that teacher quality matters a lot in terms of student performance in school and success later on in life. The economist Raj Chetty of Harvard, for example, has found that students randomly placed with more experienced kindergarten teachers not only perform better on tests but earn more and save more for retirement as adults, are likelier to go to college, and go to better colleges than their peers with less experienced teachers. Eric Hanushek of Stanford estimates that a good teacher – defined as at the 84th percentile, or one standard deviation above the mean for you stats nerds – provides students with test scores associated with an increase of between $22,000 and $46,000 in lifetime earnings.

Findings like these lead some to favor “merit pay” regimes that include student test scores as a determinant of teachers’ salaries. This has met opposition from teachers’ unions and testing skeptics, who argue that it would result in teaching-to-the-test at the expense of actual learning. For a long time, the data has been mixed on merit pay. Two studies from Mathematica Policy Research in 2010 that found little benefit, while a study in Nashville found mild benefits for fifth graders but none for other students.

That has changed with the publication of a new paper (pdf) by Harvard’s Roland Fryer, the University of Chicago’s Steven Levitt (of Freakonomics fame) and John List, and UC San Diego’s Sally Sadoff. The authors went into nine K-8 schools in Chicago Heights, a city 30 miles south of Chicago, and randomly selected teachers (who had to consent, which 93.75 percent did) to take part in a merit pay scheme. The students affected were overwhelmingly low-income, with 98 percent receiving free or subsidized lunches. Teachers in the experiment were offered $80 per percentile improvement in student test scores, for a maximum reward of $8,000, compared to a typical teacher salary of $50,000.

The authors split teachers in the study into a control group, who were not offered any rewards, a “gain” group, which was promised rewards of up to $8,000 at the end of the school year, and a “loss” group, which was given $4,000 upfront and asked to pay back any rewards they did not earn. The idea behind the latter group was that loss aversion should motivate teachers to perform better than they would if they only stood to gain more money. Additionally, the gain and loss groups were split, with a “team” group being rewarded on the basis of theirs and fellow teachers’ test scores, and the “individual” group being reward only on the basis of their own scores. The conclusion: it worked, and it worked almost twice as well when the money was given at the start and then taken away…. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/wp/2012/07/23/does-teacher-merit-pay-work-a-new-study-says-yes/

One might ask why “merit pay’ seemed to work in the situation studied?

Jordan Weissmann writes a provocative analysis of the study in the Atlantic article, A Very Mean (But Maybe Brilliant) Way to Pay Teachers:

But Levitt, Fryer and Co. argue that there’s a serious problem with merit pay. So far, they say, there’s been scant evidence that it actually works. Studies of teacher incentive programs in Tennessee and New York City failed to find any signs that they improved student learning. In the New York experiment, which Harvard’s Fryer conducted, the impact may have even been detrimental. 

Enter loss aversion. The authors theorized that instead of offering a lump-sum bonus to teachers come summertime, it might be more effective to give instructors money upfront, then warn them that they would have to pay it back if their students didn’t hit the proper benchmarks. Rather than tap into teachers’ ambition, they’d tap into their anxiety.

To test their idea, the authors designed an experiment for the 2010-2011 school year involving 150 K-8 teachers from Chicago Heights, a low-income community in Illinois. The instructors were randomly assigned to a control group or one of two main bunches, which I’ll shorthand as the “winners” and the “losers.” The winners agreed to work under a traditional year-end bonus structure, where they could make up to $8,000 extra based on their students’ standardized test scores. The losers were given $4,000 off the bat and informed that if their students’ turned in below-average results, they’d have to pay a portion of it back commensurate with just how poor their scores were. On the flip side, an above-average performance could earn them additional bonus money, up to the full $8,000. 

The authors then divided the winners and losers again so that some teachers would be rewarded based on their results as a group, and others would be rewarded based on their results as individuals. 

Come vacation time, the losers had won. In math, paying teachers a year-end bonus had no statistically significant effect. When teachers had money to lose, though, their students over performed. The impact was large — the equivalent of improving a teacher’s skills by one full standard deviation — and the pattern held whether teachers were compensated as a group or as individuals. The authors’ data on reading scores turned out to be shakier, since most students ultimately had more than one instructor working with them on language skills, but it indicated a similar trend. 

In short, they found that merit pay can work. You just have to be tricky, and a little bit mean, with how you implement it…. http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/07/a-very-mean-but-maybe-brilliant-way-to-pay-teachers/260234/#.UBHCJts3U6I.email

Citation:

Enhancing the Efficacy of Teacher Incentives through Loss Aversion: A Field Experiment*

Roland G. Fryer, Jr.

Harvard University

Steven D. Levitt

The University of Chicago

John List

The University of Chicago

Sally Sadoff

University of California San Diego

Abstract

Domestic attempts to use financial incentives for teachers to increase student achievement have been ineffective. In this paper, we demonstrate that exploiting the power of loss aversion—teachers are paid in advance and asked to give back the money if their students do not improve sufficiently—increases math test scores between 0.201 (0.076) and 0.398 (0.129) standard deviations. This is equivalent to increasing teacher

quality by more than one standard deviation. A second treatment arm, identical to the loss aversion treatment but implemented in the standard fashion, yields smaller and statistically insignificant results. This suggests it is loss aversion, rather than other features of the design or population sampled, that leads to the stark differences between our findings and past research. 

What the various studies seem to point out is there is no one remedy which works in all situations and that there must be a menu of education options.

Resources:

A Lively Debate Over Teacher Salaries                         http://www.nytimes.com/schoolbook/2012/01/05/a-lively-debate-over-teacher-salaries/

Are Teachers Overpaid?                                                http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/01/02/are-teachers-overpaid/

Some Teachers Skeptical of Merit Pay                   http://www.nytimes.com/schoolbook/2012/01/13/some-teachers-skeptical-of-merit-pay/

Related:

Washington D.C. rolls out merit pay                  https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/washington-d-c-rolls-out-merit-pay/

Report from The Compensation Technical Working Group: Teacher compensation in Washington                   https://drwilda.wordpress.com/tag/teacher-recruitment/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Linda Darling-Hammond on teacher evaluation

9 May

Moi wrote in The search for quality teachers goes on:

Moi received the press release about improving teacher training standards from the Commission on Standards and Performance Reporting which is an outgrowth of he Teacher Education Accreditation Council, or TEAC, and the far larger and older National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, or NCATE now called CAEP. Trip Gabriel has an article in the New York Times,Teachers Colleges Upset By Plans to Grade Them about the coming U.S. News Report on teacher colleges. This project is being underwritten in part by the Carnegie Corporation and Broad Foundation. A test of the proposed project was completed in Illinois. You can go here to get a copy of the report. The National Council on Teacher Quality has information about the project at their site.

Stephen Sawchuck is reporting in the Education Week article, Teacher-Prep Accreditor Names Standards-Setting Panel:

An external panel that includes several prominent critics of teacher education has been tapped to craft the performance standards for the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, the new organization’s leaders announced last week.

Among the standards under consideration: how programs ensure that candidates know their content; the programs’ ability to recruit an academically strong pool of candidates; their success in training teachers to use assessment data effectively; and the performance of their graduates in classrooms….http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/02/29/22ncate.h31.html?tkn=WOXF5rXjv53mA6unhcaGNw3WZSn30CHE9YxX&intc=es

According to to the press release of CAEP:

The Commission is taking the recommendations of a Blue Ribbon Panel on Clinical Preparation and Partnerships for Improved Student Learning to the next level. The Panel’s report, released a year ago, said it was time to “turn teacher education upside-down.” That Panel urged increased oversight and expectations for educator preparation and the expansion of new delivery models in which teacher candidates work more directly in clinically based settings from the beginning of their preparation as in medical education. The panel also called for preparation programs to operate in new types of partnerships between higher education and P-12 schools in which both systems share responsibility for preparation.

Strong Accountability Tied to New Data Systems, Assessments

The development of longitudinal data systems and of a new generation of performance assessments will dramatically improve the quantity and quality of evidence of student and teacher performance, allowing programs to study the impact of graduates on student outcomes within the accreditation process. New, more robust assessments, such as the TPA (Teacher Performance Assessment) being pilot tested in more than 25 states, and tools such as observational protocols and student feedback, will help identify effective teaching practices. Information from these assessments will inform preparation programs and will provide new data points previously unavailable….

https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/the-search-for-quality-teachers-goes-on/

Every population of kids is different and they arrive at school at various points on the ready to learn continuum. Schools and teachers must be accountable, but there should be various measures of judging teacher effectiveness for a particular population of children. Perhaps, more time and effort should be spent in developing a strong principal corps and giving principals the training and assistance in evaluation and mentoring techniques.

Three recent articles examine teacher effectiveness from the perspective of students training to become teachers, teachers, and students. The first article examines a very effective teacher training program. Amy Hetzner and Becky Vevea of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel have written the article, How Best to Educate Future Teachers which is part of a series

Dave Eggers and NÍnive Clements Calegari have a provocative article in the New York Times, The High Cost of Low Teacher Salaries

At the moment, the average teacher’s pay is on par with that of a toll taker or bartender. Teachers make 14 percent less than professionals in other occupations that require similar levels of education. In real terms, teachers’ salaries have declined for 30 years. The average starting salary is $39,000; the average ending salary — after 25 years in the profession — is $67,000. This prices teachers out of home ownership in 32 metropolitan areas, and makes raising a family on one salary near impossible.

The Center for American Progress has a report by Frank Adamson and Linda Darling Hammond.

In the report, Speaking of Salaries: What It Will Take to Get Qualified, Effective Teachers In All Communities Adamson and Darling- Hammond write:

As Education Trust President Kati Haycock has noted, the usual statistics about teacher credentials, as shocking as they are, actually understate the degree of the problem in the most impacted schools:

The fact that only 25% of the teachers in a school are uncertified doesn’t mean that the other 75% are fine. More often, they are either brand new, assigned to teach out of field, or low-performers on the licensure exam … there are, in other words, significant numbers of schools that are essentially dumping grounds for unqualified teachers – just as they are dumping grounds for the children they serve.The problem of inequitably distributed teachers has continued to be a widespread major concern despite the intentions expressed in NCLB as well as noteworthy progress in some states. Disparity in the access of rich and poor children to well-qualified teachers is one of the constant issues surfaced in the more than 40 state school finance suits that are currently active across the country.

Download this report (pdf)

Download the executive summary (pdf)

Linda Darling-Hammond of Stanford has written a new report about teacher evaluation.

In the Washington Post article, Teacher evaluation: What it should look like, Darling-Hammond summarizes her new report on teacher evaluation:

Darling-Hammond’s report, entitled “Creating a Comprehensive System for Evaluating and Supporting Effective Teaching,” explains the essential components of any fair teacher evaluation system — and provides examples of where it is working. Here are the necessary criteria she says should be part of an effective teacher-evaluation system:

1. Teacher evaluation should be based on professional teaching standards and should be sophisticated enough to assess teaching quality across the continuum of development from novice to expert teacher.

2. Evaluations should include multi-faceted evidence of teacher practice, student learning, and professional contributions that are considered in an integrated fashion, in relation to one another and to the teaching context. Any assessments used to make judgments about students’ progress should be appropriate for the specific curriculum and students the teacher teaches.

3. Evaluators should be knowledgeable about instruction and well trained in the evaluation system, including the process of how to give productive feedback and how to support ongoing learning for teachers. As often as possible, and always at critical decision-making junctures (e.g., tenure or renewal), the evaluation team should include experts in the specific teaching field.

4. Evaluation should be accompanied by useful feedback, and connected to professional development opportunities that are relevant to teachers’ goals and needs, including both formal learning opportunities and peer collaboration, observation, and coaching.

5. The evaluation system should value and encourage teacher collaboration, both in the standards and criteria that are used to assess teachers’ work, and in the way results are used to shape professional learning opportunities.

6. Expert teachers should be part of the assistance and review process for new teachers and for teachers needing extra assistance. They can provide the additional subject-specific expertise and person-power needed to ensure that intensive and effective assistance is offered and that decisions about tenure and continuation are well grounded.

7. Panels of teachers and administrators should oversee the evaluation process to ensure that it is thorough and of high quality, as well as fair and reliable. Such panels have been shown to facilitate more timely and well-grounded personnel decisions that avoid grievances and litigation. Teachers and school leaders should be involved in developing, implementing, and monitoring the system to ensure that it reflects good teaching well, that it operates effectively, that it is tied to useful learning opportunities for teachers, and that it produces valid results.

Darling-Hammond explains why using value-added models is a bad idea. She notes that they:

* are “highly unstable,” as teachers’ ratings “differ substantially from class to class and from year to year;”

* are significantly affected by differences in students — even when value-added formulas attempt to control for various factors such as prior achievement and student demographic variables.

* cannot adequately deal with the various influences on a student that could affect performance on a test, both in school and out of school — and “these matter more than the individual teacher in explaining changes in scores.”

This does not mean, however, that student achievement should not be included in a teacher evaluation system. A variety of other measures of student learning are useful in teacher evaluation, including evidence taken from classroom assessments and student science investigations, research papers or art projects.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/teacher-evaluation-what-it-should-look-like/2012/05/08/gIQAaK0qBU_blog.html

Citation:

Darling-Hammond, L. (2012). Creating a comprehensive system for evaluating and supporting effective teaching.

Stanford, CA. Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education.

Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education

Barnum Center, 505 Lasuen Mall

Stanford, California 94305

Phone: 650.725.8600

scope@stanford.edu

http://edpolicy.stanford.edu

http://edpolicy.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/publications/creating-comprehensive-system-evaluating-and-supporting-effective-teaching.pdf

Everyone is searching for the magic formula to produce a bumper crop of quality teachers.

Related:

Could newest teaching strategy be made in Japan?

https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/11/could-newest-teaching-strategy-be-made-in-japan/

New Harvard study about impact of teachers

https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/08/new-harvard-study-about-impact-of-teachers/

Is it true that the dumbest become teachers?

https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/is-it-true-that-the-dumbest-become-teachers/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©