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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I doubt that

by folkbum

The lede of a Washington Post story on teacher merit pay:
Offering teachers incentives of up to $15,000 to improve student test scores produced no discernible difference in academic performance, according to a study released Tuesday, a result likely to reshape the debate about merit pay programs sprouting in D.C. schools and many others nationwide.
I don't doubt the first part, that such incentives, especially when tied to things teachers see as unimportant, like test scores, are ineffective. That resonates as a billion percent true with me.

It's the second part, that this study will have an effect on the debate, that rings false. Of course it won't have an effect on the debate: Those pushing merit pay almost exclusively do so for ideological reasons (gotta make schools like "the market"!), and reality simply never enters into their consciousness. So good luck changing that debate one bit.

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