September 21st, 2010

Race To The Top Podcast: Paying For Performance

( Click here to download the podcast )

Since Nashville Schools Superintendent Jesse Register acquired $30.2 million dollars in federal Race to the Top money, one of the items on his agenda has been to decide if some of that money should be used to implement a ‘Pay for Performance’ program for Tennessee teachers. Paying teachers based on their performance doesn’t come without controversy – critics, for example, question the teacher evaluation system that determines successful performance, and argue that it could create competition amongst the teachers in a school. Register doesn’t disagree – for him, a successful ‘Pay for Performance’ plan involves differentiated pay based on more than just ‘performance.’

This podcast is an extended interview from Part 4 in our ongoing coverage of the national Race to the Top competition. Listen to more podcasts and watch the full series online here: Race to the Top Series.

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Mr. Register is on the right track–financial incentives will be much less effective than helping teachers, especially those in trouble, to do better by providing supportive mentoring and upgrading of their teaching skills. Why not advising, counseling and instructing teachers and principals who need it instead of just firing them (unless they don’t seem to get it after a suitable probationary period)? Good luck to Jesse Register and his teachers!

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