In PWCS, the Pathway to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions

Just about all of us agree that more effective teachers and administrators deserve to be paid more than  less effective teachers and administrators.  Over the years schools districts across the country have struggled to develop plans that offer financial incentives to teachers who excel.  Few, if any, school districts have developed pay for performance plans that are lasting and effective.

Not to be left behind, PWCS recently proposed, and the school board approved, PWC’s version of a pay for performance plan. 

The plan awards points to teachers and administrators at eligible schools based on a number of factors, including student performance, and then allocates a $2,000 – $10,000 bonus those teachers / administrators based on their achieved “score”.

The program, however, isn’t available to all teachers and administrators.  It is only available to teachers and administrators at schools with a significant population of economically disadvantaged students.    The objective of the program isn’t to reward high performing teachers and administrators, its to encourage high performing teachers and administrators to work at schools with a significant percentage of economically disadvantaged students.

Imagine if the district had cobbled together a similar plan, but the only schools which qualified were those with a significant portion of financially stable students.  Would anyone approve a pay for performance plan whose qualifier was the financial stability of the surrounding community?  Of course not.  Then why would we approve a pay for performance plan whose qualifier is the financial instability of the surrounding community?

Economically disadvantaged schools already get Title 1 funds, which can be significant.  Now PWCS will be implementing a pay for performance plan which discriminates against teachers in financially stable communities simply because the community is financially stable.

Improving the performance of economically disadvantaged students is a noble and well intentioned goal.  Doing so at the expense of other students is neither noble nor well intentioned.  They say that the pathway to hell is paved with good intentions.  With this plan, PWCS seems to be doing a great job paving its pathway.

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