Tag Archives: conventional wisdom

There's No Evidence that Merit Pay Negatively Affects Teacher Teamwork

Washington Post education columnist Jay Mathews wrote a column earlier this week suggesting that “merit pay could ruin teacher teamwork” in Washington, DC. In response, Jeanne Allen from the Center for Education Reform wrote an open letter saying that merit pay is in fact the key to building a culture of teamwork inside the district schools of our nation’s capital. But there’s more to throw into the pot of this little debate. Findings from a study of a merit pay pilot program (PDF) in Little Rock, Arkansas, further questions the conventional wisdom in Mathews’ piece: The data do not indicate that ACPP teachers experience divisive competition, suffer from a negative work environment, or shy away from working with low-performing students – despite the fact that these are three oft-cited potential problems inherent in merit pay plans. More research is needed, but it looks like there’s reason to believe that the old teachers union saw about merit pay being divisive isn’t necessarily true. More teamwork, higher quality instruction, and ultimately, students learning more: I have a hard time seeing what’s not to like about paying teachers for performance. Several Colorado school districts and charter schools are leading the way in this […]


Are Kids Too Busy? School Choice Isn't the Only Important Parental Decision

I’m having my friends write in a hurry today, so forgive the short post this time. There’s a great article from Sunday’s Washington Post that raises the question again, Are today’s kids too busy with activities? The Post talks about new research that shows the super-busy kids are happier and have less stress (H/T Joanne Jacobs): A new wave of research into the lives of middle-class children bucks conventional wisdom and concludes they are not the overscheduled, frazzled generation that many believe them to be. It might be only that their parents are on overload, one researcher suggests. Sorry, mom and dad. And sorry to all of you, because I have to run to soccer practice, piano lessons, then Cub Scouts. (Maybe I need to do some activities but not quite so many. Choosing the best school isn’t the only important decision parents have to make for their children.)