The Oklahoma House Education Committee concluded its interim study on merit pay/pay for test scores recently and you have to wonder where we are headed with this idea.
One of the more encouraging aspects of this "study experience" has been the overwhelming support for basic core principles to be addressed in putting together this type of program. Expert after expert has testified that this can't be done in place of raises, it must be fair and open to everyone, objective, supported by a large majority of teachers, and it must be developed by and with teacher input just to name a few of the most important building blocks to the development of this kind of program.
On the other hand, what is coming out in the form of press releases and sound bites, is either different or taken totally out of context then what has been said at the interim study. A variety of people aren't sure they've even been in the same study chambers based on some of the releases. One of the better articles on the subject was written by Ben Fenwick of the Oklahoma Gazette. You can read Ben's complete story in the October 3rd issue of the Gazette, or a partial of it on-line at http://www.okgazette.com/p/12776/a/1119/Default.aspx?ReturnUrl=LwBEAGUAZgBhAHUAbAB0AC4AYQBzAHAAeAAslashAHAAPQAxADIANwAyADkA. The printed article is the better read. You can call the office and we'll make sure you get the information.
The supporters of pay for test score plans say they don't have any preconceived ideas, but based on those press releases and soundbites, is it any wonder teachers question the fairness of this study?