Saturday, May 09, 2009

Budget Outlines Funding for Teacher Merit Pay Programs

This from the Washington Post:

President Obama is seeking to add hundreds of millions for teacher merit pay programs, an investment in a reform that has often drawn criticism from teachers unions.

Even as education officials have eliminated 12 programs they say are not proven to benefit students -- a savings of $550 million -- the department is seeking $517 million for performance pay grants, up from $97 million in last year's budget. In addition, the stimulus law included an additional $200 million for such programs.

Throughout his campaign, Obama repeatedly endorsed performance pay plans, so long as they are developed with the blessing of teachers. But the budget provides one of the first glimpses of the administration's commitment to dramatically expand the smattering of merit pay experiments in schools across the country.

"The president is making a strong statement that he wants teaching shaken up," said Jack Jennings, president of the D.C.-based Center on Education Policy. "I presume the unions will not be very happy, but I doubt they will take a strident position in opposition because . . . Obama has said he wants to work with local unions in fashioning these types of programs." ...

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