Blue Ribbon Expert’s Group Sees No Evidence That Merit Pay Works

The Blue Ribbon K-12 panel is meeting right now in Pierre (listen live online via SDPB). This afternoon they’ll hear from Michael Griffith, senior policy analyst for the Education Commission of the States. At the Aberdeen Blue Ribbon listening sessions, co-chari Sen. Deb Soholt said Griffith knows everything about every state’s K-12 financing, so this afternoon’s testimony should be instructive if Governor Daugaard’s appointees want to look out-state for serious funding solutions for our teacher shortage.

Maybe we just need to buy teachers a beer....
Maybe we just need to buy teachers a beer….

If Governor Daugaard had looked to Michael Griffith for information during his first term, he could have saved himself and South Dakota a lot of fuss over merit pay, the policy Daugaard proposed but voters rejected in 2012. In a June 2010 article, Griffith’s ECS found there was no evidence that merit pay improves student achievement. The ECS article suggests that evidence was lacking because merit pay programs were too new, too few, and too cheap, but they also noted that the answer could be the obvious: no evidence popped up because merit pay does not work.

Listen to Griffith today, Blue Ribboneers, and stay focused. Tackling the teacher shortage doesn’t require merit pay; it requires moral pay—i.e., pay that compensates every teacher fully for the work South Dakota is currently taking for free.


6 Responses to Blue Ribbon Expert’s Group Sees No Evidence That Merit Pay Works

  1. Roger Elgersma

    We are so far down the totem pole of teacher pay that even good ideas do not work anymore. So then proving that they do not work does not mean the idea was bad.
    Example: When Daugaard wanted to give 5 thousand merit pay to the best teachers, I told this to some friends in Texas(another conservative state) what we were going to do. Well, they already were paying more base pay and they immediately confidently said, ‘We pay fifteen thousand bonus for merit pay). Soooooo, who would move to South Dakota for lower base pay and lower merit pay than they were already getting? NO ONE.
    That is why you find teachers saying that we first need moral pay rather than just carrots for the best.

  2. Douglas Wiken

    My guess is that “merit pay” doesn’t go to the best and brightest educators, but rather to the best brown-nosers adept at toadying up to administrators.

  3. Well, Mr. Elgersma, this does show that other states have figured out how to sort out teachers for merit pay. So it can be done. Our administrators just have to figure out a way to sort out our teachers themselves so they won’t whine about it. And no merit pay for fat cat administrators at all. They’re the sorters, not the ones in line for more money.

  4. Your right Mr. Wilken and that’s the problem with merit pay.
    Ya teachers are just whiners. SMH

  5. Yes, Grudz – the ‘merit pay’ concept has been trotted out in lots of places. It’s just too tempting for simple minds to convince themselves that it’s the right approach.

  6. Is there a link to a recorded meeting session? I can’t seem to find one.