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.
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.