The mystique of merit pay

By on March 1, 2021

first_imgThe questions of whether to tie teachers’ pay to classroom performance, and whether that might lead to improved student achievement, have long been subjects of intense debate.The issue is again at the forefront of the national dialogue in the wake of President Barack Obama’s “Race to the Top” education initiative, a $4 billion competitive grant program that rewards states that develop academic reforms to boost school improvement, and encourages states to embrace merit-pay plans.In a two-day seminar at Harvard last week (June 3-4), scholars, politicians, and educators gathered at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) to discuss the value and feasibility of performance pay. The Harvard Program on Education Policy and Governance at HKS organized the conference, which was called “Performance Pay: Will it Work? Is it Politically Viable?”While there is evidence suggesting that some merit-pay initiatives can improve student performance, the experts agreed that support for such programs is mixed, and that much research needs to be done to evaluate their overall effectiveness.Obama’s position on performance pay has grown increasingly supportive, said Andrew Smarick of the American Enterprise Institute and Thomas B. Fordham Institute, who explored the political dimensions to the merit-pay debate. Smarick said that Arne Duncan, Obama’s secretary of education, supported performance-pay programs while he was chief executive of the Chicago Public Schools, and also backed its inclusion in “Race to the Top” applications.But the Obama administration favors merit-pay programs, said Smarick, as part of a “range of personnel and policy decisions” to help school performance.“They like performance pay, but it’s going to be part of a wide network of different activities that improve the teaching profession,” said Smarick, adding, “It’s clear that they are trying to build this new policy framework of trying to make sure that evaluations and student test data, and this whole suite of reforms, are integrated together.”Yet getting teacher unions to support merit-pay plans broadly will be difficult, said Smarick, who noted that only Delaware (one of the two states to receive grants in the first round of “Race to the Top” applications) had full union support.“This deference to unions is just something you can’t get around, in my view,” he said.Responding to Smarick’s comments, Roberto J. Rodríguez, who serves on the White House Domestic Policy Council as special assistant to the president for education, agreed that performance pay plays an important part in the administration’s broader educational reform agenda.“We really are seeking to … challenge the status quo in our schools … and have really sought to bring folks together around performance-based compensation reform, as well as around a whole host of our education reform platforms, and really look at how we can drive change for kids.”The seminar included a series of papers that addressed a variety of merit-pay topics, including programs operating in American school districts and in other countries.In addition, research by Sarena Goodman and Lesley Turner of Columbia University examined a New York City bonus-pay program. According to Goodman, the initiative had little impact on teacher effort or student achievement largely because of its group-based structure that led to “free-riding” behavior by some participants who did not embrace the program.“What we argue with this paper is that the structure of this bonus program, in particular … school-level bonuses, led to ‘free riding,’ which significantly reduced incentives for teachers to change their behavior,” said Goodman.Responding to the paper’s findings, Elena Llaudet, a graduate student and research associate at Harvard’s Department of Government, called for more analysis of such programs to determine their true value.“We need more pilot programs … implemented and evaluated,” she said, “so that we can tease out which structures of merit-pay programs work and which don’t.”last_img read more

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Go-Go’s Musical Taps Tom Kitt, Spencer Liff & More

By on January 18, 2021

first_imgSpencer Liff & more at ‘Head Over Heels’ workshop(Photo: Instagram.com/spencerliff) Our lips aren’t sealed on this news! As previously announced, Head Over Heels, a musical featuring the songs of 1980s girl group the Go-Go’s, is in the works; Gwyneth Paltrow is producing and Tony winner Michael Mayer is at the helm of the Jeff Whitty-penned production. A recent workshop included music arrangements and supervision from Pulitzer Prize and Tony winner Tom Kitt as well as choreography from Spencer Liff, whose recent Broadway projects include Falsettos and the Deaf West revival of Spring Awakening. Broadway alums Michael Park (Dear Evan Hansen) and Rachel York (Disaster!) were also on hand to perform. Other performers who participated in the workshop included Kristolyn Lloyd (Dear Evan Hansen), Tom Alan Robbins (Newsies), Bonnie Milligan (Kinky Boots), Alexandra Socha (Spring Awakening), Andrew Durand (War Horse), Lawrence Alexander (Follies), DeMarius R. Copes (Newsies), Yurel Echezarreta (Aladdin), Ari Groover (Holler If Ya Hear Me), Brandon Hudson (Hamilton), Nina Lafarga (On Your Feet!) Samantha Zack (Wicked), Jenny Laroche (Smash) and Shakina Nayfack.Inspired by Sir Philip Sidney’s 16th-century pastoral romance, Arcadia, this new musical is an Elizabethan love story turned on its head. There’s a duke, a mysterious prophecy and two daughters: one mobbed by suitors, the other…not so much. All of this is set to the beat of 1980s pop icons the Go-Go’s. Under the direction of Ed Sylvanus Iskandar, the tuner made its world premiere this past summer at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.Originally fronted by Belinda Carlisle, the Go-Go’s were the first and only all-female band that both wrote their own songs and played their own instruments to top the Billboard album charts. Their hits include “Our Lips Are Sealed,” “We Got the Beat,” “Vacation” and of course, “Head Over Heels.” View Commentslast_img read more

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FA Cup quarter-final: Arsenal. Chelsea get tough draws + full fixtures

By on September 22, 2020

first_imgRelatedPosts Gundogan tests positive for coronavirus Runarsson joins Arsenal on four-year deal Ighalo: My best moment as ‘Red Devil’ Arsenal and Chelsea have been handed tough away ties in the quarter-final of the FA Cup. The Gunners’ reward for overcoming Portsmouth in round five is another game on the road as they face fellow Premier League outfit Sheffield United at Bramall Lane. When the two team met there earlier in the season, the Gunners – under Unai Emery – were beaten 1-0 and then drew the reverse meeting at the Emirates Stadium in January. As for the Blues, they’ll face Leicester City at the King Power Stadium. Both Premier League meetings have ended in draws, with Antonio Rudiger scoring twice in a four-goal thriller at the beginning of February. Holders Manchester City beat Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 on Wednesday night thanks to a goal from Sergio Aguero and will face a Newcastle United side who were runners-up in 1998 and 1999. The last quarter-final tie won’t be confirmed until Thursday night. Manchester United take on Wayne Rooney’s Derby County at Pride Park with a trip to Norwich City the reward for the winner. The Premier League’s bottom side came from behind to beat Tottenham Hotspur on penalties with Tim Krul proving to be the hero as he saved from Troy Parrott and Gedson Fernandes. Fixtures will be played between March 20 and 22.FA Cup quarter-final draw in full: Sheffield United vs Arsenal Newcastle United vs Man City Norwich City vs Derby County/Man U Leicester City vs Chelsea. Tags: ArsenalChelseaFA CupLeicesterManchester UnitedSheffield Unitedlast_img read more

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On swagger and speed, 2 of 3 beat writers predict another major upset for Syracuse

By on September 16, 2020

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Coming off a historic upset of No. 2 Clemson, Syracuse (4-3, 2-1 Atlantic Coast) travels to No. 8 Miami (5-0, 3-0) to take on the Hurricanes at 3:30 p.m. at Hard Rock Stadium. This is the first time Syracuse has faced Miami since 2003.Tomer Langer (5-2)Do U believe?Syracuse 30, Miami 27The Orange shocked the world on Friday night by beating Clemson. The good thing for Syracuse fans is that it doesn’t seem like the team is caught up on the win. In fact, senior linebacker Zaire Franklin said he’s already put the game behind him and is hoping his teammates do the same. Now, Miami is still a great football team. But I think back to when SU sent to play Boston College after upsetting Virginia Tech last year. That team played with a different swagger and confidence then it had all season long. I think the Orange comes out with a similar vibe this week and pulls off a narrow victory.Matthew Gutierrez (4-3)Because why not?Syracuse 31, Miami 27The Mid-American Conference’s best team, Toledo, touched up Miami for 30 points in a loss. The upshot: Toledo runs a similar offense to that of Syracuse. Given how strong the SU defense has been, the X-factor Saturday is how much UM can slow the SU attack. Impending thunderstorms may sedate Syracuse’s pass-heavy attack, but I see the Syracuse offense scoring its most points since Week 3 with a big win at Miami.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textJoe Bloss (4-3)Patience is a virtueMiami 27, Syracuse 21I’m torn. Last week’s upset of Clemson provided evidence that Syracuse can win any game. Meanwhile, Miami did not look good for much of its bout with Georgia Tech. But I will force myself to keep my mind grounded and say the Orange loses a close one. In the forecasted stormy weather, throwing a football will be hard. Near-tackles might slip away. SU will still get its six wins — and maybe even more — but this weekend just won’t contribute to that total. Be patient. Comments Published on October 20, 2017 at 12:28 amlast_img read more

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