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Posted at 2:35 PM ET, 01/18/2011

McDonnell proposes merit pay, corporate tax credits for schools

By Anita Kumar
Anita Kumar

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) proposed Tuesday that districts with underperforming schools be eligible for $3 million as part of a pilot program to fund teacher performance-pay awards.

The proposal would award incentives of up to $5,000 to teachers in hard-to-staff schools, including schools that are at risk of losing state accreditation, have a high number of English learners or have a high percentage of special-needs students.

A list of 190 schools eligible to apply for the grant includes those in Loudoun, Fairfax, Arlington and Prince William counties and the cities of Alexandria and Manassas.

"This was a reform I first outlined during my campaign for governor and a plan that we will continue to develop over the next couple years as we see the effectiveness of the pilot programs,'' McDonnell said. "Performance pay is a bipartisan idea, and I have applauded the President for his leadership on this issue. It is time that we moved forward on bringing this idea to the commonwealth, to the benefit of our students, teachers and parents."

Robley S. Jones, director of government affairs for the Virginia Education Association, said his organization is not supporting or opposing the proposal, which was introduced as an amendment to the state's two year budget. He said the VEA is continuing to work with the Department of Education on performance pay. "It's an unfinished project,'' he said.

At a news conference Tuesday, McDonnell also introduced a bill, HB 2314, establishing a tax-credit program for corporations that contribute scholarship money for students eligible for a free- or reduced- price lunch to attend private school.

The tax credit would equal 70 percent of the donation made by the corporation, and the Virginia Department of Taxation could issue up to $25 million in credits in each fiscal year.

By Anita Kumar  | January 18, 2011; 2:35 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar, General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Robert F. McDonnell, State Senate  
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Merit pay may be a bi-partisan idea, but that doesn't make it a good idea.

Here's 6 reasons in 3 minutes why merit pay cannot work unless there's a way to measure teacher performance that's fair:

1. Missing data (practically inevitable) leads to bias.
2. Reduced reliability from one score to another, over time.
3. Same score gains might not be equivalent. (20%-30% =/= 90%-100%)
4. Other people effect what teachers do.
5. Should teachers only worry about short-term gains?
6. Effects of peers.

Value added measures are not fair or accurate. This policy is worthless.

Posted by: hukdunshur | January 18, 2011 5:56 PM | Report abuse

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