Merit based teacher pay to be piloted in Mississippi - - Jackson, MS

Merit based teacher pay to be piloted in Mississippi

By Cheryl Lasseter - bio|email|twitter

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Oak Forest Elementary School is the single Jackson Public School that will take part in the performance based compensation pilot program, offered through the U.S. Department of Education. Mendenhall Junior High and Magee Middle School are also included. In total, ten schools in eight school districts statewide will share the $10.7 million grant. The performance based system will contain five components: a performance-based compensation system, educator evaluation, professional development, career ladders for teachers, and data systems. 

"The teacher evaluation model will help us in that regard, linking a teacher to a student, and that student's performance," says Mississippi Department of Education spokesman Pete Smith.

Paying teachers according to their results may sound like a great idea. But Kevin Gilbert, President of the Mississippi Association of Educators, says it's not that easy.

"There was just a recent study by Vanderbilt University that said merit pay, or performance based pay, has no bearing, shows no significant bearing on student achievement," he says.

How do our teachers feel about performance based pay? MAE, which has 8.000 members, says the opinion is mixed among teachers, but there's one thing they don't want.

"They don't want performance based pay that's solely linked to standardized tests," Gilbert says. "We have some teachers that don't teach in standardized test areas. How will they be able to take advantage of this?"

MDE only learned of the grant award this week. The U.S. Department of Education has not yet provided guidelines on how to assess teacher performance.

"We're waiting to have more, get final guidance on how that piece will be implemented," Smith says.

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