Mississippi's teacher merit based pay pilot program is stalled o - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Mississippi's teacher merit based pay pilot program is stalled out

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Merit based pay for teachers was part of the Governor's Education Works initiative. Changing tests and standards have caused the pilot program to stall out.
And the future of merit pay is up in the air.

A handful of school districts piloted merit based teacher pay starting in 2013. But it was only funded through last school year.

"The point of merit pay has been to see if a financial incentive will result in higher student achievement because that's often times the barometer or measurement for a school being effective," noted Kelly Riley, Mississippi Professional Educators Executive Director.

But a lot has changed since the bill passed. A change in testing meant delayed scores. 2014-2015 scores didn't come in till July of this year. Now, the accountability model is changing. So, last year's scores won't be finalized until October.

"I'm sure they'll do everything they can to get those payments out as soon as possible," said Riley.

Bottom line, the teachers who qualified for a bonus should get their back-pay for the last two years. Past that, there isn't an indication of what the legislature will do with the data collected in the last three years.

Mississippi State's Research and Curriculum Unit has been keeping an eye on how the program plays out. One section of the report noted the bonuses were somewhat overshadowed by broader budget concerns.Riley says that makes sense.

"I think any teacher would rather have those funds going into their classrooms to support the instructional practices and to support their students."

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