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DISD Debating Teacher ‘Pay For Performance’ Plan

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – In the Dallas Independent School District, some believe teacher pay should be tied to the performance of the students. But does linking pay and performance really lead to the right result?

Marco Gonzalez engages, enlightens and educates 12- and 13-year-olds. But the Dallas ISD middle school teacher’s job evaluation doesn’t include data tied to his student’s classroom progress – at least not yet.

DISD Superintendent Mike Miles said, “We have to raise level of expectation for students and staff.”

Miles’ “Teacher Excellence Initiative” outlines the school district’s plan for improving teaching, by using a student’s academic performance as a criterion for teacher pay.

“Your salary or your compensation is tied to student achievement,” the superintendent explained. “So, it’s not just whether or not your students pass the test. The question is how much did they grow.”

Gonzalez wraps up his second year of teaching this month and he’s confident about year three.

“I don’t mind being… my pay being affected by test scores. I have confidence in my abilities, and I think I can do what needs to be done for these students,” he said.

The district calls the plan rewarding excellence. Critics call it stunting the growth of educators.

Representatives from teacher groups challenge the pay for performance model, as a mandate to get test passing rates up — not student achievement up. They call it teaching to the test.

Angela Davis, with the National Education Association, said, “With this pay for performance, we’re going to do it [teach to the test] more, because you’re tying my pay to my test scores.”

By next school year Gonzalez and 10,000 other DISD teachers could see pay raises, if student classroom performance also rises.

The school board votes on pay for performance later this month.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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