The New York Times published an editorial calling for “carrots and sticks” for teachers and principals.

What  the editorial means is that professionals should get bonuses for higher test scores, and this would recognize high performance and get educators to work harder and produce more high performance (higher test scores).

As I said in my speech in Detroit to the AFT convention, carrots and sticks are for donkeys, not professionals.

The schools in New York City have been subject to budget cuts for the past few years. The Times’ editorial doesn’t suggest where the money will come from to award bonuses. Should some teachers be laid off so others can get a bonus? Should the schools eliminate the arts so that some teachers can get bonuses?

The Times makes no mention of the long and consistent history of failure of merit pay plans. See here and  here and here and here and here.

After ten years of carrots and sticks in New York City, the Times concludes that what is needed is more carrots and sticks.

Teachers are doing the best they can, with or without bonus pay. I posted several times yesterday about why merit pay doesn’t work. I wish the Times’ editorial writer were reading those posts, and more important, reading the comments by teachers, such as this one:

I work in a challenging inner city school in NYC-DOE. Just about every teacher there works hard. Our administration is ok but not great. Our teachers collaborate and cooperate. I love working in my school.
This past June during our final staff meeting on the last day of school our principal who was thanking everyone for their hard work let slip that thanks to our hard work, she and her assistant principals all received substantial bonuses from the DOE.
There was complete silence in the room. It was a very sad way to end the school year. No one listened much to anything the “suits” said after that. She did say it was part of her union contract and we should pressure our union.
Many teachers were very discouraged. Teachers are between a rock and a hard place. If they don’t work hard and make the administration look great (which is not likely because in the end it would hurt our students) our school will most likely close. If we work hard, the administration will be rewarded for our efforts.
This is not going to do much for morale come September.
If states made it more difficult to enter the teaching profession and provided adequate resources, none of this bonus stuff would be necessary.