From the Baby Moses Project
From Lorraine forte, Deputy Editor, Catalyst Chicago:
What teaching strategies are most effective with young black men? How do you get a large urban system to address the needs of these youth on a significant scale?
Dr. Rosa Smith has suggested that making the success of African-American male students "the litmus test" for the success of the entire system is one approach to systemic change. We could take a leaf from the corporate handbook and tie administrative compensation to the value they add in this regard.
When educators focus as much importance on the bottom 10% of the student body as it does the top 10%, we might see a shift in resources and more concerted and collaborative educational effort, especially if administrators pay is tied to performance.
If an administrator lost 50% of his or her compensation for a 50% dropout rate for African-American male students (the “litmus test” group), there would probably be a shift in administrative priorities, policies, and strategies. But if failure is as well compensated as success, why succeed- which may be why we keep getting the same results.
Pay for Performance should be part of the overall reward strategy. As we reward our students for their performance, we should also reward our teachers and administrators, based on performance. In a school system with high expectations, our expectation of education professionals should also be high.
Merit base pay in Texas should be viewed from the financial standpoint that each student is allocated about $6,000 a year for the purpose of public education. The pro rata breaks out at so many days per year a student is enrolled in school. There is a hidden financial incentive to keep dropouts on the enrollment books, long after they have disappeared during the school year. The school still gets paid as if the child were present.
The school should be paid only for the days that the student attends classes, and whatever hours the student miss in school or class should be deducted from the school’s allocation. Maybe there would be more a financial incentive to lower the dropout rate.