Money ALONE Cannot Buy School Improvement

As all of you who have attended my workshops and as many of you know in live in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Our governor, Suzanna Martinez, has proposed paying teachers from high-performing schools to move to low-performance schools.  This has already been tried in Albuquerque where $4.5 million has been spent paying teachers $5,000 a year ($100 a week) to move to low-performing schools.  At the end of three years, scores in a low performing middle school not improved, but math schools have doubled. In the low-performing high school test scores have remained flat (and low) as have graduation rates.  While I believe we need to try a variety of things to improve schools, this plan raises some issues:

Labeling every teacher in a low-performing school as a “failure” and every teacher in a high-performing school as a “success” makes little or no sense.  Great schools have low-performing teachers just as low-performing schools have great teachers.

The current high-performers in low-performing schools will not receive the bonuses nor any recognition of their dedication and hard work.

Politicians are looking for sound bite solutions to highly complex problems.  Believing that they can solve the problems of education by focusing on one aspect while ignoring other aspects like poverty, and the role family plays in education doesn’t make any sense to me.

If your state/city has similar plans, you might want to send the school board and superintendent this blog.