Conflicting Empirical Evidence and Potential Costs and Benefits in Recommendation Making
Education is one of the areas that have received attention from policymakers, practitioners, and government. The much attention that is put on the education sector is purely a connection between teaching quality and student achievement. Developing, maintaining and sustaining teacher effectiveness is always the role of the government, and this can be done in a several ways. The most popular policy that is taking center stage in the education sector is the provision of incentives for teachers with a view of increasing students’ performance in the learning centers (Behrstock-Sherratt, 2013). The incentives are majorly informed of finance as the case of Michigan where a bill has been tabled to the governor for signing to implement the teacher incentive pay program. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the effective or ineffective of teacher incentive in improving student performance, potential benefits and costs of implementing. The incentives program in Michigan and recommendations to the governor whether to sign the bill into law or not.
Research has shown that teacher quality is the only human capital considered an important input in the education production. The education production function has some factors among them financial incentives for both students and teachers that can affect the output that is student achievement in different ways. The teacher incentives are ineffective in improving student results. The out of the education function that is student achievement relies majorly on teacher quality that will include teacher training, teacher effort and teacher characteristics (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development 2011). With the emergence of teachers' unions that to greater extent campaign for these incentives collectively has made some teachers to withdraw their much effort gradually from the production, function.
The implementation of the teacher incentive in that only math and reading teachers with individual value-added scores in the top 10% will receive the incentive will go far way in demoralizing other teachers. The education sector will thus be in the state of divide and rule and this will be counterproductive to the learner. The incentive cannot be effective in improving the student achievement because the incentives are not large enough to give the teachers an agency to put in more effort in their work (Chen et al., 2014). Teacher characteristics are essential in determining student achievement and from analysis it has not be shown if the incentives at any margin allow teachers to behave differently. Therefore, teachers, who do not carry themselves in a professional manner as the teaching profession may call for, will continue to serve in the profession and therefore affect the learners hence ineffective in improving student achievement. The incentives further become ineffective in determining student achievement more so if they are group based because they introduce potential free riding among the teachers.
Potential benefits and costs of implementing the proposed incentive program
The proposed incentive program in Michigan though not effective in determining student achievement comes along with some benefits. The implementation of the program in Michigan will essentially involve some expense. One of the potential benefits if the incentive is implemented is that the teachers will have no excuse to absentee themselves from schools with the intent of making extra income (Brehm et al., 2015). The incentives are likely to bring them extra income in the year that will cover up the deficits they have been experiencing in their expenses. The Michigan state will have to deep into its finances to ensure the program runs successfully if implemented, the extra cost that will come with the implementation of the program will be much high (Behrstock-Sherratt, 2013). The cost is likely to increase with fresh graduates opting for reading and math that are the only areas that the incentive will be directed to.
Recommendations to the governor whether to sign the bill
My final recommendation to the governor of Michigan is that the bill should not be signed into law. Essentially, with the work, teachers do then it cannot be fully measured and therefore if the bill is implemented then this will result in narrowing of the teaching profession to test preparation. If the students’ achievement in a particular area is to be used as performance measure for teachers, then the teachers will strive to ensure the students only pass the test exams but in the real sense, the mastery of the content and acquisition of skills is not attained (Lavy & Centre for Economic Policy Research (Great Britain), 2003). The implementation of the program if the bill is signed will go far away in straining the government spending. The government can then embark in borrowing. This will increase the debt, deepen the budget deficit and increase taxes on the average Michigan citizen as an avenue of finding funds to sustain the program that does not have a direct influence on student achievements.
Apparently, it can be concluded that teacher incentives should not be put into place with a view of improving student performance. They should be adopted as a way of promoting the welfare of those in the teaching profession. The teacher incentives programs go far away in improving the well-being of the teachers other than having a positive impact on the students' achievement. The implementation of such programs should consider the financial positions of the government.
Behrstock-Sherratt, E. (2013). Everyone at the table: Engaging teachers in evaluation reform.
Brehm, M., Imberman, S. A., Lovenheim, M., & National Bureau of Economic Research. (2015). Achievement effects of individual performance incentives in a teacher merit pay tournament.
Chen, R. F., In Eisenkraft, A., In Fortus, D., In Krajcik, J. S., In Neumann, K., In Nordine, J., & In Scheff, A. (2014). Teaching and learning of energy in K-12 education.
Lavy, V., & Centre for Economic Policy Research (Great Britain). (2003). Paying for performance: The effect of teachers' financial incentives on students' scholastic outcomes. London: Centre for Economic Policy Research.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2011). Establishing a framework for evaluation and teacher incentives: Considerations for Mexico. Paris: OECD.