Favorite

Merit pay expansion? 

Merit pay

We apparently haven’t heard the last of “merit pay,” or compensating school teachers based on performance measures, in the Little Rock School District.

It was recently disclosed, after complaints about secrecy from this newspaper, that Democrat-Gazette publisher Walter Hussman underwrote a $145,000 bonus plan for teachers at Meadowcliff primary school last year, the money distributed according to how their students did on national standardized tests. The school district is paying to continue the program this year and Hussman has offered to pay to expand the experiment to Wakefield school as well.

The teachers union has been resistant to such pay plans. Such bonus plans have resulted in cheating in some districts; some experts question the wisdom of tying pay to standardized tests, and teachers fear administrators’ favoritism in bonus pay schemes. Also, as it stands, teachers administer tests whose results help determine their pay.

A rumor circulated last week that a donor associated with the Walton fortune was prepared to under

Something is up

Little Rock School Superintendent Roy Brooks says “there is no existing proposal for any broad merit pay proposal” in his district. But, he added, “We would like to talk to anyone who’d like to help provide financial support.”

We pressed. Has he talked to anyone? “We have had a conversation with someone regarding exploring it as a possibility.” He said the talk didn’t narrow the focus, at this point, to strictly elementary schools.

Who has he talked with? “I can’t say.”

If the plan goes forward, would the school board make the decision? (It had no official role in the Hussman experiments, which weren’t publicly announced and which were implemented in violation of a union work contract that specified a school vote before a bonus pay plan could begin.)

“This is something we would not do without board authority,” he said.

Brooks made it clear that he’s working hard on bonus pay. “We have to look at determining alternate ways to compensate teachers. Businesses do it all the time. There’s nothing wrong with looking at it.”



Something in the air

This can only be described as second-hand, though from a reliable source. A report is circulating that Gov. Mike Huckabee has told legislators that he might add so-called clean air legislation to the agenda if and when a special legislative session is held on public education. Previously, Huckabee, though an advocate of healthier lifestyles, has refused to throw his diminished weight behind measures to restrict smoking in restaurants and the workplace. Legislation that died last session would do that. Polls show the idea enjoys wide public support. Huckabee’s switch to this position, though courageous in the face of the powerful tobacco and restaurant lobbies, would be popular with the public (voters) and not considered harmful to a health-advocating presidential candidate.




Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Huckabee departs Fox for religious network

    Mike Huckabee is departing Fox for Trinity Broadcasting Network, where he'll have an hour-long weekly talk show filmed in Nashville. TBN describes itself as the world's largest Christian network.
    • May 25, 2017
  • What happens when only the 'deserving' poor get help? Reading for Arkansas.

    What happens when a state endeavors to make sure only the "deserving" poor get government assistance? Maine offers a lesson for Arkansas, in an article in The Atlantic.
    • May 25, 2017
  • GOP highway plan: More falling bridges and potholes

    Remarkable story in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette this morning. Two Republican members of the Republican-controlled legislature were quoted as saying "Bridges will have to collapse and major accidents occur on deteriorated roads before the Arkansas Legislature enacts laws to raise more money for highways."
    • May 25, 2017
  • More »

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Most Shared

  • Conspiracy theorists

    Back in 2000, I interviewed Rev. Jerry Falwell on camera in connection with a documentary film of "The Hunting of the President," which Joe Conason and I wrote.
  • Raw feelings in the Arkansas Justice Building over workload, pay

    Strained relations between the Arkansas Supreme Court and the Arkansas Court of Appeals broke into public view this week. I expect more to come.
  • Virgil, quick come see

    There goes the Robert E. Lee. But the sentiment that built the monument? It's far from gone.
  • Real reform

    Arkansas voters, once perversely skeptical of complicated ballot issues like constitutional amendments, have become almost comical Pollyannas, ratifying the most shocking laws.
  • The health of a hospital

    The Medicaid expansion helped Baxter County Regional Medical Center survive and thrive, but a federal repeal bill threatens to imperil it and its patients.

Latest in The Insider

  • All in the family

    Old habits die hard. We may have a new Republican majority in the legislature, but like the old Democratic majority, it still doesn't hurt to have a lawmaker spouse to land a part-time job during the legislative session.
    • Jan 30, 2013
  • 'Circuit breaker' legal

    When we first asked Gov. Mike Beebe about the "circuit breaker" idea out of Arizona (automatically opting out of Medicaid expansion if the feds reduce the matching rates in the future), he said it was fine but noted that states can already opt out at any time, an assurance he got in writing from the feds.
    • Jan 30, 2013
  • Church goes to school in Conway

    An interesting controversy is brewing in Conway Public Schools, periodically a scene of discord as more liberal constituents object to the heavy dose of religion that powerful local churches have tried to inject into the schools, particularly in sex education short on science and long on abstinence.
    • Jan 23, 2013
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Paddling the Fourche Creek Urban Water Trail

Paddling the Fourche Creek Urban Water Trail

Underutilized waterway is a hidden gem in urban Little Rock

Event Calendar

« »

May

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31  

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Profile of a plant

    • After having a persistent cough for over a year, I was diagnosed with COPD in…

    • on May 25, 2017
  • Re: Profile of a plant

    • NOTE: My treatment/solution to every problem don't have any negative side effects... you will be…

    • on May 25, 2017
  • Re: A long way to fall

    • Is all of this true?

    • on May 24, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation