As teachers in the United Kingdom prepare to initiate a strike, a recent poll from a think tank finds that teachers could accept performance pay but would need assurances over the system's fairness. While teachers who were surveyed overwhelmingly disapproved of merit pay, officials said teachers' responses to other questions show they could be swayed.
In New Zealand, which pays its teachers less than other high-performing nations, officials should consider doing away with incentives for educators and focus more on increasing teacher pay, writes columnist Tapu Misa. She cites research from the United Kingdom, which found that higher teacher pay could draw top graduates to the classroom and could boost the standing of the profession.
National Board Certified Teacher Patrick Ledesma writes in this blog post about a new open badge ecosystem similar to one developed by Mozilla that he believes could be used in education. Allowing students to earn and share online badges to showcase and track their accomplishments could be an innovative way to measure student achievement without relying on standardized testing, he writes. However, low-income students might be at a disadvantage and badges are not as simple and easy for the public to grasp as test scores, Ledesma writes.
Federal stimulus money for education -- and the strings attached to it -- have put an increased focus on school data systems. An Edutopia article says states looking to improve their data usefulness should strive for effective analysis tools, suggesting a system similar to those at some districts that offer early warnings about students at risk of dropping out. The result of data-reform efforts could be a future when teachers receive a class roster accompanied by digital portfolios containing the academic history of each of their students.
Wachovia and other banks have started innovative programs to persuade Americans to start saving money. What's in it for the banks, other than good PR? "Unless you keep your cost very efficient or charge massive fees," says Harvard professor Peter Tufano, "the economics of providing savings programs for low- to moderate-income families are not all that great."