"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Research Behind Eli's Merit Pay

It's no secret that Eli Broad and his philanthrocapitalists pals view merit pay schemes as one of the primary tools for "improving" American schools. Eli even paid to have a number of pro-merit pay studies published in late 2008. Who'd Eli pick to conduct such studies? The State Policy Network, an ultra-conservative group of free-market think tanks (from the "about" page):
SPN's programs enable these organizations to better educate local citizens, policy makers and opinion leaders about market-oriented alternatives to state and local policy challenges.
And, right from the Broad Foundation's website, here's the little announcement about Eli's support of Milton Friedman-loving fundamentalists:
The Broad Foundation supported the creation of six policy papers on performance-based and differential pay, as well as research showcasing events by State Policy Network members. Those members include: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Cascade Policy Institute, John Locke Foundation, Pioneer Institute, Texas Public Policy Foundation, and the Maine Heritage Policy Center. These research papers will be published and showcasing events will be held in fall 2008.
Randall Pozdena, a viciously anti-union, global climate change denying, free-market fundamentalists conducted the "research" for CPI and Broad, research which was little more than rehashing his tried-and-failed market-based reforms, all, conveniently, aligned with Eli's desires for competition, choice, and anti-union policies. Pozdena, of course, has the mind of an economist and knows absolutely nothing about K-12 schools, teaching, or pedagogy. He assumes - as does Eli - that ever human institution should function as a business entity; part of this logic, of course, is aligned tightly with small government fanatics, neocons, and right-wingers hell-bent on bashing unions and any public institution. You can read the Eli/Randall manifesto, "Paying for Performance to Improve K-12 Student Achievement," but you're better off checking out Susan Higgins' The Broad Report.

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