Teacher bonuses don’t reflect teacher performance

By Andrew Pillow

Back in December, controversy arose around the Indiana teacher bonus pay structure. The fact Carmel Clay Schools teachers received $2,422 in bonus pay, while Indianapolis Public School teachers received $128 per teacher, led some to question rather or not the bonus structure favored wealthier districts.

Supporters of the structure said that the bonus pay rewarded good teachers.

But according to WFYI, the bonuses do not align with teacher quality but are in fact, are a function inequalities faced by the school.

“Each year, the state allocates millions of dollars in bonuses to Indiana’s highest rated teachers. But the don’t all get the same amount of money. This year, some got $2,500 dollars, and others $0. These allocations come from a formula, created by the legislature. It’s mainly based on test scores. So if most of a teacher’s students pass the ISTEP+, the teacher gets a higher bonus. If many students fail, that affects the teacher’s bonus.
This past year, ISTEP+ scores dropped across the state, so the bonuses were even smaller. And the teachers in school districts where families have more money, few students live in poverty, and most of them are native English speakers without special education needs, they received the most money.
Peacock received a $47 bonus, despite being rated highly effective by her principal and facing a lot of challenges in her classroom.”

Teacher compensation was already a controversial issue. This is not likely to help.

Read more here. (WFYI)


Andrew Pillow

Andrew is a technology teacher at KIPP Indy College Prep. He is graduate of the University of Kentucky and a Teach for America Alum. Andrew just recently finished his commitment as a Teach Plus Policy fellow, and he is looking forward to putting the skills he's learned to good use. Andrew has written for several publications in the past on a wide variety of topics but will be sticking to education for his role on Indy/Ed.