How about a bonus for teaching more students?
The Florida Department of Education took advice from Bill Gates and his foundation when applying for its Race to the Top grant. The Hillsborough school district has tied itself to Gates with its initiative to improve teacher evaluations.
Anyone up for following Gates' position on class size? Here's what he had to say today in a Washington Post column:
"Perhaps the most expensive assumption embedded in school budgets - and one of the most unchallenged - is the view that reducing class size is the best way to improve student achievement. This belief has driven school budget increases for more than 50 years. U.S. schools have almost twice as many teachers per student as they did in 1960, yet achievement is roughly the same.
What should policymakers do? One approach is to get more students in front of top teachers by identifying the top 25 percent of teachers and asking them to take on four or five more students. Part of the savings could then be used to give the top teachers a raise. (In a 2008 survey funded by the Gates Foundation, 83 percent of teachers said they would be happy to teach more students for more pay.) The rest of the savings could go toward improving teacher support and evaluation systems, to help more teachers become great."
Many Florida educators have said that some teachers easily could deal with more students, while certain classes could benefit from even fewer. Does such a tradeoff of more kids for more money make sense? Let's hear it.