Bend teachers against test-based bonuses

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BEND, Ore. — The teacher’s union in the Bend-La Pine school district is opposing a proposal that would give bonuses to educators based on student test scores.

The school district’s proposal is for teachers at nine schools that are ineligible to receive bonuses through the federal Teacher Incentive Fund grant program, which 18 schools in the district do qualify, the Bulletin reported.

“Teachers will say the incentives for student test scores is not something that is an effective way to make teaching better,” said Bend Education Association President Mark Molner. He stressed that teachers strongly support professional development and improving their craft.

The district wants a value-added academic measure which is intended to predict how every tested student should perform on state reading and math tests, taking into account student characteristics like demographics, mobility and socio-economic status.

Among other reasons, district officials say the proposal is also intended to address the perceived unfairness that the educators at those schools are unable to receive financial bonuses, unlike their peers in other schools.

The goal of the measure is to look at how well students perform beyond what’s expected.

The federal program provides funding for incentives to teachers at top-performing schools.

The district proposal would provide up to $100,000 in general fund money for potential payouts to educators at the nine schools that aren’t getting federal dollars, but are still participating in the same school improvement efforts.

Under the proposal, schools would be eligible for varying payouts based on performance in math and reading.

There would be three levels with varying payouts: exceptional growth, high growth and above-average growth.

Schools without adequate growth wouldn’t receive any bonuses.

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