Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What ever happened to pay-for-grades schemes in N.Y & Chicago

Disappearing Act

2008 was the year of pay-for-grades. Remember? It was the hottest idea, heavily touted by the Ownership Society entrupreneurial crowd and headline news in the mass media. Joel Klein spent $40 million on his market worshiping scheme in N.Y. schools. But a new study shows the program was a flop and is quietly being dropped. Accountability? Never with these guys. Exxon-Mobile pushed the program in Arkansas, Alabama, Connecticut, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Virginia and Washington. While in Chicago, Arne Duncan hailed the plan as a "leveling of the playing field." It didn't and now, the plan that made national headlines in 2008, has dropped off the radar screen.

Oh, and BTW, it's 2010. Where did Renaissance 2010 go?


  1. The Ferlazzo post linked headlines pay for higher test scores, not the pay-for-grades piloted in Chicago. And the program he mentions actually was cash rewards for a variety of small behaviors. Don't know what kind of results the CPS program for grades had.

    In any case, if the program is dropped after evaluations showing it wasn't effective, isn't that (at least the start of) good accountability? Clearly, there were problems with the program, and as with all incentive programs one needs to have a clear plan and process for how incentives are to be removed; but dropping it is better than continuing to spend money on it because it fits one's ideological biases, right?

  2. Anon,

    The pay-for-grades scheme was part of a larger strategy of paying poor people to go to the dentist, and other more demeaning forms of patronization. No, there is no accountability for the more that $40 million spent--much of it going, not to the needy, but to Harvard researchers, who are still collecting millions. Mayor Bloomberg was warned ahead of time that his plan was baseless. Where is any sign of aself-critical assessment of his diversion of badly needed funds away from the classroom?


Agree? Disagree? Let me hear from you.