September 10, 2007

Naïve Answers: "It Wasn't Supposed to Work that Way"

Analysis done by the Orlando Sentinel found that teachers at affluent Orlando-area schools were twice as likely to receive merit pay bonuses than teachers from schools that are predominately black and poor. The STAR (Special Teachers are Rewarded) Program has been replaced by the Merit Award Program (MAP), but union officials have "little confidence" that it will be more equitable.

The case of Orange, the fourth largest district in the state, exemplifies the issues: "In the 108 schools where one particular racial or ethnic group is in the majority, the bonuses favored teachers in white, wealthy schools. Orange's 61 other schools do not have a racial or ethnic majority, but the findings were similar. When blacks and Hispanics combined made up a majority, teachers in those schools were three times less likely to win bonuses than teachers in schools with larger populations of white students."