In Gov. Pawlenty's budget, he has increased funding of his project of compensating teachers based on their performance and the performance of their students. The program is called Q-Comp. It has only been around for three years on a voluntary basis. School districts can voluntarily choose to become part of the program and receive increased funding from the State. So far, 44 school districts and 28 charter schools have implemented the Q-Comp program. But under the new budget, the program would become mandatory for all Minnesota school districts. Q-Comp has had some success in promoting increased teacher education and mentoring in addition to boosting funding to schools.
However, expanding the program has met resistance from some officials and lawmakers. Many contend there is too little data on Q-Comp effect on student performance. The Minnesota Department of Education funded an independent audit of the program by Hezel Associates , LLC. The result was a mixed review. The review found success in teacher training but was unable to come to a conclusion on whether student performance increased. The big question is will Q-Comp be effective in increasing student performance in schools that have consistently lagged behind in test scores? Is this a real solution to the programs of many under performing schools? The jury is still out.
Audit: Q Comp effect on student performance inconclusive
There are even some questions as to the implementation of the performance based program. A review by the Star Tribune of 22 school districts participating in the Q-Comp planned showed of the 4200 teachers in the program, only 27 were not receiving merit pay status. How does a program which is supposed to reward teachers who are better performing, reward most teachers instead? The implementation of the Q-Comp program seems to be a blanket reward for participating. Why not just increase education funding without program participation strings attached?
On Sunday, the Star Tribune reported that in its survey of 22 school districts that were using Q Comp, all but 27 of the roughly 4200 teachers participating in the program received "merit" pay raises.