Rebooting Schools

Reboot Our Schools – In July, leaders of the cash-starved Chicago Public Schools reluctantly returned $34 million in federal grant money targeted to develop a merit pay system for public school teachers. CPS officials had no choice. The federal money came with strings attached: CPS needed Chicago Teachers Union buy-in to develop the merit pay system. CTU President Karen Lewis refused. “We don’t believe in merit pay,” she said.

The pilot project — designed to help teachers improve their classroom performance and boost student academic growth — collapsed. What a colossal waste. And what a terrible setback for CPS students. Yes, students. Because merit pay is a prime way to reward the best teachers and keep them in the classroom, where they boost student achievement. That’s why the Tribune is disturbed to hear reports from the front lines that merit pay is off the table.

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