Note to Arne: Cash incentives NEVER work

So I don’t have a ton of time to write today — I’m sitting in an airport on the way home from Solution Tree’s Authorspeak conference and am about to board a flight home to my family — but I had to get something off of my chest:

I’m sick of simplistic #edpolicies built around the idea that teachers need cash incentives in order to produce.

The fact of the matter — as Daniel Pink argued convincingly in his Tuesday morning keynote presentation — is that the notion that cash incentives work in creative professions like education is nothing short of “American folklore.”

We like to believe it, right?

I mean, #jeez, we were literally RAISED on cash incentives.

My mom and dad called it an allowance!

But just because we like to believe something doesn’t make it true — and the truth as reported in study after study is that for anything that requires more than “rudimentary cognitive ability” cash incentives are ineffective and may actually lead to a poorer performance than in situations where incentives were never offered.

Check out this RSA Animate video to learn more:

So if this is all true — and I believe it is — then why in the WORLD is our federal education policy built around introducing cash rewards and merit pay into education?  Isn’t that just ANOTHER example of our tax dollars going to waste?

More importantly, if this is all true, why in the WORLD are we tolerating school-based behavior incentive programs like PBIS?  Isn’t it time that we start to rethink the kinds of “incentives” that we’re offering to teachers and students?

#justsayin

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Related Radical Reads:

Performance Pay Will KILL Our Schools

The TRUTH About Teacher Merit Pay Plans

The Unintended Consequences of Reward Programs in Schools

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