Baltimore schools' pay for performance system won't work

Baltimore's new pay for performance model for teachers will be unsuccessful in improving student performance due to a serious built-in flaw: cut-throat competition ("Large number of city teachers receive unsatisfactory evaluations," Feb. 7). Americans may believe that "competition" makes this country great, but when it comes to education, competition among educators will cost the students dearly.

What incentive is there for me to help a new teacher learn the ropes or a veteran teacher to master new technology? The Baltimore model means that my colleagues succeed at my expense, and I at theirs.

Rather, I suggest that schools adopt what we are piloting in Boston. We have every adult in an underperforming school working as a team to improve student learning. If the students succeed, all the educators get a bonus. If not, no one does. This system rewards me for assisting both students and colleagues.

Cooperation is not only lucrative to Boston's teachers, it is also what we should teach the next generation of Americans.

Michael J. Maguire, Boston

The writer teaches at Boston Latin Academy.

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