Obama to Push Merit Pay for Teachers in Schools Plan

Prez to push teacher merit pay, lower dropout rates
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Mar 10, 2009 7:42 AM CDT
Amanda Cedeno, left to right, Kayla Richardson and Antoinette Wicks eat breakfast at their school desks during homeroom at Lorain Southview High School on Friday, Jan. 23, 2009, in Lorain, Ohio.   (AP Photo/David Richard)
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(Newser) – In a speech today before the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, President Obama will lay out his plan for American schools, reports the Wall Street Journal. Most controversially, the president aims to expand merit pay for teachers, a measure that Democratic teacher unions are traditionally leery of. If teachers develop new skills, he said last summer, “that work can be valued and rewarded.”

The president will emphasize teacher performance more generally, including recruitment, mentoring, and “new processes to remove ineffective teachers.” He’s pushing for more charter schools, and challenging states to cut dropout rates. In his recent speech to Congress, Obama declared that high-school dropouts fail their country, not just themselves. And for kids who make it to college, Obama wants Pell grants to be in easier reach.