Brookings School Board president Steve Bayer initially thought Governor Dennis Daugaard's merit bonus plan for one fifth of South Dakota's K-12 teachers sounded like a good idea. Then he looked at the facts and changed his mind. In a public presentation January 30, Bayer countered the paucity of evidence given by the Governor for his proposal with evidence showing that merit pay does not work.

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Bayer criticizes the Governor's selective focus on a single factor in student achievement, teacher quality, and suggests reducing class sizes could provide just as much bang for the buck. Bayer also points out a correlation between our drop in NAEP rankings for student performance and a drop in our per-pupil spending rankings. Now you can say that spending more money doesn't automatically make students perform better, but if we're testing hypotheses, there's more evidence that our student performance and our funding effort are changing at the same time than there is that there has been any change in the quality of our teachers. And there's no evidence that any states rising above us in NAEP rankings have done so by adopting merit pay.

But why not listen to Bayer himself? Here's his January 30 presentation:

...and here's the Q&A session afterward:

...and here's the PDF of Bayer's slides. Share and enjoy!