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Making Dallas Even Better

Miles’ Plan to Tie Teachers’ Pay to Performance Plays Well With North Dallas Business Types

DISD Superintendent Mike Miles was the keynote speaker this morning at the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce’s annual Education Forum. After detailing the progress of the 10 goals he set for the district when he took over nearly a year ago, Miles discussed a new initiative: With teachers’ help, he wants to create an evaluation system that ties educators’ compensation to their students’ achievement. He said 450 teachers are supposed to gather at Adamson High School on Monday to help craft such a system.

But Miles said he won’t bring such a system to the Board of Trustees if an underway survey doesn’t show that the community supports the idea of basing teachers’ paychecks on kids’ grades and test scores. “I’ve been through this before,” Miles said. “If the community doesn’t want it, it won’t work.”

The portion of the community that had just finished breakfast at the Doubletree on Central seemed to want it. The man sitting to my left, Bob Trice, punctuated a couple of Miles’ statements on the topic with “amen.” So I asked Trice if such a system had proven successful in his field.

“I work in insurance,” he said with a laugh. “What do you think?” Trice then went on to compare himself to a theoretical colleague: “If he brings in $100,000 worth of business to our company, and I bring in $1 million, which one of us should get paid more? I mean, duh.” Indeed.

  • Edward

    Yeah… “Duh”.

    Exactly why businesspeople shouldn’t be running schools.

    If you are selling insurance, you get to pick your clients, pick from a variety of different products to sell, etc.

    If you are a teacher, you don’t get to pick which students you have, don’t have a choice in whether those students ate that morning or had a safe place to do their homework, etc. – unless they are teaching in a charter school that get to kick out low-performing students at their whim.

    Of course teachers who aren’t doing their jobs should be let go, but you simply can’t compare manufacturing widgets or selling insurance to teaching. If every one of those people at that breakfast spent one day in a school, they would have completely different perspective.

  • billholston

    you speak truth Edward.

  • Alexander Muse


    Are you opposed to the concept of rewarding high performance and punishing subpar performance? Your argument against pay for performance is not really negative about the idea, but simply the execution. What if we could control for differences in students? Do you have any suggestions? How do we measure teachers? How do we find the good ones to celebrate and the bad ones we need to rehabilitate? Do you have any ideas?

  • Dubious Brother

    Edward – the next crazy idea I expect you to post is that we can’t expect the same outcome for each student that enters the classroom because they have different abilities, environments, expectations ….. the students need to form a union.

  • Harvey Lacey

    If anyone would know about good teachers it would be Bill. He eats, sleeps, and parties with one of the best.

  • Harvey Lacey

    People who are good in business invariably are terrible teachers.

    Look what they’ve done to jobs. They’ve made them where any idiot can do the job. Of course those same job creators are surprised when all only idiots will work for them.

    I’m luckier than most in that I still get to interact with nature a bit more than the average person. (Yesterday I marveled at the birth of a fawn and howled with hens experiencing laying first egg for instance.) We are given natural teachers. Most of them don’t fit in the current business model for schools, nature of the beast, box thinking and all of that. Good teachers can’t operate in the system as it is now designed. What does succeed in that system is lousy teachers. Our kids end up in the worst of all worlds.

  • Harvey Lacey

    Teaching is subjective and about the individual. We should acknowledge that. Most of us do by the way, for our own kids, but for everyone else’s not so much. One of the biggest problems with kids of all ages today is they are being rote trained and science is showing us that is the we teach and not the way we learn.

    I have real issues with in the box thinking. If my mind has corners they are well rounded. Because of that I see the idiocy of education begging for out of the box thinking they can package in a box. That’s something else we need to acknowledge, out of the box doesn’t mean a different shaped box.

    Education should be designed around the way we learn and not the way we teach. That is more difficult because the way we learn is individualized. But look at all the brain power we waste by denying the bulk of our kids the opportunity to learn and think to their potential.

    The solution is very simple if we want to make this planet a better place. We let teachers teach and watch business types a lot more closely.

  • Joyce Foreman

    The community does not trust Mike Miles, and we do not trust any survey that comes from 3700 Ross Avenue.

    Why is the board not evaluating Miles on the same data that he used to demote, force to retire and non-renew teachers and principals? There is a $200,000 bonus for him and thousands for his top administrators on the table. Silly me it’s only taxpayer money.

  • AmyS


  • Holly Golvach

    Where are the parents in this conversation? Sure, performance evals and pay are correlative, but can’t we also use appraisals from the COMMUNITY, the ones who pay for the teachers? Students should evaluate teachers, parents should evaluate teachers…and then poor performance isn’t as weighted with “how much they cost”….