Roland Fryer proposes carrots and sticks to boost teacher performance

ENDOWED MOTIVATION: Roland Fryer has shown that monetary incentives are not as nearly as powerful as most would believe--especially when it comes to getting students to study harder. But what he and other Harvard researchers suggest may work when it comes to improving student outcomes has a bitter twist: offer teachers the carrot upfront and threaten to snatch it away if their (and presumably their students') performance don't improve. The study, published in the National Bureau of Economics Research, showed that student performance jumped 10 percent when their teachers were given a bonus at the beginning of the year (with strings attached). The underlying theory, according to TechCrunch, rests on the "endowment effect," which basically says that once you give people something, they'll be hellbent on keeping it. In a good-for-the-goose and the gander proposal, the thoughtful Barnett Berry at the Center for Teaching Quality suggests that economists should similarly have their pay docked if their work doesn't bolster the economy. Teachers--and entrepreneurs--what do you think?

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