Atlanta, Dallas, D.C. – A Predictable Result When Using Incentives in Education

The cheating continues for those with incentive programs to get higher scores when testing students.  I hate to say I told you so . . . but I told you so.  Tying test scores to performance opens the door to cheating, people will do what they need to survive in  a bad system.  Administrators and teachers alike are doing the best they can in these poorly conceived systems of education.

My home state, Indiana, just pushed through education (without knowledge) to tie teachers pay and performance to test scores.  Governor Daniels and State Superintendent Tony Bennett, here is the predictable result that you have set up by the system you just put in place.  Political ideology over knowledge creates bad systems.  With great irony . . . ignorance reigns over education.

The response of government will be more oversight to find the criminals, and therefore, more cost to implement these programs.  Here is why we have overspending in government.  A cycle of damaging legislation without knowledge and then costly oversight to find cheaters.  While the “high ethic” Governors can wash their hands of responsibility believing that just a few bad apples are the problem.  NO!  The problem is the ridiculous system you just put in place.

Performance doesn’t come down to the individual, it comes down to the system they work in.  This is true for teachers, workers, management, administrators and yes . . . even a Governor.  If we are going to stamp out costs and balance the budget at the state, federal or local level there needs to be less ignorance and more knowledge about what drives performance.

We have started this country down a worse path in education because of wrong theories.  Education will be the only way out, but we need theories that work.

Tripp Babbitt is a speaker, blogger and consultant to service industry (private and public).  His organization helps executives find a better way to make the work work.  Read his articles at Quality Digest and his column for  Download free from “Understanding Your Organization as a System” and gain knowledge of systems thinking or contact us about our intervention services at  Reach him on Twitter at LinkedIn at

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