Correspondence: Patashnik Reponds to Darling-Hammond


In my article, I wrote that Professor Darling-Hammond had "emphasized to the Concord Monitor that [Senator Obama's] teacher-compensation plan...wasn't really a performance-pay scheme." The Concord Monitor article shows that she was explicitly contrasting a performance-pay approach with Obama's: "Usually, merit pay meant some kind of bonuses for teachers at the end of the school year," she told the Monitor. "[Obama's plan] is more like what you would see with lawyers who move from associate to partner at a law firm." I am puzzled by her charge that I seem unaware that Obama cites the Denver teacher-compensation scheme as a model  for national reform. My article noted his frequent references to Denver and explained that they are part of the reason education-reform advocates are warm to his candidacy. Finally, my article did not "[paint] as absent from the debate" the other aspects of Obama's education platform Darling-Hammond mentions. I acknowledged that the platform contains a number of innovative ideas. The reformers I interviewed for the article, though, were unanimous in their sentiment that Obama's education plan, while encouraging in places, does not go as far as they would like.


Josh Patashnik
is a reporter-researcher at The New Republic.

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