Research News

Performance pay for teachers topic of national conference at Vanderbilt University Feb. 28-29

[Note: Media interested in attending the conference should contact Cate Gardner at (615) 322-7630 or]

Paying teachers based on their performance in the classroom is a trend gaining momentum across the United States. But does it work? The complex issues surrounding that question will be the topic of a national conference, “Performance Incentives: Their Growing Impact on American K-12 Education,” hosted by the National Center on Performance Incentives at Vanderbilt University Feb. 28-29. The conference will be held at the Marriot Nashville at Vanderbilt University.

The conference is currently sold out; however, video of portions of the conference will be available online after the event at

“At this conference we will work to identify the potential strengths and weaknesses of pay for performance policies and address key issues that have dominated the debate,” Matthew Springer, center director and research assistant professor of public policy and education at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of education and human development, said. “This conference will provide insight to inform policy, which is of great importance during an era that espouses research-driven practice and accountability.”

Randi Weingarten, president of the United Federation of Teachers, the nation’s largest union local with 201,486 members, will deliver the conference’s keynote address on Feb. 28 at 7:30 p.m. Weingarten is also a vice president of the American Federation of Teachers and of the New York City Central Labor Council, and heads up the city’s Municipal Labor Committee, an umbrella organization for 100-plus city unions.

In addition to Weingarten, the conference will feature other nationally recognized experts from institutions that include Vanderbilt’s Peabody College, Brown University, Duke University, the Economic Policy Institute, Harvard University, RAND Corporation, Texas A&M University, the United States Merit Systems Protection Board, University of Arkansas, University of Chicago, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, University of Missouri, University of Virginia School of Law, University of Washington and University of Wisconsin.

More information about the conference, including a complete list of speakers and a full agenda, is available at:

The National Center on Performance Incentives was created in 2006 with a five-year, $10 million grant from the United States Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences. The grant is a cooperative agreement between the Institute of Education Sciences, the U.S. Department of Education and Vanderbilt University. It is led by Executive Director James Guthrie, professor of public policy and education at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College, and Director Matthew Springer.

For more information on the National Center on Performance Incentives, visit For more information about Peabody College, visit For more Vanderbilt news, visit

Media Contact: Melanie Moran, (615) 322-NEWS