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More Q Comp data needed to make decisions

After several reports emerged this week about Q Comp (Quality Compensation), it seems clear that a wait-and-see approach is best.

The program, which is voluntary for school districts in Minnesota, changes teacher pay from the traditional seniority system to one based on students' performance and evaluation of teachers.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty has continued to push the program, which was established at his request in 2005. He wants to require all schools to use the Q Comp program.

The findings from reports released this week haven't shown any clear correlation between implementing Q Comp and student achievement. Before requiring all schools to sign up for the program, more research should be done.

The Minnesota Department of Education released a report earlier this week that said "There is a significant and positive relationship between the number of years a school has been implementing Q Comp and student achievement." But there were no statistics to go with the results.

Auditors told legislators earlier this week that there was no proof the program is helping increase student achievement.

Until more research is done on the Q Comp program, it seems better to continue offering the program to schools that volunteer to participate. In a few more years, there should be more information available to make a more informed decision about the program.

Park Rapids Superintendent Glenn Chiodo is on the right track. In a recent Park Rapids Enterprise story, he said he is researching the program to see if it is an option for Park Rapids or not.

Rather than jumping into something that may seem like a good idea, the school district is taking its time.

There's certainly nothing wrong with that.

Besides, at this point, only 44 school districts, about 13 percent, are involved in the program and almost all in the Twin Cities area. Not every school has opted into the Q Comp program yet.

After more data is collected, the state can make a decision about requiring Q Comp on a wider basis. -- Park Rapids Enterprise