New York City public schools are performing so well according to the DOE's assessment that the performance bonuses earned by teachers is bursting the budget. With 97% of elementary and middle schools earning A's or B's in their annual grades from the Department of Education, yesterday it was revealed that such high marks meant the city would have to shell out $33 million in bonuses, almost twice last year's total despite a slimmer budget and two million over the program's budget before high schools are even accounted for. One education consultant told the News, "It's clear the bonuses are a complete waste, with the reading and math exams becoming easier and easier."

The bonuses that went out to school's receiving high marks average out to $3,000 a teacher. Principals and administrators at the top 20% of schools will also take in in $5.8 million in bonuses. The teacher's union says that they were flexible to scrapping the program with so many budget cuts coming rather than see other, more vital areas get slashes. TWU President Michael Mulgrew said, "I don't think [the bonuses] makes a difference. A teacher is always going to do what needs to be done."

The 2009 bonus total is an even bigger bite out of the budget when you factor in that last year's initial round of bonuses were funded by a private donor. The News says that the RAND Corporation is currently doing a study to assess whether Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and Mayor Bloomberg's grading and bonus program has been a success. A professor at Columbia's Teacher College told the Post, "The money went up solely because the test scores went up and we do have questions about whether those increases in test scores are legitimate."