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February 08, 2005

Comments

Jason

Excellent point. It's really amusing how those opposed to merit pay can never seem to muster a cogent argument against it - they just seem to fall back on either personal attacks or a fuzzy idea that "it just can't be done fairly".

More and more I'm realizing (or rather, I find vindication) that just about everything you read regarding schools and education - every problem, every issue to be debated, every difference between schools and funding - can be simplified to a differentiating factor that would give schools competitive advantages over other schools if we could ever get the federal and state DOEs out of the business of education.

As a parent, if you'd rather your child's teachers were paid by seniority, there would be schools that did that; if you'd rather your child's teachers were paid by merit using a published formula utilizing any number of measures, there would be schools that did that. Don't like the formula your school uses to determine teacher merit? There's another school with a different formula that would be more to your liking. Don't like the fact that your school has Coke and snack machines on campus? There's another school that doesn't. Does your son want desperately to be a star lacrosse player but your school doesn't have a lacrosse team? Bet there's a school that does. The examples are infinite but sadly, most are impossible under the existing federal and state DOEs.

Critic

There are some great arguments against merit pay in education, but most of them arise from the fact that educators, local districts, and local teachers' unions would inevitably take good intentions and turn them into tragically ineffective systems. Kind of like workers' comp reform after the lawyers are done with it, or tax simplification after it's been run through the business lobby meatgrinder.

What's always been fascinating about teachers' unions is that they rarely support any of the initiatives that would result in better education. They'll willingly accept overcrowded classes for higher pay, tolerate incometent colleagues, and willingly subject new teachers to low salaries so that pay for teachers with seniority and meaningless advanced credentials are constantly increased.

This is just a semi-transparent ploy by the Governor to attack the unions as part of his plan to renege on his previous funding formula for education.

redperegrine

"There are some great arguments against merit pay in education, but most of them arise from the fact that educators, local districts, and local teachers' unions would inevitably take good intentions and turn them into tragically ineffective systems."

Well this is cynicism to the Nth degree. What do we do? Let the system continue to wallow in its own culture of incompetence just because it's too selfish and politically powerful to reform? Yikes.

Not Today

Check out what the Fullerton School District has done with merit pay. They began with their Superintendent and moved down the line. It is a huge advantage for that district and has helped to clean up their act. Before shooting down the idea, everyone should see the success stories about merit pay.

concerned

I think when you pay a teacher based on what their student do on a state test you are assuming that the six hours that are spent with them a day makes a difference. How about focusing on the rest of the day, spent at home with the parents, what happens with those left over eighteen hours. Are parents not responsible for their children? Why cant we hold them accountable for their children not doing well in school? You can drill information into a kids head for six hours a day but if ma and pa turn on the cartoons when they get home then all that education is wasted. If education is not supported at home it may not matter how well a teacher is doing.

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