Merit Pay or Bust

President Obama has reiterated his feeling that merit pay is needed to improve education.

At least he’s consistent.

He said the same thing when addressing the NEA when I attended the NEA-RA last summer in Washington D.C., and he has been saying he’s an advocate of merit pay for years.

I am right now not a proponent of merit pay simply because no one has shown me a system which is can be used fairly and objectively. Test scores are not a good measure, and administrator recommendations seem biased at best.

I don’t have an answer right now, and even as a “union guy” I’m open to listening to ideas. If someone comes up with a means of merit pay, which I believe is fair and avoids simple bias I could be persuaded.

My biggest beef with the notion of merit pay is that too many people hang their hats on the idea that less effective teachers can’t be eliminated from the system. To me, this is a false argument. Administrators can get rid of teachers they do not perceive as effective, but I have not met one who has taken the time to follow the steps (even when we had a blatant alcoholic skipping days and arriving under the influence). This is a major failing in education in my opinion, and I don’t understand it.

Granted, the process for firing a teacher can be long and allows teachers to improve, but isn’t this what we want? Teachers should be forced to improve. If they can’t, they should go. And merit pay isn’t going to solve this.

3 thoughts on “Merit Pay or Bust

  1. Betty

    Our district implemented merit pay years ago in a system called the Career Ladder. It was awful. Teachers seldom shared ideas, memorized canned lessons, and fretted about their status on the ladder. There were a lot of hurt feelings. I’m not sure there is a fair way to hand out merit pay.

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