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Merit Pay for Teachers? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Bribe!

COMING SOON?

And you know they would! ūüôā Merit pay, how realistic is it that our pay could actually be tied to test scores? Very realistic!

What is merit pay?  Noun :extra pay awarded to an employee on the basis of merit (especially to school teachers)

What “think tank” thought up this idea, maybe the same one that stated that smaller class size doesn’t matter? I am amazed by what people (non-educators) come up with in order to hold teachers “accountable.” Or is it to make sure that the “better” teachers get what they deserve? No matter the reasoning behind this premise, it is ridiculous! ¬† I know it probably sounded like a good idea, but it is difficult to come up with criteria in the education field that would allow this idea to work.

Tie our pay to test scores? Are all students equal? I don’t think so. If that was the case, why would we need differentiated instruction? If Teacher A works ¬†in a school with struggling students and Teacher B works in a school with high achievers, does that make Teacher B a teacher who is deserving of merit pay, and Teacher A is not?

If Teacher A and B engage their students, and provide ample opportunities for their students to learn, but Teacher B has enough students that pass the test, does this mean Teacher B is a better teacher?

Or what if Teacher B does nothing but teach to the test, while Teacher A works to establish a well-rounded student?  Is Teacher B going to get paid more if more of his/her students pass?

I believe that most teachers are dedicated, hard-working people, who don’t need to be “bribed” to do their job. Teachers don’t do what they do for money, that is obvious from the salaries we make. ¬†I partially agree with¬†Arne Duncan, teachers should be paid up to $150,00. But pay them for all that they do, not because their students scored high enough on a test!

“The Teacher and the Politician” – NCLB and RTT

This¬†“conversation” takes place over a¬†period of ¬†years. The politician represents all politicians(any party) and the teacher represents all teachers (those who are affected by these ridiculous ideas our politicians and CEOs’¬†come up with.)

Politician: (Talking to a teacher) I have this great idea. It’s called NCLB, No Child Left Behind, sounds good right? No Child Left Behind, every child can and will learn. Like it?

Teacher: Hmmm, it sounds like a good idea, what does it mean?

Politician: Well, (stroking chin), it means no child will be left behind. It means we’re going to test the hell, I mean, heck out of those kids, and by golly, they will become really, really, smart!

Teacher: I don’t think testing them is going to make them really smart, as a matter of fact, all it will do is create a nation of test takers.

Politician: Hmmm, I never thought of that. (Waves hand) We’ll look into that. But (pointing finger), in the meantime, here are the consequences if a measurable amount of students in your school don’t pass these tests.

Teacher: Consequences?  I thought you said you would look into it.

Politician:  We will, we will. If your school does not show measurable growth, we will notify the public that your school sucks. Did I say sucks? I meant that your school is horrible.

Teacher: Are you serious?¬† If our students don’t pass one test, our school, no matter how well we have been doing, will be judged according to those test¬†scores?¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†

Politician: Yes, how else will the public know what schools are crappy?¬† We’ll post your school scores¬†in the paper, to make sure you are properly humiliated, and, just to make sure we’re helping¬†the students, we will fire all the teachers and administrators. And here’s the plus, the parents can move their kids out of the crappy schools and put them in Save Our Schools March & National Call to Actionthe better schools.

Teacher:  Better, as in test score better? (shakes head) Let me say if I got this right. You are going to humiliate a school, fire staff, and have parents move their students to another school,  based on one test score?

Politician: Yes, we are going to hold you teachers accountable! You have gotten away with doing nothing for our children for far too long!

Teacher:     What about Special Education students? Or non-English speaking students? Will they take the same test?

Politician:   And why not?  Why should they be left behind? 

Teacher: You do realize there are far too many factors that affect a students’ ability to learn and function in a classroom that would enable us to say “No Child Left Behind?” And what do you think is going to¬†happen to critical thinking? differentiated instruction? gifted and talented programs? ¬†special education? the arts? Recess? Field trips? Do you realize that schools will only focus on testing?

Politician: Hmmmm, never thought of that. Oh well, we’ll work on it. How about if I give you more money than other teachers in your school if your kids do better? It’s called Merit pay. No? (Years go by) Hey, I have a new idea, it’s called, you ready? Race to the Top! Like it?

Teacher:¬†¬†¬† What does it mean? Who’s racing to the top?

Politician:   It;s a competition among states, vying for millions of  federal money to throw at any education problems you have. The states with the most points out of 500, will win the money!

Teacher:      And we can do whatever we need to do with the money?

Politician:¬†¬† Of course you can! As long as you follow the federal governments rules AND you keep testing your students. It’s a win-win situation!

Teacher:¬†¬†¬† But it’s been proven, again and again, standardized testing doesn’t work! Throwing money at schools doesn’t work! Education reform designed by non-educators doesn’t work! Aaargh! (Tearing at hair)

Politician:¬†¬†¬† Oh by the way, we’ve decided you teachers have too much power. We’re taking away your collective bargaining power.

Teacher:     @#$^&*!

Politician:¬†¬†¬† And, the economy is really bad now, so we all have to make sacrifices. We’re increasing class sizes.

Teacher:     *&^%$!

Politician:¬†¬†¬† I don’t think that language is necessary,ok listen,¬†we have another solution. ¬†If you go along with Arne Duncan’s vision, we will waive some of the rigorous¬†requirements of NCLB. How’s that sound?

Teacher:¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Jump from the frying pan into the fire? How is that better?¬† Why aren’t you listening to us?

Politician:    We are listening. (starts to walk away)

Teacher:       Good luck to your kids who are in public school!

Politician: (Chuckles)¬† Are you kidding me?¬† My kids don’t go to public school!

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