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Why Did Miller Include Merit Pay In His Draft?

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If you're not already sick of the NEA-Miller story, there's a new Klein-Hoff EdWeek piece up online today that fleshes out some of the events of the past week. Included are not only the whole he-said, she-said about the TEACH Act language that you probably already know, but also some interesting tidbits like how the NEA made sure to have folks from each of the House ed committee members' districts at the Monday hearing, the toe-the-NEA-line responses of some Dem House members about the issue.

That leaves two questions: Why did Miller include the merit stuff in the first place, and what's going on between the NEA and CTA? I don't know if Miller had to include the merit pay stuff to have any chance of McKeon's support, or for other reasons. But fighting the merit pay thing and revamping the AYP system at the same time (and comparability) continues to seem to me to be biting off more than necessary. Or I'm missing something -- Miller puts in the merit pay stuff just to give something for the NEA folks to focus on, hoping to preserve the standards and accountability provisions. Let me know if you've got it figured out.

1 Comment

It appears Miller included the merit proposal as an attempt at distraction to the accountabiliy component. While I am embarrassed at the MTA's overll posture on NCLB (forced to be a member for 34 years as a Massachusetts public school teacher) Weaver does have a point (not often). Merit pay should be negotiated district by district to ensure fairness and acceptance of local teachers. On the other side of the coin; what teacher, worth anything, would hesitate to be evaluated on the test performance(s) of their students? Are there parents out there who would want their child in the classroom of a teacher reluctant to be part of merit-pay? Merit-pay, if calculated on the percentage gain or loss of a student's progress would be fair. If a student is deemed "low" then any improvement in their performance is going to look good percentage wise on a test score. Many kids considered "low" are low for extraneous reasons: attendance, attitude, not studying for tests, homework, etc. If teachers can romance these kids into performing, their scores are going to improve exponentially because they CAN do the work. Teachers of these kids would have to be more teachers/counselors than cognitive providers. Standards and accountability are well on their way to acceptanc with the exception of "multiple measures." Everyone now accepts standards as part of the landscape but "multiple measures" would effectively foreclose hope for the target cohort of this legislation - the low and low average kids. Too many of the "multiple measures" (graduation rates, dropout rates, college attendance records, portfolios, essays, etc.), are too subjective, and worse too easily compromised. If the committee caves to the NEA on these variables it would be a MONUMENTAL mistake, one that would jeopardize the integrity of the legislation. The CTA are more sincere and genuine in caring about the students they work with while the NEA has demonstrated all too often they have other priorities on their agenda - power, their influence/say in the Democrat's agenda (on everything), and themselves. They are a very myopic, transparent, and insincere group while the CTA has lately demonstrated a genuine caring about the kids they work with.

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