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Let’s Make a Deal

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Although professional actors, athletes and teachers commonly belong to unions, it always seems like actors and athletes are getting a better deal. What It’s Like on the Inside contemplates what it would be like to negotiate teacher salaries in the same fashion as the film and sports industries.

If you're a superstar teacher who gets results in student learning and achievement (however defined by the organization), why not have the ability to contract for a commensurate salary? Why should you be stuck at the same wage as a teacher who does little more than surf the net while kids fill out worksheets every day? Shouldn't school districts compete for the best talent they can get?

3 Comments

Where would the districts get the money? Plus, I don't think there are many teachers out there who surf the net all day while their students fill in worksheets.

If we study the history of Merit Pay for teachers, a concept which has been around for few hundred years, we see it has never worked. Why are we interested in repeating history?
A better idea is what I call ICAs: Individual College Accounts. $5K is placed in one time in ICA at birth.The ICA maturesas a Roth IRA does. If the child arrives at school reading ready the parents get $2k, if not, the school gets the $2K. When the child graduates high school a percentage of the matured funds goes to the college or trade school of the child's choice. The percentage is based on grades, behavior, and parental involvement.

Merit pay doesn't work in teaching for several reasons but not those above. First, merit pay assumes competent supervision and evaluation, something woefully lacking in just those schools which need it most. Second, merit pay means linking risk and reward, you get the tough assignment and you do it well for big bucks. In schools, the veteran teachers gravitate to easy assignments and the new teachers fight the tough fight all alone. No business in the world gives the hardest job to the person most likely to fail and then blames them, except education! No wonder the teacher drop out rate is so high. Shame on school boards, shame on principals, shame on veteran teachers.

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  • Ebasco: Merit pay doesn't work in teaching for several reasons but read more
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