« Teaching Unplugged | Main | A New Yardstick »

Obama and Merit Pay

| 9 Comments

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama told members of the nation's largest teachers union this week that he supports the idea of merit pay for educators. In the prepared text for his speech at the National Education Association’s annual convention in Philadelphia, the Democratic presidential candidate said that teachers who excel at helping students raise their achievement, as well as those working in hard-to-staff schools and high-needs subject areas, should be rewarded extra. However, he noted that teachers’ performance should not be based “on some arbitrary test score.” “I want to work with teachers,” he assured the 9,000 NEA members gathered at the convention, many of whom are skeptical of the performance-pay initiatives. “I’m not going to do it to you. I’m going to do it with you.” Obama’s proposal reportedly received a smattering of applause.

9 Comments

Anyone who is excited about merit pay is in education for the wrong reason. Just as "it takes a village" to raise a child, it takes an entire school to educate one. Merit pay on any basis would weaken the unity of the school and in the end hurt the child. The system is already broken...I have worked in education for 30 years and have never seen so much emphasis on testing that counts so much and actually means so little. Everything is about the money, and we are forgetting that the children just need an education to succeed...not to bubble in answers on a test that has a passing score of 60%. If we award merit pay to those who are succeeding in standardized testing, does not everyone agree that those teaching to the test will get awarded while those just teaching skills for life will be left out? Teaching to the test is not preparing our students for a competitive future; in what area of life do we get to know the questions before we have to come up with a reasonable solution? Life comes at us hard and fast and we have to teach our students to think quickly and accurately, not to bubble in anwers so that a few of the teachers can get a merit pay raise. Our teachers are already discouraged and overworked. If the government institutes merit pay, that will be the death knell for the real educators and a meaningless victory for those teaching to the test.

The achievement gap is really the poverty gap. Merit pay holds teachers responsible for the difference in class by defining class differences by a test score and blaming teachers for the spread between rich and poor. Testing has its place but merit pay in tieing testing to class differences is a wrong-headed policy for making teaching an attractive profession or dealing with class in America.

The achievement gap is really the poverty gap. Merit pay holds teachers responsible for the difference in class by defining class differences by a test score and blaming teachers for the spread between rich and poor. Testing has its place but merit pay in tieing testing to class differences is a wrong-headed policy for making teaching an attractive profession or dealing with class in America.

I would encourage teachers to use this opportunity of politician's interest in education to come together to fight for what you DO believe needs to be done in schools. I agree with both Lea and Jim above: this proposal will not likely help anything. But, what will? You need to provide alternatives that politicians can jump on. My hope is for a program to actually improve all the facilities, which Britain is spending 3 billion pounds to do for every school over the next 10-15 years (http://www.bsf.gov.uk/bsf/), starting with the schools in worst condition first. This should help students in those poorer districts have an opportunity to learn in a respectable environment. In addition, these retrofits should be done with "High Performance" goals in mind: energy efficiency, noise reduction, proper daylighting, etc. If done this way, the updated building will cost much less to operate than the current ones and provide a better and healthier learning environment. One great source of information on High Performance School Buildings is http://www.chps.net/

I teach special ed. Test scores do not determine how good a teacher is nor does popularity. What happens to us? We work hard yet are not wizards of society...some things can't be changed! I think merit pay based on student performance is unfair!

Congressmen, presidents, and corporate types who want merit pay for teacher based upon growth measured by standardized testing should first have to be evaluated the same way. Oh, by the way, don't give them any choice of "input" or homogeniality.

Reward the whole school...YES...it takes a village..and that starts by having a school that works together to provide a community of learners, builders, and dreamers. It takes ALL of us to raise a child so let's rejoice together when WE succeed. Parents, students, teachers, support personnel, administrators, AND community members.

Not a new idea...but MERIT worthy!!

Reward the whole school...YES...it takes a village..and that starts by having a school that works together to provide a community of learners, builders, and dreamers. It takes ALL of us to raise a child so let's rejoice together when WE succeed. Parents, students, teachers, support personnel, administrators, AND community members.

Not a new idea...but MERIT worthy!!

Merit pay for educators is far too subjective. Teachers are not allowed to pick and choose the students in which they teach. Teachers cannot remove a student for underperforming. Too many outside influences, all of which are outside the control of a teacher, contribute to a students success or failure dependant on variables outside a teachers control. An excellent student one year could end up being an underperforming student the following year. If it was possible, teachers should be held to a quality of instructional performance standard, and not completely on the results which are far too subjective and do not reliably reflect the quality of the teacher.

Comments are now closed for this post.

Advertisement

Recent Comments

  • Eric N: Merit pay for educators is far too subjective. Teachers are read more
  • Michaela: Reward the whole school...YES...it takes a village..and that starts by read more
  • Michaela: Reward the whole school...YES...it takes a village..and that starts by read more
  • James Foos: Congressmen, presidents, and corporate types who want merit pay for read more
  • Lisa: I teach special ed. Test scores do not determine how read more

Archives

Categories

Technorati

Technorati search

» Blogs that link here