Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Merit Pay For Teachers

Merit pay is a touchy subject in education circles. This comment (to a post at Joanne's site) points out so many of the thorny issues besides simply "knowing" who's a good teacher and who isn't.

1 comment:

Dora Taylor said...

Merit Pay:

This is an issue that is closely associated with charter schools and is a reiteration of the No Child Left Behind Act.

Basically, it requires that teachers pay be based on how well their students perform on standardized tests. For our students, it could be the WASL or a similar test. With the No Child Left Behind Act, teachers and staff were pressured to teach much of the class work to the standardized tests. With so much focus on the test, many other parts of knowledge building, creativity and understanding of subjects and their synthesis with other knowledge had to take a back seat. For many students, teaching to a test meant that they were not able to reach their full potential which would have been far beyond the level of the tests.

No one wins in this situation.

Part of the fallout also is that if a teacher's pay is based on how well their students test, many teachers will want to teach in a school where they know that the students will perform better. Those schools are, for the most part, not the minority schools.

Some students do not perform well on standardized tests for many different reasons and yet a teacher's pay can be tied to that student's performance. High stakes testing also puts pressure and stress on the students who become burdened with the thought that they need to perform well on one test. The test becomes a focus with little opportunity to explore and have fun learning, creating and synthesizing new thoughts and ideas.

If we are to have merit pay in Seattle, it needs to be based on many factors and not just what is indicated on one standardized test.

For additional information, See:

http://seattle-ed.blogspot.com/