Should teacher pay be based on merit? If so, how should merit be determined?
No. The price of ANYTHING is the lowest price that the person paying will agree to and the highest price that the person selling will agree to.
In fact, it's not even really that - it's really just "the amount of money agreed upon by the parties involved to be traded in exchange for a good or service"
Teachers are no different than McDonald's employees, Bank CEOs, newspaper journalists, computers, refrigerators, or even staplers in this one regard.
Just like any job to have to gain experience to make more money. Teaching is no different. The more experience you have the more responsibility you likely have in the school so getting more money should come with that. However, I do think there should be more bonues and incentives for teachers based on performance regardless of the number of years of employment.
Explain "merit" applied to teaching? Isn't a teachers ability to deviate from curriculum pretty limited?
Yes, ed., a teacher has limited ability to deviate from curriculum, but what happens when teaching that curriculum can run the gamut. Let's face it - Teachers vay in their ability to teach, just as students vary iin their ability to learn.
You seem to have two threads with the identical question........
In Chinese Universities the students vote on their teachers and put in a report - if you don't cut it you get fired.
The principle of the students deciding merit (in some way) is the best indicator, every other party has some vested interest in what they think is good teaching or toeing thte party or religious line.
Alternate poet, one problem with students voting on their teachers, at least in secondary schools in the U.S., is that many teenagers would tend to vote on the "easier" teachers, the ones who give them the highest grades for the least amount of effort. Many times students don't realize which teachers taught them the most until years after they have graduated.
Of course - and if this was the only factor it would be useless, but when it is only one piece of the teachers 'credibility' it works ok. And it helps get rid of all those ancient, dogmatic, boring, self obsessed teachers who nobody has the courage to tell they are rubbish at their jobs
Good Day mysterylady89
Let's really examine the question. Should teacher pay be based on merit? If so, how should merit be determined?
First of all I assume we're talking about public school teachers. Public school teachers are government employees -- state government employees. They are public sector workers. I think its important to say that at the outset.
"Merit." Where does this word and its underlying concept, as applied to public education, come from? The "merit" idea comes from the private for-profit sector, the world of business. This may not be the place to say this but the whole neoliberal movement that arose, in America, in the 1970s, had many economic and social/cultural consequences.
These social and cultural consequences manifested themselves most strikingly in the eighties, the era of Ronald Reagan, the "Me generation." It was Reagan who famously said "Government is not the answer to our problems. Government is the problem." This was the decade when we witnessed government turn on itself (by its own leaders) most violently and the public was encouraged most effectively to blame government for all our ills -- completely ignoring the central role of private concentrated economic power, in my opinion.
Now, public school teachers are part of government. Those of you who are old enough will remember the following: there was a saying in the eighties "Those who can't teach." Remember that? What did this mean?
This meant that those who couldn't "hack it" in the glorious "business world," resorted to teaching. Teaching began to be seen as the refuge of the incompetent. I would submit that a lot of discussion comes from this idea that teaching was not thought to be a "real job."
Now, this neoliberal movement also had the cultural effect of holding up the allegedly logical, efficient, streamlined business sector as the model which every sector of society, including government should strive to emulate. It was thought that government should emulate business, with its alleged concern for balanced budgets and so forth.
Business was alleged to be based on a performance or "merit" model. Every time there was a fiscal/economic crisis the conservative think tanks were always saying the cause was: too much government intervention in the private sector, too much spending on social provision or what they call "entitlements," too high a tax burden on business, etc, etc.
Here is my point. The public sector and the private sector are not the same (if you happen to think they are or should be treated the same, that's one thing); but in my opinion they are not the same. The public sector and private sector have different aims and objectives (or they really should!). They have different purposes, and so on. Therefore they should not be evaluated in the same way.
I don't think public school teachers should be evaluated on similar "bottom line" yardsticks as corporate officers. We might mention, in passing, that this recent crisis we are passing through - like all financial meltdowns and resulting economic recessions - shows once again that the corporate world, as a whole, are not worthy of emulation even by their own nominal, professed standards. Therefore they should not be emulated and we might begin by taking the discussion of education out of that "bottom line" paradigm. Also, what we have come to learn or be reminded of is that when we are made aware, in a vague, general way, of the "bottom line" data of the business world, these are often manipulated -- making the act of trying to ascertain the true health of a company problematic.
I don't think corporate "merit" should be applied to public school teachers (test scores). Remember, a corporation can and does choose its employees, "the best and brightest," and so forth -- people who, on paper anyway, show all the promise of being "strong performers." Public schools do not choose their students. They take anyone who comes through the door -- as it should be -- with all of their problems of class, family problems, neighborhood, etc.
lengthy post there winged. I would share your feeling that all the anti-government sentiment makes it difficult for government to do something and that despite this myth of business efficiency we still have economic melt downs.
As far as "holding teachers accountable" I think test scores are a terrible way to judge merit of teachers if only test scores are used. Some combination of test scores and the above mentioned voting process combined with some other measures might be a better idea.
I think teacher's unions get too much flak because they were formed to have some method of protecting teachers from being arbitrarily. The truth is that attempting to fire teachers will lead to false positives (good teachers not acknowledged by the tests).
So I guess my point is that we need everyone at the table when discussing education, since it is so essential to society
Starv., you are so right when you say test scores alone would be a terrible way to judge a teacher's merit. Although this may be an unpopular view these days, people do vary in intelligence -- some kids learn easily while some have immense difficulties. You can add to that home life and many other factors.
I can see a person who could be a superior teacher put into the wrong situation where she would be a complete dud and a "teacher drop-out."
wc, I think you make so many valid points, one of which is the education system does not choose those whom it must try to teach. We must see a difference between the public and the private.
And yes, I have heard many times, "Those who can , do; those who can't, teach. I, too, disagree.
Teachers can never be paid for what they actually do. In most cases they see our children more than we do.
Teachers are molding our children into the people they will become. Of course they deserve a lot more than what they get!
Firefighters and police are also way underpaid. I just want to say THANK YOU! to all of them. They do what they do because they want to! They do it because there is something in them that causes them to choose to help others, and for firefighters and police officers, to help others even it they have to put their own life on the line.
So again I say thank you to all teachers, firefighters and police officers.
I, like many of you, also think that an evaluation of teachers solely based on a test score is not a fair assessment.
The irony of this is that the students - those that will become part of the workforce and are supposed to be the next generation of thinkers - are all evaluated based on test scores. Most of the time, this is based only on test scores.
A number or a letter does not do justice to the capabilities of an individual.
Sometimes the teacher realizes the inadequacy of test scores and will throw in other grades, such as creative projects, but in most schools she still must come up with a grade.
Now, at least in Florida, there is a move to base teacher pay on how well students do on standardized tests. This is scary!
I am all for getting rid of the education system as it stands.
Remove the Feds and the NEA... and the AAUP and other unions involved higher education... and get back to local control of schools and education curricula.
The schools today are engaged in nothing more than Social engeneering with the intent of dumbing down our children and implimenting a Marxist Socialist agenda.
Fire 'em all and regain our hold over our children's minds.
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If so, how should merit be determined?
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