We need to start teaching young people things they can use. Forget about
disecting a frog, let's teach people how to act when they are in public, how to
treat other people with respect so they can get other people to respect them,
show them what is acceptable social and ethical behavior. Parents don't seem to
teach these things anymore, so let's have them learn it in school. Perhaps a
class on how to fill out applications and resumes and how to act when you're
employed. Also, we need to fix our English classes so it is not only based on
your written skills, but also your oral skills. It's disgusting how many people
say things like "I seen that" or "I be going to the store." If English is your
first language, you should be able to speak it properly.
The answer to your appropriate and timely question is; in many schools the
teachers are too busy teaching, "Heather Has Two Mommies" and how to put condoms
on bananas to teach Math and English.
If you teach its time to move to an east side school where parents are involved
and where students perform and respond to teaching. Bag these harder schools on
the west side of the SLC Valley where many children are not supported in their
schooling or where the values of pride and respect are often lacking. Why teach
there when if you teach in a higher social economic status area where we know
test scores are higher it will result in greater merit pay? Yep, expect new
teachers to teach in the harder schools now and the more experienced teachers
will teach in the higher SES schools/areas. Financially it just makes sense.
Let me make sure everybody understands why we oppose merit pay.Give
the worst teacher in the district a classroom full of motivated students, whose
parents value education, and whose progress is closely monitored by those same
parents. Now give the BEST teacher in the district a classroom full
of unmotivated students, whose parents won't come to conferences, and never
check their grades, and give them cell phones for their birthday, and are never
seen reading a book.Which teacher will look better at evalutation
time?Do you see? If you judge the teacher on student test scores,
you are really judging the parent and the home environment. If you
truly want to evaluate my performance as a teacher, come into my classroom and
watch me teach! But don't judge my abilities based on my students'
performanace; there are way too many factors over which I have NO control.
I didn't vote for Obama, but he's right about this. The teachers unions have
controlled education for too long. It's time to reward good teachers and get
rid of bad ones.
I'm for merit pay for teachers but not based on seniority or degrees they may
have. Classroom performance is what counts and if children are learning. We have
a national education system that hands out college degrees to people that are
still illiterate and uneducated. We are putting the future of the country in
illiteracy at the highest level. Most high scool attendees of 40 years ago are
more literate and educated than many with college degrees of todays education
system. The basics of education have been neglected to train future employees of
corporate america, for all the good it will do them to have uneducated but
trained employees. Education should focus on the basic skills and leave
specialization education to the employers. Without basics everything else is of
no value to america or our future. We have wasted years of classrooms and
schooling in creating an illiterate and uneducated america.
I'm a teacher and I agree with merit pay. However, as a teacher I understand
that there is no fair way to judge merit because of to many uncontrollable
variables. The real problem in education is the fact that a poor teacher can
not be fired once he or she has tenure. Their primary motivation is a paycheck
until retirement after 30 years. Then after 30 years they still don't qualify
for medicare so they teach in another district for several more years.
Principals need the power to fire poor teachers no matter how long they've been
You need to step into a classroom. Parents of students today do not want to
accept that it is their responsibility to teach their children. Parents should
be teaching their kids manners and how to act in public. The problem is when a
parent disciplines a child in public they are shunned. My wife made one of my
daughters stand against a wall when we were shopping. My daughter was throwing
a tantrum. The punishment worked because my daughter now knows that she cannot
scream and get her way without consequences. When my wife did this I heard
comments like "Why doesn't she do that at home instead of at the store." "I
can't believe that a parent would put their child's nose against a wall and make
them stand." Behavior should be from a parent. But most parents think when
their child is misbehaving it is not their child's fault it is the schools or
someone else to blame. All parents need to stand up and take accountability for
their children. Then you will see not only school improvements but behavior
Merit pay is not perfect in ANY industry, but financial reward is the best way
to motivate. It is a basic principle of capitalism.Currently,
teachers have NO mechanisms for financial incentives other than tenure and
advanced degrees....Neither of which correlate to improved classroom
performance, else our education system would be in much better shape.Competition is the best way to improve any industry, including the education
industry. Merit pay is a way to promote competition amongest teachers.Just like college football players compete for starting positions every spring
(and all season long), the same should be true for teachers. Teachers should not fear competition, they should embrace it because most of
their students will have to face competition throughout their entire lives. Why
should teachers be exempt from that? The same old tired arguments opposing merit
pay won't work anymore... Kudos to Obama.
Weird. Something is not right here. Is this a verbal concession to win over
mandated early education which has long been a socialist ploy to control the
population? (Read Naked Communist or Communist Manifesto.) Straight up, he is correct about charter schools and merit pay. However both
of those ideals are clearly 'free market' choices whereas everything he has done
thus far has been a movement towards socialism - anti free market. I'll be watching this one. Clearly the actions must speak louder than the
If you're for merit pay, then you'd better call your state reps who are cutting
Utah teacher bonuses, as we speak! The concept is artificial, because Utah's
current budget shows that the pay add-ons have nothing to do with performance
and everything to do with the changeable will of the public. Teachers are
against merit pay because they know that there is no funding for it. Will they
add funds to established pay rates or use the concept to cut the majority to
"reward" a few? Who will decide the criteria? Bureaucrats. How will they
judge performance? Politically. What if you're a new teacher, a mover and
shaker who works hard for change? Will you be rewarded or will the layers of
administrative bureaucracy squash your voice? It's politically trendy to
scape-goat teachers. Instead of blaming tenure, ask administration why they
aren't performing adequate evaluation BEFORE teachers are granted permanent
status. Get involved!
I dont think that merit pay would be based only on the actual number scores of
the students. I think that Obama (and others proposing merit-based pay
incentives for teachers) understand that some schools and some areas have lower
test scores for a variety of reasons. I think that when comparisons were made
between students of different classes and different schools to determine whether
or not improvements have been made they would compare students falling into
similar demographics. For example, a class with many minority students from
low-income single parent homes in South Salt Lake would not be directly compared
to white students from upper-income homes with both parents. The focus of this
is on teacher improvement and I think that if there are additional incentives to
improve your teaching (since apparently just retaining your job isnt enough for
some) some teachers might be more excited to try some new things and get excited
about their jobs again.
Merit pay is a poor reward for teachers. It encourages teachers to fudge on
scores and other indicators so they can get more money. It opens the door wide
open for corruption. And I don't want to hear another trite statement from our
President, "Oh we'll watch that so it won't happen."Reward teachers
with benefits and updated classrooms and technology. Merit pay is not the way.
That's not an investment in education.
As a teacher I have mixed feelings about merit pay. On one hand you can work as
hard as you like and you get the same pay as every other teacher. At present
there is very little incentive for teachers to work harder, or smarter. Some
sort of recognition is needed, BUT how do we put something like this into
practice? Pay based on test scores is crazy. There are so many reasons why
this idea is flawed. I am of the belief that until we change the focus of our
education system we will continue to be left behind in the global market.
Politicians and educators are so focused on test scores, that they miss the boat
completely. How about focusing more on life skills development. I would much
rather know that my kids are critical thinkers, problem-solvers, effective
communicators, or risk-takers than whether they scored well on a spelling test.
I agree with Pres Obama that something needs to be done to make teachers more
accountable, I am just not sure that pay for test scores is the way.
I like the concept of merit pay. The main problem is and has always been (Obama
did not invent the idea) a way to make it fair. Obama mentioned student
performance which just shows he really doens't understand the issue at all. My
wife teaches resource. The parents of many resource students don't care at all
about their childs education. She has students that have not attended an entire
week of school this year. She gets glowing reviews and the parents who do care
absolutely love her. Unless the merit pay is tied to something other than how
her students, whose parents don't care if they come to school much less do home
work, perform then the system will be a failure.And for the poster
that says education was better 40 years ago. You haven't a clue. Kids are
learing most items 2 years earlier than you did. I also don't know where your
concept of illiterate college grads comes from. You either must be joking or
you haven't gone to college. Most college freshman never graduate but those who
do are illiterate. Good one.
"For example, a class with many minority students from low-income single parent
homes in South Salt Lake would not be directly compared to white students from
upper-income homes with both parents."You would think so, wouldn't
you? But No Child Left Behind unequivocally states that ALL children will be
proficient in reading and math by 2014. Current law makes no concession for SES
or other outside factors that may affect student performance. In fact, the law
and its standards even apply to students with disabilities, who by definition
receive special education services because they aren't academically
proficient.As long as we continue to measure school performance
based on such school-wide figures, I can't imagine a policy for merit pay that
doesn't do the same.
As a teacher ( a good one if I do say so myself), I would love to get merit pay.
The problem is that there is no fair way to do it. It would have
to be test scores or opinion.My test scores are always at the top
and parents/students like my class.However, I know some good
teachers (I learned a lot from them) that teach in a much tougher school. Test
scores are lower and not much interest in education. They will be punished by
merit pay.All of the good teachers will congregate at the easiest
schools when they are really needed in the toughest schools.However,
if you want to send money my way I won't argue.
Yup. Early education is a Communist "ploy." Or, maybe studies have shown young
children living in poverty do better with early education. Just maybe it is
cheaper to provide education than build more prisons. Charter schools do not
necessarily translate to better schools. There are many Charter schools which
don't measure up. The past 8 years have clearly demonstrated there can be
negative consequences of "free market." "Smart" market is what we need. If a
highly educated and healthy populace is "socialism" then we could do worse. The
model Republicans seem to embrace is third-world--where the wealthy get
wealthier, little to no middle class, and a majority live in poverty.
Teaching can be political. A good teacher may be rewarded or fired based on
religious, idealogical, or political views. A standards test can contain
seemingly innocuous questions aimed at ferreting out politically incorrect
"teachings."Teaching can be political. A good teacher who agrees with or
disagrees with administrators or policies could be rewarded or firedA bag
of gold in a gloved fist is Obama.The question is..what is good and bad
teacher? I cringe when politicians and special interests with political,
religious, idealogical agendas claim to have the answer to that question.
Read the above comments. It seems everyone and his brother knows more about
teaching children than those who spend their time and money earning a university
degree in education. Who spend all day every day in the classroom. And spend
evenings/weekends in preparation for their students. Who dedicate their very
lives to helping others. Let those who criticize spend a day in a
public school classroom. (Be prepared for many surprises.) To paraphrase a
popular TV commercial, THIS IS NOT YOUR MOTHER'S CLASSROOM. Forget about what it
was like (in your child's mind) when you were a student. See for yourself. Then
speak your opinion. Remember: Teachers teach, pupils learn.
Education is an active process for both teacher and pupil. Both must accept
those responsibilities in order for the system to succeed. When they do, the
rest of us will not need to concern ourselves with issues such as merit pay.
Neither Obama nor his fans seem to understand that all of this is interrelated.
We need to fix the schools and help with early education for those living in
poverty and give merit pay to teachers and blah blah blah. The lack of a solid,
and properly enforced immigration system is breeding higher illiteracy rates in
adults and higher poverty in students. Those families either have to work so
much to survive that the parents have no time to get involved, and the students
are often absent or listless, or they get in the system and create generational
welfare and poverty. On top of that, we expect teachers to increase the
performance levels in a student base over which they have no control. Private
and charter schools do better because they do not have to allow bottom feeders
in. Now we have a president doing everything possible to increase the size of
the poverty stricken base, with no regard for what that will do for future
teachers. And all the while, his loyal fans are gushing and swooning while Rome
Get a grip! Are you saying that because Obama leans left he can't possibly find
any value in certain free market principles? If so, that is extremely
unfair.People are people. They cannot be type cast like that. The
world is not democrats vs republicans, mormons against non-mormons (and what
person who is not LDS considers themselves a non-mormon anyway?), etc. I
certainly have never thought of myself as a non-Catholic.Be fair.
I'm a social liberal but a fiscal conservative. You can't peg people into your
holes.And if you can, answer this one for me: if mormons tend to be
republicans, they why do they make babies in college? Isn't taking Medicaid and
pell grants socialism? Clearly, most mormons don't consider themselves
socialists, but there you have it: blatant socialist behavior.Your
post is very disappointing.
Honestly. Of course merit pay isn't fair. But at least it's something to
reward teachers.I'm a CPA. I don't pick my clients or my staff
members; the partners do. Yet my performance bonuses are tied to their
evaluations of me.Some clients will never appreciate what I do for
them, while some over-appreciate what I do for them. And I can't control how
many good ones I have in comparison to the bad ones I have. Yet my bonus is
based on their feedback.Is it fair? Of course not! But I do my
best to improve relations and make it work. Teachers can do the same. No
situation is ideal or fair, but we do what we can with what we have, knowing
that next year we'll get new clients, or students, as the case may be, and can
I think the whole idea of teacher merit pay is degrading to teachers. It gives
the assumption that teachers aren't doing their best right now. In my ten years
of teaching I have only met 2 or maybe three teachers that weren't already
giving everything they could. Merit pay may sound good to some teachers, but
that is because we are already severely underpaid. If we truly care about
education, then we should increase teacher pay and reduce classroom sizes. In
fact, this would also help in teacher performance because then the job would
become more attractive, more people would apply, and administrators would be
able to hand pick the more capable teachers.
I agree with increasing teacher pay, along with merit pay. We should try to
attract the best and brightest into teaching. More money will attract higher
caliber students to major in education. Higher pay is a long term solution.
Increasing pay itself now will not weed out the weak teachers, in fact we will
be rewarding the same old behavior. But, over time, as we attact high caliber
students into the teaching profession, new generations of more effective
teachers will fill the classrooms.
I disagree very strongly with the people who say that teachers have no incentive
to work hard. They are obviously not teachers. Teachers have to work hard, if
only just to survive. You cannot come to class unprepared or unwilling to give
your all, because your day will just be that much more difficult and you will
have to face the same thing again the next day. The very situation teachers work
in means that they're all trying the best they can to well by the students. Of
course there are some terrible teachers, but I believe even terrible teachers
are doing the best they can under the circumstances.Where are the
administrators, the so-called "educational leaders", when it comes time to help
teachers who are struggling? Where is accountability for administrators?
Administrators in schools are supposed to be the support for the teachers, not
just a bunch of pencil-pushing bureaucrats, often are. Where are they when
teachers need help? The truth is that lackluster performance usually begins in
the upper ranks of a school. But that's the dirty little secret that no one
likes to acknowledge.
Utah hasn't had a tenure program in years. Your principal may hire you or fire
you at will. The idea that a bad teacher cannot be gotten rid of is false.
Yomama is true to form. Keep spending everyone else's money. Sign of a great
liberal. Always on the public dime and always spending the public's money. Maybe
he ought to have scrappy Joe be the poster boy for giving. After all, joey
contributed a whopping $3,800 to charities over a 10 year period..... averaging
less than $400 a year when he was paid in salary over $3 MM from taxpayers
Accoutability in public education has been neglected for decades. Parents,
teachers, students, and others are NOT doing their jobs in the education of our
children (or student learning).Nevertheless, there are proven
methods or ways to reward parents, teachers, students, and others for their
excellent performances. The MPS Accounting System is one of those proven
methods in public education.Let those "best practices" come to the
surface and we will all be better for it, today not later.
I agree with some previous comments that there are many factors involved in this
(such as parental involvement). However, I do feel that accountability for
teachers (due to unions and tenure) is not in existence these days. I graduated
from high school about 3 years ago and while I was there my teachers let us talk
about our lacrosse game with the class for the first 35 minutes of class and
then for the last few minutes they would pretend to teach. I had other teachers
who honestly let us high school students have "nap time" in class. The
education system is a joke these days. My husband and I have decided to either
home school our children or send them to a private school where we can be sure
that they will actually have the opportunity to learn.Too many
teachers these days are more worried about being the popular/cool teacher rather
than actually educating their students.
"We need to start teaching young people things they can use. Forget about
disecting a frog"If the only inspiration people have to become
doctors is the money, heaven help us, we have seen what has happend to wall
I don't like the idea of merit pay, it is too easy to be unfair, by giving a
teacher students who don't perform wellBut the education community
needs to embrase higher standards, instead of making excuses, especially in
Where is the topic of vouchers in this debate? Merit pay is great
philosophically but is lacking in practicality if the method of judging is
student performance which, as was pointed out above, may be largely influenced
by outside factors. It continues to amaze me that as Americans we will not
embrace vouchers which provides for choice in education and leads to
compensation based on performance.
I am a 10th grader in Tennessee. I belive that school days and years should NOT
be lengthend. I belive that if school days are lengthend then school years
should be shortend to give students a break.