Comments about ‘Obama backs teacher merit pay’

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Published: Wednesday, March 11 2009 12:00 a.m. MDT

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a teacher

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 is burning!

re: Laura

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 start over.

Another teacher

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.

Re: Utah Teacher

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.

New Yorker

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.

re Kevin | 12:28 a.m. March 11

"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 street.

Higher Standards

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 well

But the education community needs to embrase higher standards, instead of making excuses, especially in math.


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.

Tyler Morris

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.

Emma Lee


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