Board to tackle merit pay for teachers

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  • Choir
    April 8, 2008 9:23 a.m.

    The only ones reading this are teachers. The problem is with the legislature and outspoken parents. These people think capitalistic until it is their child with the problems then they point at the system. I just count the days until the lottery pays me off, ( the lottery I call the legislature, because it is all a crap shoot with them)

  • To Tooele
    April 7, 2008 8:36 a.m.

    In response to "Tooele Teacher": The merit pay plan will be defined by the district on a per-district basis. The rule suggests evaluation methods include multiple factors, not just straight test scores. Make sure your district is aware of your concerns.

  • Bena Round
    April 6, 2008 9:33 p.m.

    So, this sounds like, what did they call it? oh yeah, Career Ladders, which morphed into something like teacher days, principal directed days, etc. The legislature has a severe case of SSDD syndrome...

    Just put it in my salary and let me make a decent living. I work two jobs, my wife works two jobs - just to get by. I have almost twenty years in education, two degrees above bachelors, and could make more starting out at the Post Office with a GED at this time in my career. (Okay, 12 mo's vs 9 mo's, i don't care, it's all divided the same. I still truggle all winter.)

    If they want accountability, they need to put the accountability on the parents and students. Testing is a waste. I can teach to a test all year long if that is what you want. The accountability needs to be on parents not making excuses for their kids.

    Any future teachers out there, let me tell you, there are better ways to make a living. Nobody gives teachers respect anymore. Do something that will make you some money, and that you won't have to take kids crap all day long.

  • Tooele Teacher
    April 6, 2008 8:57 p.m.

    In conclusion:
    So, other than testing, what other way is there to decide who deserves the merit pay? It comes down to evaluations by the adminstrators. I currently work at a school where I would trust the adminstrators to do a good job at this. However, not all adminstrators are competent. Additionally, any teacher who is left out of the money would then have a big incentive to either sabotage the adminstrator to make him/her look incomentent, or to simply move to a different school site. (After all, who wants to work under an incompetent adminstrator who doesn't recognize your worth?)

    I would hope that erery teacher who recieves a satisfactory evaluation would be eligible for the merit pay. Besides, if I am doing my job well, shouldn't I get the merit pay? And if I am not doing my job well, shouldn't I either be given help to improve, or be encouraged to find a different profession?

    So please, no quotas. Allow everyone at the site to receive the pay every single year, as long as they are doing a good job. That way, there is no in-fighting, no cronism, and no lowering of moral.

  • Science Teacher
    April 6, 2008 8:50 p.m.

    There is no way to justly mete out this merit pay. Merit pay would only cause more senior teachers to dump the low IQ and difficult behavior problems onto other, younger teachers. I see it happen WITHOUT merit pay. I can't imagine the chaos when they will be paid thousands more to do the registration switcheroo.

    It also causes animosity between colleagues... people who should be working together toward a common goal. Why should I help you, work with you, share ideas, collaborate, cover your class, share resources, etc., just so you can beat me out to that extra carrot?!?

    No... merit pay is BAD for teachers, and bad for kids.

  • Tooele Teacher
    April 6, 2008 8:42 p.m.

    Continuing:
    Tests don't measure student progress. They are designed to test what the students know (assuming that the student can be motivated to try on a test that doesn't have a direct impact on anything of importance to his short-term view). The tests are NOT designed to measure what the student has LEARNED during the school year. That would require TWO testing times so that we could administer both a pre-test and a post-test.

    If test scores are to be used, we need to measure progress, not end results. We also need to factor in that some students are more cooperative than others. I have one upper level class. They are EXTREMELY cooperative in class, and then, they do their homework out of class. In my lower level classes, I have to work much harder during class to maintain a learning environment. Then, when I ask for their homework the next day, I don't receive nearly as many completed papers. In short, I don't teach them nearly as much. However, the huge gains made in the upper level course are EASIER for me to achieve. I must be a great teacher for them! We need to be real.

  • Tooele Teacher
    April 6, 2008 8:33 p.m.

    I have many of the same concerns that Bob has. However, I am still open to the idea of merit pay, if those concerns can be fairly addressed.

    First, if a quota is set, either in law or through the funding, I would see this as a big mistake. Out of say 50 teachers at a school, how can anyone decide how many should receive merit pay? Should it be 10? 25? 40? Setting it up on a district level is not really any better. As Bob points out, this would go only to a select few each year, leading to low moral among the rest. I would also say that it would lead to cronism, rather than to competency.

    Second, what are the determining factors? Test scores are usually brought up. However, this is inherently problematic.

    Tests are not administered in all subject matters. So if I teach German, and there is no German test, am I ineligible?

    Students don't always stay with the same teacher all year. Just last week, I recieved two "new" students because they had misbehaved at their school. They were sent to mine. I haven't had much of a chance to teach them anything.

  • Bob G
    April 6, 2008 7:12 a.m.

    Merit pay among teachers would not be a good thing, it would only create animosity and a disfunctional teaching staff. The teachers would be better served if they all got this merit pay equally paid among them. We need to keep teachers on a level equality and with better pay. They all merit the pay but they also merit recognition by districts and by the state. The teachers already get pay comesurate with qualifications and longevity but merit pay would add animosity among teachers that think they deserve it eually with their peers. And merit pay tends to go to a selected few every year and leaves others without recognition. The education system in Utah needs overhaul starting at the top with the appointed members of the board that are politically influenced in all they do. We need to start with a board elected by the public in the districts they live, and not being controlled by lobbyist and politicians or political parties.