Previous days comments can be found here:
Today's installment covers perhaps the most common theme encountered when reading through submissions made by educators regarding the idea of merit pay. Fairness. It's a theme that runs through so many of the comments we have spent time reading. The concern is deep and wide, and the lack of transparency and apparent partisanship being exhibted by those involved in the development process is causing deep anxiety within the education professions ranks
I am concerned about pay based on performance of students. In the field of Arts, Music, and Phys. Ed., we see all the children in assigned grade levels within a school and help children establish right brain and left brain thinking which can be different ways than their classroom teacher might require. It would be difficult to measure this type of performance. Also we see some teachers who have classes that are functioning at a lower level and sometimes, they do remarkable things with those students, other times those students might wind up on an IEP so they can receive the specialized attention that they need to move forward. This is not a reflection of the teacher, but rather demonstrates how some students don't advance at the "normal expected" rates of their peers. I don't see why teachers could then be penalized for that as well...which will happen in a "performance based pay". This is why I find it hard to conceive how this concept of "performance based pay" would be fair or even recognize a teachers success. Thank you for considering this fact.
Not and idea, but questions. How will the pay of teachers be determined by merit? What are the exact parameters? How will the pay of teachers not involved in standardized testing be determined? Will this not lead to the most experienced teachers being released from duty simply because of their expense?
I don't think that there is a fair way to do performance based pay for teachers. This will turn into a system of the administration picking out their friends for pay raises and leaving everyone else at the bottom of the pay scale. Their is no way to know how a teacher is effecting a student. I have had students that I thought that I did not reach, but later, after they graduate, they tell me that I was the reason they stayed in school and did well.
Teachers would absorb better this if you would just be fair: elected officials are public employees, yet you are not including yourselves in this merit pay plan. Senators and some representatives make more now than we'll make at any point in our careers (especially those of us who teach in rural Ohio), yet you place yourselves above your own mandates. We've already proven ourselves: we had to pass student teaching, get the degree, pass the Praxis / NTE, and we work harder every year to improve our district's report cards. My school has been excellent the last five years, excellent with distinction at least the last two years. You? Your only "test" is the election process. You didn't take a test to prove that you know anything about Ohio history, current events, or fiscal responsibility, characteristics that all elected officials should possess. You don't have to prove that you've connected with your constituents; that your constituents have better lives because of your work. We've proven our merit. With all due respect, when will you prove yours?
It is hard to understand how teachers will equitably be able to have their pay tied to student acheivement. How will teachers that do not teach a tested area be evaluated? How will the "human" factor of our product be accounted for? How will teachers in low income districts be fairly evaluated? I'm all for making sure that we have high quality teachers, but using student achievement or satisfaction cannot fairly evaluate a teacher's worth and will only drive good people away from the teaching profession. I also find it interesting that the state of Ohio after all of these years has still not figured out how to fund our education system and has yet to comply with the Supreme Court decisions about state funding. And yet we want teacher's pay to be related to a system of evaluations that are already flawed.
Right now the process isn't fair, isn't open, and lacks any collaboration and cooperation. That needs to change.