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Monday, August 24, 2009

Merit Pay is the Way According to the Times

The editorial board at the Times weighs in this morning (and I mean a heavy-handed weigh-in) in an editorial on the subject of merit pay for teachers.

They imply that all threats of strikes would be gone with merit pay. Don't teachers sometimes strike over other things?

"There would be room to discuss other workplace concerns that, let's face it, don't compel teachers to hit the pavement."

And this:

"We might actually get somewhere on education reform if the first word out of the gate wasn't money, particularly in a recession."

First of all, it's always about money, teachers or no teachers. Second, this country, this district isn't moving forward on education reform because of teachers? Because that's the implication I read into that sentence.

Their suggestions?

"Professional standards for judging teachers ought to include not just test scores, but classroom observations and — taking a page from higher education — feedback from parents and students."

5 comments:

Jet City mom said...

I don't pay much attention to the Times- although I expect those who moved to the suburbs because they thought the schools were better for their kids, do.

However- I do wonder why-the contract was for only one year.
Contracts- unless unusual circumstances are better if they can be for at least three or four years.
It is a lot of work and stress to hammer out a contract that is amenable to both sides.
Who wants to do that every year?

However- again- am I the only one who wonders if MGJ is even going to be here for that long?

Her friend and former boss has already left the district, even though she has only been here from CO, for a few years, it is clear than MJG is not what the families of Seattle want- ( & why didn't they offer the job to Norm Rice just because nobody liked Nickles?)

I would like to see incentives to attract and hold positions that are hard to fill, like math /science teachers- and I think there should be more encouragement to obtain national board certification.

The teachers I have known who have received it- not only do receive more money in recognition, but are also all really exemplary educators.

I don't know what sort of process board certification is- if it simply attracts teachers that are more interested in raising their own standards or if the process shifts their productivity, but they are impressive.

Sahila said...

Certification... I posted on another thread that I noticed in this year's annual report, that of the 3,500+ teachers in the District, only a few more than 100 were nationally certified.. Frankly, I was shocked at that low number....

However:
I watched a teacher go through the certification exercise this year... not a pretty sight.... very little lesson planning, theming, continuity before commencing the certification process mid-year, then there were lesson plans and videotaped teaching... then there were no more lesson plans, theming, continuity...

I dont know what this person's motivation was for undertaking the certification process - more money? more security against the possibility of being RIFed? It certainly didnt appear to me that the students in the class were benefitting - there was no additional content, no additional depth, no additional enthusiasm, no new teaching styles, no additional instructional aids....

BullDogger said...

The threat of strike wouldn't disappear but wouldn't it be lessened given another avenue to increase pay?

Educators are professionals living with a purely objective performance rating plan (seniority, certifications). They've represented themselves with an industrial union concept only.

Other professionals (even unionized ones) have the potential to make more money by accepting, with some risk, reasonable subjective criteria establishing an employee's relative rank and contribution.

This seems like a reform the students would benefit from and the paying public would appreciate.

seattle citizen said...

Why does the Times write that the negotiations over money will somehow become less odious if merit pay were enacted? Of course the union of teachers would still actively negotiate the pay rates....only in that case a vareity of pay rates, not just one...seems MORE complicated. Guess the Times just has an agenda and so throws out ridiculous statements such as that.

Regarding merit pay:

Ach, merit pay...
1) teachers competing with one another? ack.
2) what metric merits merit? Not to say there aren't any, but fair evalaution tools to determine rate of pay are hradly ever mentioned: all "they" talk about is that there should BE merit pay, not what tools to determine it...Though I did see some good suggestions on this blog a few weeks ago. Not that I'm in favor of merit payu (I'm not) but at lteast lets propose the metrics before everyone goes gaga over "merit pay."

SSDemp said...

Why only for us teachers?

Why not merit pay (tied to retntion ratings)for the heretofore "untouchable" administrators?