Merit pay is thrown around quite a bit. In the Corporate world, it is used as an excuse to not give all employees the same and equal raise. Supposedly, you “earn” your raise. Now, with the exception of one position I’ve held in the past 12 years, I have always received a review that entitled me to either the top raise or close to the top raise. Here’s the kicker, because of where I was on the pay scale, I earned the top percentage, but received much lower because giving me the raise I earned would place me over the pay scale for my position. (this was not at the one previously position where I didn’t “earn” it.) I’ve seen some people who might’ve deserved the best raise not get it because their manager was limited to how much he/she could give out. Merit pay is an imperfect system and usually only works for the corporation.
Now, I’ve heard talk that they want teachers to receive Merit pay and I wonder, how is that going to work? How does someone from the outside judge whether or not a teacher deserves a raise? Nowadays, parents throw fits and fall into them if their little Johnny is flunked, but if Johnny can’t read, shouldn’t he flunk? Parents forced a nine year old’s baseball team to fold because their kids couldn’t hit the pitches thrown by him.
How would you base the Merit pay? On how many students the teacher passed or on how many flunked? If you hated a teacher enough, couldn’t you blow your standardized test? I never tried on them, why should any other kid? (I used to just choose any answer because I truly didn’t care except on history and English. I always liked the reading parts.)
Our teachers are teaching in classrooms that are improperly funded and overcrowded. Quite frankly, if just one kid in the room can read, I’m surprised.
I don’t know what the answer should be to weed out the bad teachers and keep the truly good ones, but I can tell you Merit pay isn’t going to help.