Against Merit Pay For Teachers Essay

2327 words - 9 pages

I. Introduction
The dispute surrounding merit pay for teachers has existed for decades in many countries across the globe. The debate has been particularly heated in the United States. Since the 1920s, public schools began awarding pay mostly according to title, and seniority rather than merit. Numerous attempts have been made to introduce merit pay systems throughout this period, but it never gained widespread popularity on a national level. Now, however, political leaders such as Barack Obama have supported merit pay for teachers. This has reinvigorated the debate, with many groups falling on either side. The National Education Association, for example, has opposed merit pay, while the United Federation of Teachers supports the idea. The modern day merit pay, or pay-for performance programs offers teacher monetary bonuses for student achievement on yearly standardized test scores. Merit pay conflicts with the way we are to teach in today’s schools, and cannot be fully effective. This form of motivation, for teachers, will be impossible to be evenhanded, and the broad term of “merit” does little for the long term success of the students. No “good” teacher is in it for the money, anyway. This newly rediscovered answer, to public education, could set back and delay the entire system.
II. Article Summary
III. Multiple Discipline Analysis
As the public gains more concern for the quality of education, the more interest the public has in teacher accountability and performance. A recent poll stated that there is much interest by the public in linking student performance to teacher accountability (Wright, 2003). According to the guidelines of merit pay, the teacher has the sole responsibility of determining if a child is successfully educated or not.
According to Protheroe (2011), much of the public is on board with the merit pay initiative. In response to the 2010 Phi Delta Kappa Gallop Poll, 71% of respondents expressed support for paying teachers on the basis of work, as opposed to relying totally on traditional pay schedules, while 73% indicated that a teacher's salary should be tied to student academic achievement (Protheroe, 2011). These statistics indicate that should the public have any say in the manner, merit pay may be a thing of the future.
Many agree that there is nothing that better defines a first-rate school than the quality and performance of its instructional staff (Drevitch, 2006). But, what is the true definition of a quality teacher performance? What is the definition of a successfully performing student? Before performance-based compensation can be implemented, it requires a clear and obvious definition (Gratz, 2010).
Another good question regarding education is if poor teaching causes low test scores, then what causes poor teaching? Test-based compensation plans suggest that the primary cause is teacher motivation and therefore believe that financial incentives, such as merit pay, are the solution. It has been suggested that...

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