Effective teachers are inadequately rewarded in the United States. School districts, such as those in California, are just starting to implement merit pay. According to a study conducted by the National Center of Performance Incentives (NCPI), only about 500 school districts out of the 14,000 districts in the US implement merit pay for teachers. These numbers do not include private schools. Unfortunately, teachers, parents, and students hurt because many schools, private and public, base teacher pay on seniority and degrees rather than achievement and performance. Under such a system, novice teachers, are laid off during budget shortages. Moreover, with the current “single salary schedule” system, teachers are inadequately paid, especially when compared to other professions. Because the single salary schedule creates many issues, a solution needs to be proposed. Merit pay, a system based on performance, solves such issues. With this system, teacher performance outweighs teacher seniority. As a result, quality teachers will be rewarded adequately in terms of money and recognition. Outstanding teachers will no longer face unreasonable layoffs and will finally be paid more than their ineffective peers.
1. Teachers Play a Significant Role in the Education System
Teachers are instructors, tutors, and evaluators. That being said, teachers play a significant role in the education system. They must not only understand the material they are teaching, but instead, they must also be able to teach it to the students. Such a task is difficult and requires skills, especially when the students are uncooperative. Also, teachers do more than lecturing. They often plan their curriculum accordingly so that students get the most out of the lessons. Dedicated teachers even spend time outside of their work hours planning activities, grading papers, and even tutoring students. Those committed even spend their own money buying supplies for the class. (Strauss). Most importantly, teachers are role models. They set an example for the students. (research how kids mimic teachers site) Ironically though, the most effective teachers, even those awarded the Teacher of the Year award, are one of the first to be laid off. (“The New Mayor and Teachers”)
2. Laying Off Teachers Has Great Consequences
When budget cuts are around the corner, teachers, whether they are average or exceptional, are laid off. Layoffs cause both anxiety and stress. Unfortunately, under the current system, seniority is priority. As a result, novice teachers with potential are released before senior teachers. Ms. Tran, a (insert what type of teacher), was given a pink slip four times. (insert source) In fact, Ms. Tran taught five grade levels in three different schools. Unfortunately, other teachers were hurt in the process. When a teacher is laid off, like Ms. Tran, he or she takes the job of another teacher. As a result, one set of layoffs creates an additional set of layoffs.