Should we include merit pay as a part of educational reform?
These days, merit pay for teachers becomes a very arguable topic. Merit pay, also known as pay by performance, is a payment schedule for teachers that design to motivate teachers and improve our education. However, although more and more schools and states begin to try this new payment schedule, only a few of them get some significant results. Because of that, more and more people begin to doubt the effectiveness of merit pay. Should merit pay become a part of our educational reform become a serious problem for everyone to think about. In my opinion, I think we shouldn’t include the merit pay that only uses standard tests to evaluate teachers, provides too little or too much bonus, and requires teachers to finish impossible missions in order to get this money in our educational reform.
The most important problem of todays’ merit pay is that most schools only use standard tests score to evaluate teachers. As Al Ramirez points out, “[tests] are typically designed to measure student learning—not instruction or teacher effectiveness,[...]” and “factors beyond teachers’ control”(56). For example, teachers cannot decide who is signed in the class, they cannot decide if the students would finish assignments, and they cannot decide if the students study hard. Standard tests is a really uncertain way to evaluate teachers, and if we only focus on the scores that students get to evaluate teachers, then that will incite teachers to manipulate, to cheat, and it has already happened －“[what] behind the rise of the 55,000-student Atlanta public school system in national prominence during the 2000s were teachers and principals in 44 schools erasing and changing test”(Jonsson 2). This is so disappointed because teachers who should be the models of our kids are cheating about students’ score in order to get more bonus. I am sure it is not the kind of educational reform that most people want. Even worse than that, in order to increase the performance of students in the standard tests, some schools in Texas seek for “bad students” who cannot pass the standard tests and “make those students ‘disappear’ so they would not be counted among the students who were tested”(Llorca). Mostly likely, principals and teachers will incite students that cannot pass the standard tests to drop out from high school, which will probably destroy the whole life of those high students. Based on those facts, the merit pay that uses the score of standard tests to evaluate teachers definitely cannot be a part of our educational reform because instead of any positive impact, it will cause a lot negative results.
Second problem of our ineffective merit pay is the amount of bonus for individuals because both too little amount of bonus and too much amount of bonus will cause some problems. If we only provide a little bit bonus for teachers, then they probably just do whatever they used to do because “the performance pay for...