When it comes to education, everyone has an opinion. But, does anyone truly have the perfect solution? One proposed solution bringing about debate in the last few years has been merit pay for teachers (Wright, 2003). As we know, teachers often receive the brunt of criticism from the public when it comes to the failure of education. But is merit pay the solution? Wright (2003) states that although there may be some validation to the idea of merit pay, there are also some serious concerns.
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.
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.
Taylor Mali, an American slam poet and teacher, wrote a poem titled, “What Teachers Make”. In this poem, he rhythmically tells about other professions criticizing teachers based on their choice of occupation. While teachers will never earn six figure incomes, they make a difference. Teachers dedicate their lives to leading, inspiring, and educating future generations, all while earning meager pay. Though teachers form foundation of education, their pay does not accurately represent their skills. Using merit pay systems will properly assess how much a teacher should be paid, based on their teaching ability.
With the low expectations of teachers, students are limited in their ability to learn. As discussed before, it is difficult to predict how well a teacher will do at their job before they begin working. This creates doubt when hiring anyone, and employers may not know if who they are hiring is the right choice. If teachers are judged by not only the basic requirements met, but also their interpersonal skills and how well they are able to teach in a positive manner, there will hopefully be less mediocre teachers hired. In the same way, both an advanced teacher and an average teacher are paid the same wages, which creates a flaw in education. Even more, there should not be average teachers in the workforce if all teachers are paid the same. Though this harms the advanced teachers, who deserve more than they earn, it also harms the students, as they are taught at a lower level by the inadequate teachers. Gladwell mentions these flaws in his article, but he also explains the traits good teachers should have, which brings a strive forward in this issue. Because of this, it is clear America must be more selective and strict when hiring
In many states, teachers are underpaid. Though money is not the motive for most teachers, without enticing salaries, many are lured away from the teaching profession and graduates looking for a first year teaching position are not given much to look forward to. So, since teachers are not paid adequately, raising the pay scale would ensure that our children are left in the hands of quality educators. One way teachers can be sufficiently compensated is by merit pay. The formula is simple; as test scores and evaluations rise, so would the teachers’ salaries. Although controversial, it is just one of many
... a few hours here and a few hours there and that is that… a few hours of potentially wasted time. I don’t want to be forced to attend a PD that isn’t relevant to my curriculum—I’m hungry for knowledge but I need it to be applicable (much as our students need to see the value). I believe that with a shift in teacher training you’d naturally see an increase of ability and confidence in the classroom. With a better-prepared and educated teacher than an increase in salary seems fair. Hancock (2011) boasts that teachers are given identical rank with doctors and lawyers and paid accordingly. While I never entered into teaching for the pay, I can honestly say that I’ve often been defeated at the amount of extras that are placed before us with little compensation. It would certainly encourage educators to work harder and smarter if they felt as though they were appreciated.
Some locations in the United States are trying to improve their education by adding quality teachers. A major reason why there is an achievement gap in education is because there exist a gap in teachers as well. Research has shown that teacher quality counts. Some states are seeking ways to keep quality teachers and ways to attract them. In New York City, the schools will not hire teachers that are not certified. Also, New York and California are adding some sort of incentive in public schools, to attract quality teaching to minority schools. Sometimes school add annual bonus up to $10,000 for qualify teacher to work in public school, with low achieving schools. Also, many state provide some sort of tuition assistance for teacher, but of all of the states only seven target the candidates to commit to the lower achieving schools (Olsen, 2003).
Teachers and theorists have played a huge role through out history. There are those that have dedicated their lives to learning and investing in tools and strategies to help children succeed and grow with their development. There are those that have created schools, programs and set standards for teachers that are even used in todays school systems. This gives teachers the opportunity to adapt to any personality and give that child the best care and education they deserve. With that being said, there is a lot of weight that can be on a teachers shoulders but people may often overlook these very important people. The pay may not be the best in this particular field, but that is not the reason they do what they do. This specific group loves children and love what they do. The reward for them is seeing that child succeed no matter how young or small they may be. These amazing folks are sometimes even labeled heroes for the impact they can really do in a young persons life. They are changing peoples lives with the investment they make everyday. With teachers investing in children's lives in the beginning with programs like Head Start and Pre-Kindergarten, America will have and has seen brilliant and successful people.