From the Trenches

Aiming for the middle ground.

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"A room without books is like a body without a soul."— Marcus Tullius Cicero

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Posts tagged "ed reform"


WASHINGTON — Teachers should have salaries starting at $60,000 and the opportunity to make up to $150,000 based on performance, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan told educators at the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards conference on Friday. “The field of teaching is poised for change,” Duncan said. “Many bright and committed young people are attracted to teaching, but surveys show they are reluctant to enter the field for the long-haul. They see it as low-paying and low-prestige.” In his speech, Duncan alluded to a new federal performance pay boost, but provided few details on where funding for it would come from or how it would work. When a teacher pressed him for the nitty-gritty on what he would do differently from here on out, Duncan responded by saying, “We’re trying to start a national conversation.”

Hmph… He’s trying to start a national conversation without providing any details about how to do it. The whole idea of merit pay makes me a little crazy. Who decides which teacher gets what? And how? There are so many variables to take into consideration! Just try getting teachers to take on the lowest scoring and poorest students if their pay is tied to achievement…

While there are certainly teachers out there who deserve to be ousted, administration should do a better job of evaluating them, providing support, and then not renewing them if improvement isn’t seen. It is a fallacy to think that teachers have their jobs for life, at least in the state I work in. I have seen several teachers lose their jobs for incompetency, but I have also seen administrators turn a blind eye on some teachers’ poor methodologies. When student achievement is on the line, merit pay doesn’t merit much. Pay teachers what they deserve in the first place.