June 18, 2007

Long Reviled, Merit Pay Gains Among Teachers - New York Times

Long Reviled, Merit Pay Gains Among Teachers - New York Times

The principle of merit pay for teachers is one I support. Although the idea seems to be gaining momentum in several places, I doubt that Vermont will be one of those places in the near future.

What the Times report doesn't state explicitly is whether the money for merit pay is carved out of the existing compensation pool for teachers or whether its an add-on to school budgets. I get the impression that its an adder, at least in the initial phases.

Vermont can ill afford higher school budgets, but I'd favor 'earmarking' some dollars that could be saved by school district consolidation to be targeted at a merit pay pool, as long as the criteria and the rules were well thought out.

The NEA seems to view merit pay as "inappropriate," probably because it's a threat to low-performing teachers who might leave the profession, thus reducing the dues received. Perhaps the union should consider a sliding scale dues structure whereby teachers making more, pay more. I wonder if the unions remained revenue neutral from dues, would they support merit pay? Why is it a benefit to the union or the profession to support continuously low-performing teachers? It's certainly not good for our children.
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