Merit Pay Essay

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Imagine if a chef was paid based off of customer satisfaction, is that fair? Probably not, so why do we have merit pay for teachers? What is Merit Pay or Performance Pay? Definitions of teacher performance pay take different forms. For example, many districts pay experienced teachers to mentor new teachers, serve as curriculum specialists or in similar posts, or teach inner-city schools. The most common and controversial proposal is to pay teachers on the basis of their students standardized test scores. Performance pay is one of several areas getting attention right now as education reformers zero in on high-quality teaching as the key to helping students learn. The thinking goes like this: it takes good teachers to improve student achievement, and it will take better pay to lure and keep good teachers. Such plans have been tried as long as a century ago, but few have lasted very long. Even in the past 25 years merit pay for teachers has been tried in parts of the United States, yet almost all of these experiments lasted only a few years. Merit pay for teachers should not be used because it is insulting, it falsely assumes that it will solve problems that kill education, and it undermines teachers' passion for teaching. One of the major problems with merit pay is that it is insulting. Ravitch says, “Merit pay is an insult to our professionalism and a divisive tool designed to incite dissension among us in hopes of weakening our union, which is not only a political organization, but also a professional one, intended to protect the interest of both educators and students” (Ravitch 1). “There are many reasons we do not like it. We understand that students’ educational success does not come down to individual teachers. Most teachers do not work alone. We work with each other, developing strategies, writing programs and sharing the teaching load, working in

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