Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Merit Pay: Friend or Foe?

President Obama has suggested merit pay for teachers. To weigh in on this situation, check this Vblob, Is Merit Pay the Right Way to Go?, which is a combination video and blog, and post to the Vblog itself as well as here. Feel free to copy and paste what you post on the Vblog here, or if you don't want to post to the Vblog, at least after listening to the video and reading some of the blog posts, share your comments by posting to our course blog. You can also let us know what you think of aVblog versus a regular blog. Do you think a Vblog would work well as a teaching tool, for instance. Why or why not? Have you seen other Vblogs? Okay, now you have several options for posting a comment: views on merit pay, views on a Vblog versus a standard blog, and Vblogs in teaching. After viewing the Vblog and posting a comment, you might want to check the HotChalk site further for teacher resources in general. Here is the link to the Vblog, or feel free to use the embedded link above.


Remember to post a comment on the course blog regarding any of the above questions.


Michelle said...

I think merit pay is a difficult one....firstly it is still new and there are no real standards set in place yet. After listening to the video and reading many of the blog comments I am still on the fence. I think it is a good idea IF used in the right way for the right purpose.
Is it going to be based on just testing like the CMT? What if you are a great teacher but the students are just not up to par and its not the teacher's fault? What about specials teachers? How will they be measured? It is also controversial when there is no national pay scale...I still don't think it is fair that depending on what district you teach in you may end up earning $10,000 more than Fred who teaches in the next town. Will the merit pay be the same or will it very by district?
What constitutes being a good teacher? Is it always about student achievement?
Coming from a national pay scale in England there is a similar program...however you have to have been teaching for 7 years in the public school system and then demonstrate how you get students to achieve through a portfolio of work. It is a lot of work and most teachers do receive it. I think Merit pay still has a long way to go....and as one of my colleagues had mentioned.... Obama said pre-presidency that he didn't think Merit pay was a good idea...now he's in office......

Elsa said...

Switching topics to VBlogs...I've never seen a VBlog before, but it's a really great medium. I think it would be great to use in class. Not only can students create a dialogue online, but they can practice public speaking and consider the difference between verbal and written communication. A speech is different than an essay, and by combining video and blogging students can practice and experiment which each medium. I would love to incorporate something like this into my curriculum. It reminds me of when I was in high school French, often we made videos, such as weather forecasts and whatnot to practice speaking. It would have been great to post our videos online. Then student can peer edit or respond to what other students created.

travis said...

I think the merit pay should be for the parents, not the teachers. The politics of education right now in this country is to hold teachers accountable; I am not against that per se but merit pay is not the way. Teachers can only work with the raw materials that they receive, however parents are the key to student learning, not teachers. I believe that learning starts and ends at home and teachers are merely the people that show the way. If you took money and gave it to families of need whose students were meeting success I am willing to bet that test scores would increase.

Diane said...

This is quite a hot topic and in fact, I am researching merit pay for teachers in another class and proposing it as a new hr policy for a school district (taking the role of a education advisor who has been hired to investigate this for a district!). I am for merit pay for teachers. I came from a corporate background where we did have bonus pay for exceeding goals. The bonus plan was comprised of several parts and gatekeepers. The goals (to achieve/exceed) were individually and group driven. So, you could impact the amount of your bonus for your own achievement but also the achievement of your team. I think the plan should be the same everywhere. For instance, all teachers have four components to the plan with two or three of those are individual such as completing BEST prgram, implementing a new initiative to improve student learning and exceeding test score goals (from previous year or goal for this year in your area) and then a team goal that entails CMT and/or CAPT tests.

My thought in supporting merit pay for teachers is that students will have the best teachers possible and the teachers who are not will be weeding out. I know that sounds harsh but we have a math teacher at my school right now who does such an injustice to our students -scores for all grades have gone down as the year as gone on. She has not improved on all the issues that have been pointed out to her by the principal, parents, students. I am not even sure a merit pay program would help in this situation but can certainly reward all the other teachers who are trying by going above and beyond and are seeing great results from their students.

Kathy V. said...

I think all teachers should be brought up to standards with training and guidance. The idea of one teacher earning more money than another for the same number of years teaching and education just does not sit well with me. Teachers need to work together and share together in cohesive fashion NOT to be competing with one another in any way, shape, or form. I believe that type of behavior would filter down to the students and create an edge between sudents and faculties. The various subjects taught and the combination of students within each classroom can be such a factor for varying degrees of success for students. I am not in favor of merit pay at all. I just can't imagine any way of coming up with an equitalble way to measure a student's success because of his or her teacher.

Dave said...

I find merit pay to be quite ludicrous. For one it's based on negative assumptions about teachers. That, somehow, the majority of teachers don't care enough about kids to want to do their job well.
It's the same kind of sick attitude that many adults hold about children--that they are untrustworthy (hence, some of the more primitive discipline plans).

Merit pay is primarily a tool of control. The objective standard for achievement is how students perform on a standardized test. If you want teachers to fall in line with the program you offer them a monetary incentive. The ones who refuse to play by the merit pay game can be singled out later as poor performers.

Michael Hatzikostantis said...

According to Travis's posting, "I think the merit pay should be for the parents, not the teachers. The politics of education right now in this country is to hold teachers accountable; I am not against that per se but merit pay is not the way. Teachers can only work with the raw materials that they receive, however parents are the key to student learning, not teachers." I agree with him 100%. I heard some stories during my student teaching placement that made my skill crawl. One student actually told a teacher that he cannot receive detentions because his mother is friends with the school principal. How can students learn in such a disruptive classroom. It is not the fault of teachers, bur rather, the parents/guardians. Parents do not take responsibility for their children and "pass-the-buck" to teachers who are charged with teaching content.
The merit pay creates unnecessary competition between teachers. Teachers not only have to compete for a few dollars raise if money exists in the budget, but also, work over and above their already hectic schedule to "prove" they deserve a small raise.
This is not a way to promote a positive atmosphere in American schools. Parents should discipline their children so that teachers can actually perform the duties they were originally charged to perform.
I welcome any opposing views!