Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Merit-Based Pay, Liars, Cop-outs and Incompetence

The article above from the Associated Press regarding teachers unions that are starting to embrace merit-based pay reminded me that I had a few thoughts on the subject.

Let me tell you about the system that I am a part of though. I teach ninth grade English. I get the same bonus as the twelfth grade English teacher who refuses to teach anything all day long. His students have already passed the test on which the bonus in our state is based. Our administration continues to "reward" him with a six classes of twelfth-grade students because they know that he won't DO anything. Apparently, these students are less important and their educations more expendable because they have already passed the state test upon which our administration is judged.

Oh ... it is so frustrating! If a merit-based pay program is going to be put into effect and really, really work, then the people need to stop being politically correct and actually just be correct in their implementation of the program. Why did that man get the same bonus as I on Friday? Explain that to me. Did he stay after school five days a week? No. I could see him from my window leaving when the bell rang. Did he teach any of his curriculum? No. My former students who had him last year complained that they didn't do anything and expressed concern about their first year of English at the college level.

Why, if our administration know that this man doesn't do anything, are they forced to retain him in his position? That goes back to the John Stossel report. This guy is just one sad example of many in my experience and I teach at a high school that is ranked within the top 150 high schools in the United States. Sad, sad, sad.

I became National Board Certified as soon as I was eligible because that was a bonus in which I felt I could believe, that was an accolade about which I could be proud, that was an achievement for which I was willing to work. Then ... I started learning about teachers who repeatedly falsified documentation so that they could pass the "documented accomplishments" portion of their portfolio entries. One national board teacher would actually write fake letters from parents in praise of a fellow national board candidate. Both passed. Both continue to collect bonus money for fake achievements. Both mentor upcoming candidates and get money for that as well. Sad, sad, sad. Yet, there are teachers out there like me who actually had accomplishments, who actually received letters from parents and students, who actually taught at conventions, who actually did things to help further the causes of education ... it is so frustrating.

I had a friend who became an administrator. When this friend did not pass her boards, this friend walked around telling everyone that the a certain percentage of people have to fail in order for the program to make money on retakes. Really? Now, this person is an administrator. How much respect do you think this person really has, then, for the teachers under her authority who are working hard to achieve these kinds of above-and-beyond certifications? Not much. This person, no longer a friend, is a stellar administrator in the county. This person is, in fact, just the kind of administrator they look for. What does that tell you?

1 comment:

  1. You can't fall "further behind" anyone or anything. The word you are looking for is "farther," and it really seems like you should know that. Please avoid trying to teach anyone that lesson plan.