Against Merit Pay for Teachers Essay example

1962 Words 8 Pages
I. Introduction
The dispute surrounding merit pay for teachers has existed for decades in many countries across the globe. The debate has been particularly heated in the United States. Since the 1920s, public schools began awarding pay mostly according to title, and seniority rather than merit. Numerous attempts have been made to introduce merit pay systems throughout this period, but it never gained widespread popularity on a national level. Now, however, political leaders such as Barack Obama have supported merit pay for teachers. This has reinvigorated the debate, with many groups falling on either side. The National Education Association, for example, has opposed merit pay, while the United Federation of Teachers supports the idea. The
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In response to the 2010 Phi Delta Kappa Gallop Poll, 71% of respondents expressed support for paying teachers on the basis of work, as opposed to relying totally on traditional pay schedules, while 73% indicated that a teacher's salary should be tied to student academic achievement (Protheroe, 2011). These statistics indicate that should the public have any say in the manner, merit pay may be a thing of the future.
Many agree that there is nothing that better defines a first-rate school than the quality and performance of its instructional staff (Drevitch, 2006). But, what is the true definition of a quality teacher performance? What is the definition of a successfully performing student? Before performance-based compensation can be implemented, it requires a clear and obvious definition (Gratz, 2010).
Another good question regarding education is if poor teaching causes low test scores, then what causes poor teaching? Test-based compensation plans suggest that the primary cause is teacher motivation and therefore believe that financial incentives, such as merit pay, are the solution. It has been suggested that one reason teachers are not trying is because they are not motivated (Gratz, 2010).
Currently most school districts pay teachers using an old style salary scale, which was adopted nearly a century ago. The scale contains steps that provide teachers with annual raises for each year of experience. Teachers with a higher education are compensated for their

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