Essay on Is Merit Pay For Teachers The Answer?

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When it comes to education, everyone has an opinion. But, does anyone truly have the perfect solution? One proposed solution bringing about debate in the last few years has been merit pay for teachers (Wright, 2003). As we know, teachers often receive the brunt of criticism from the public when it comes to the failure of education. But is merit pay the solution? Wright (2003) states that although there may be some validation to the idea of merit pay, there are also some serious concerns. As more public gains concern for the quality of education, the more interest the public has in teacher accountability and performance. A recent poll stated that there is much interest by the public in linking student performance to teacher …show more content…
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 advanced degrees. However, the only way a teacher can earn more salary is if the obtain additional education (Johnson-Moore & Papay, 2010). Again, the question that looms is, is merit pay the answer? Five states, including Arizona, Florida, Iowa, New Mexico, and North Carolina have adopted the method of merit pay, yet, according to public test scores, continue to achieve average test scores. Governor Mitt Romney is currently preparing a proposal for merit pay in Massachusetts (Hulleman & Barron, 2010). However, some states are now abandoning performance pay. Alaska, who had a three year program recently ended the program mainly due to friction with local unions. Iowa has recently eliminated their merit-pay program as well (Fleming 2011). As a form of merit pay, another alternative some school districts have chosen is to

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