Essay Should Teacher Pay Be Based On Student Test Scores?

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For years, educators and government officials have argued what the most effective system of payment is for teachers in the United States. Government officials state that a “merit pay” system, where teacher pay would reflect the students’ test scores, would be the most effective and would increase teacher performance. Teachers, on the other hand, see the merit pay system as a threat to their salaries and fear that they cannot control student performance. The debate will continue for years to come. However, many people will agree that set teacher salary systems are more conducive to teaching students and maintaining a stable learning environment for all.
Merit pay, also known as performance pay, systems have existed since 1862.
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Recently, President Obama’s administration has made a push to revisit a merit pay salary plan. Although very few merit pay systems have lasted since the 1990s, Obama and other politicians have created a “Race to the Top” program in hopes of increasing popularity of performance pay plans. By creating this $4.3 billion fund, government officials hope to give teachers the incentive to advance their careers and reform the current single-salary system that has been in place for fifty years (Rosales). In his 2007 speech as Senator, Barack Obama discussed his plans for his education reform. He mentioned that quality teachers deserve pay increases, teachers in “tough-to-staff” subjects should get more bonuses, and instructors who help their students excel in the classroom need higher salaries (Smarick). However, Obama made it very clear that he thought teachers should be heavily involved with the decisions that the government would make and was adamant that unions and collective bargaining were to be used in this reform process. The government, like Obama, wants to make sure that teachers feel they are included in all decisions so they do not feel as if they are being forced into a program they do not want. Instead of causing schools to feel threatened, the government plans to set up “reform initiatives” that offer additional funds to school districts that agree to attempt to stray away from the single salary schedule

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