WILL TEACHERS’ PAY SOON BE BASED ON MERIT, THROUGHOUT AMERICA?

Florida and Idaho are considering requiring the writing merit pay into each of the States’ public school teachers’ contracts; President Obama an Secretary of Education Arne Duncan have expressed their opinion that public school teachers should be paid on a basis of their merit as a teacher.   Florida and Idaho Push For Merit Pay Could Set A National Precedent For Teachers Contracts, Huffington Post 3/11/11.

It’s unfortunate that Americans, including the President, the Secretary of Education, and other high ranking politicians, do not understand that America’s public schools are and are required to be totally democratic.

First there is no agreement on how teachers should be evaluated; there are too many variables to do it scientifically.  Standard Achievement Tests (SATs) scores of students, measure only some cognitive (memory) learning and they do not measure teaching.  More important, learning of a kind that teaches students to do something, or to be physically capable of doing something is much more important than memorizing answers to the SATs.  There is much more to teaching and learning than SATs measure.

More important, once politicians have decided which teachers are meritorious, how are they going to decide which students get the meritorious teacher and which students are assigned the crummy teachers who are not meritorious, democratically that is; will American students soon have SEPARATE AND UNEQUAL education? Who is going to make the democratic decision about assignment of teachers?

Every State currently has teacher licensing requirements.  If a teacher is qualified, the teacher is licensed; all teachers are licensed and EQUALLY qualified to teach.  With merit pay, a situation is created were some teachers are MORE EQUALLY qualified that others.  Holy Crap, President Obama, are you sure that you want to get into that fight IN EVERY SCHOOL IN AMERICA EVERY NEW SEMESTER ?

Personally, I had a lifetime career teaching in public schools; in my lifetime, I never had the opportunity or desire to tell other teachers that “I am a meritorious teacher and you are not.”  I really wouldn’t want to do that.

One thing is absolutely true and can be easily verified scientifically.  Every student, every parent, every school administrator, every taxpayer, and every politician including President Obama and Secretary of Education Duncan are positive that they can accurately evaluate teachers; just ask them!  Of all the people who feel qualified to judge my teaching, the only authority that I would accept would be my students; they actually know.

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