Here's a July '09 NM Independent article
on our state education Secretary Veronica Garcia's proposal to study merit pay.
Luckily, Garcia knows the pitfalls of tying judgement to standardized test scores:
"Garcia and others say merit pay is worth considering, but only if a more comprehensive set of data than student standardized test scores is used to assess teachers."
I just ran across an interesting sharing
of teachers' opinions on teacher education in the New York Times' "Room for Debate" column.
Here is the first comment, which is a very good argument AGAINST merit pay ...
"The Value of Epiphanies
I teach high school English and journalism, and have for more than twenty years. The students in my journalism classes are among the highest achieving students in the school; traditionally more than half of the top ten students each year are in enrolled in my classes. During the summer and after school I teach remedial English skills to students who did not pass our state standardized test.
To evaluate and pay teachers according to student performance based on standardized test scores will not produce better teachers, or better students. If a teacher helps a non-reader to become a reader, if a teacher helps a student realize the value of knowing how to write well, if a teacher opens up just a small window for further learning to occur, he is a fine teacher. Extra pay is not given to teachers who provide epiphanies and a foundation for lifelong learning. How sad it would be to give extra pay to teachers who turn out top-notch standardized test-takers.
As this issue receives more attention (President Obama supports it), is there anything you would like to "get off your chest?"
Do you think a "just" system could be developed for merit pay for teachers, or not?