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Merit Pay

Posted on 2011.07.29 at 14:43
Merit Pay. A group I'm a part of is discussing it. My biggest issue is that it puts the focus on the teacher rather than what is best for students. Teachers are more concerned about how they appear rather than doing what is best. Rather than sharing ideas with other teachers, they are now competing against them to look better than the rest. What is more disconcerting is the methods of determining teacher quality. Most of it is based upon one or a few opinions once a year rather than a way to determine what a student has actually learned--granted there isn't a good way to determine what a student has actually learned as it could take years for the student to become cognizant or fully develop the skill that was taught so it can be measured. What bothers me more is the number of people who are too busy complaining and being defensive rather than asking questions to hold the administration, school board, district, etc. accountable. Don't get me wrong, I am all for holding teachers accountable because there are some that shouldn't be teaching. However, we also need to hold administrators, evaluations, students, parents, etc. accountable as well. Otherwise the teachers are nothing more than a scapegoat for those unwilling to make true changes. Is this about low student achievement or firing crappy teachers? Are there so many crappy teachers that the kids can't learn? Or are there that many incompetent administrators that are not recognizing poor teaching and firing these teachers before tenure?

Basing it upon a festival rating will get you teachers dummy-ing down the music so they can get a superior rating rather than focusing on what they should be teaching. And you will be rewarding those teachers while penalizing the ones who perform well but not perfect because their music is at grade level. Not to mention it totally takes out the fact that some teachers have orchestras were nearly all students take private lessons and others can hardly afford to pay the school to use the school instrument and can't practice because they are forced to share. Evaluating me once a year, when I know some administrators don't even observe the ones they are evaluating, gives you a snapshot of my class on one day, at one moment, for a short period of time. It is in no way an accurate depiction of what I am teaching. The best evaluation I had was by an administrator that was in EVERY class EVERY week for A YEAR OR MORE. My "boss" hasn't seen me teach in over four years and has never actually stayed in my class long enough for my students to stop asking who she was--in TEN YEARS. Yet my "boss" is the music person and the principal (administrator) isn't.

Tell me who is holding the administration and evaluation process accountable and maybe we can have a discussion, until then this country is too chicken shit to actually take responsibility to make changes (as a whole anyway) so fuck off until you grow up. Think people, THINK!

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