Merit pay, an anathema for teachers’ unions?

It seems simple. Someone does a great job and he is rewarded – typically with more money in a capitalistic society. If he does a poor job; he is not rewarded. In many facets of business and society, it works brilliantly. Common sense tells us that creating a such a sytem would motivate any employee, including teachers:

Bush seeks teacher merit-pay funds

President Bush wants more money in the 2008 budget for a fund that encourages performance-based pay systems for teachers — a request that will no doubt feed into the larger debate on Capitol Hill about how best to attract, create and retain effective teachers.

The administration is asking for $199 million for its Teacher Incentive Fund, which was created in 2006. The fund provides financial incentives for teachers and principals who improve student achievement in high-poverty schools and helps to recruit top teachers to these schools. Rewards are left up to the states to decide and can include bonuses or raises.

Dangle reward. Do well. Receive reward. It’s not climatological science! We’re taught this system as very young children even before we enter school. A reward is often a motivator for good behavior, completing chores, kissing Great Aunt Ethel. For children entering school, grades become the reward; though some teachers have been known to give out candy and trinkets to motivate their students. Public school teachers are well aware of this cause and effect response.

However, public school teachers are union members and the rules of the motivation system somehow do not apply.

The top teachers union has criticized the fund.

Reg Weaver, president of the National Education Association, recently said the setup “is nothing more than a merit-pay system, and merit pay hasn’t worked wherever it has been tried, for the most part.”

Far from spurring teachers on to greater effectiveness, extra bonuses for some and not others simply “creates tension” between teachers and kills any teamwork, he said.

“It doesn’t work and it’s not going to do anything to attract and retain quality teachers,” Mr. Weaver said. What will work is getting teachers involved in the decision-making process, giving them a safe and orderly school and a decent salary, he said.

My question is, what does motivate our public school teachers to do their best? If it’s pride in their job and students, then why would attractive salaries be a motivator? Reg Weaver is wrong and his positing otherwise is a glaring show of the disconnection between teachers’ unions and reality.



  1. Leonard DiSalvo said

    So in the five years plus since 9/11/01, we can put together a list of NINE or so extremist Muslims involved in violence in America.

    Should the entire religion of Islam be held accountable for this very small nunber? What’s your opinion?

    You sound interested in thise case, you should do further research rather than get involved in Schlussel hysteria. The reason the cops didn’t take the murderer’s computer is, the kid didn’t have one.

  2. My opinion is that terrorist motive should be looked into as a possible cause for Talovic’s actions. Even his own family seems to have questions like that.

    If you go back and read:

    None of these were terrorist attacks in the sense that they were planned and executed by al-Qaeda agents. And it is possible that all of them were products of nothing more ideologically significant than a disturbed mental state, although it is at least noteworthy that each attacker explained his actions in terms of Islamic terrorism.

    How is questioning Talovic’s motives holding the entire religion of Islam accountable?

    Thank you for the info on the computer – I will update.

  3. Leonard DiSalvo said

    “How is questioning Talovic’s motives holding the entire religion of Islam accountable?”

    It’s not. I was asking your opinion, my apologies for not making myself clear.

    When I see you quote Debbie Schlussel, I assume you are sympathetic to her and her sycophants’ point of view, which is: eliminate all Muslims.

    And I was wondering if you share that view.

    Today, Schussel is calling the Salt Lake City PD suspect in this case, and she says they are probably lying in this case. Mind you, these officers risked their lives to stop further bloodshed in the mall shooting, and this is what they get from Ms. Schlussel. All because she misinterpreted what the Salt Lake Tribune reported in the case. I find her to be despicable.

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