A new survey shows that teachers entering the workforce are more open to accepting changes pushed for by education reform advocates, such as linking pay and promotions to performance, than their longer-serving peers.
|Merit pay works.|
I have been teaching for nearly thirty years. I have seen, or developed, or participated in, many reforms over those years. Many of those reforms stunk, were stupid, wrongheaded, but they were all promising fundamental change that would help our students. That's why we tried them.
Some reforms succeeded beyond our wildest dreams ... special ed foremost among them. I can remember times when students were pushed into a closet and ignored because they were troublesome. I can remember when students were ignored if they had a learning disability. IDEA helped change that culture and changed many lives. We have to reach a balance between the two extremes but overall, that change is good.
If, on the other hand, a reform failed before, and the new reform looks very much like the old reform, should I ignore the similarity and forge onward? Should I forget that I am being paid more than those new teachers ... mostly because of experience teaching ... should I forget that experience and forge onward with the "new" idea? Should I forget the mistakes I have made and make them again?
No, no, a thousand times, NO.
I truly feel that some of the loudest voices are those who are most wrongheaded. Merit pay is a bad idea. I have seen it fail and I have no desire to see it fail again.
I would be happy to see reforms "such as linking pay and promotions to performance" if only someone could explain how to measure that and who would measure that. It would be nice if anyone had the least bit of research that said this type of scheme actually worked. (See Dan Pink, below)
In the past decade or so, my principals have embraced "Verbatim Observations" - writing down every word said in the room instead of simply watching and listening. This happens once a year. If you think I'm going to accept letting $5000 rest on that flimsy an evaluation, you are sadly mistaken.
If you insist $5000 of my income be based on my students' performance on a single test, try again. I will do everything in my power to stack the deck - against the test, against my colleagues, against the scheduler. That kid who's not working very hard - move him out. That kid in the other teacher's class - "sorry, too busy". Letting the department in on a great project? Not a chance. Cooperation in department meetings and curriculum development? Not if it means I am at a disadvantage when bonuses come out. If another teacher needs help with technology ... "I haven't tried that yet. I don't know."
|You need to watch this.|
Yet merit pay is high on the reformers list and high on the New Teachers' list.
Specifically, while veteran teachers broadly reject the idea that student achievement metrics should be a part of teacher evaluation, newer teachers were much more open to the idea. The younger teachers went even further, broadly supporting the idea that student growth should play not just a role, but should be a substantial factor in judging instructor effectiveness. While veteran teachers rejected the idea outright, those with ten years of experience or less thought that it should make up at least 20% of the final assessment score.If you are a new teacher and you disagree with me because you think I'm wrong and here's why ...fine. I'll listen and then offer my experience because you might not realize, with your fresh newly printed certification, that you don't have all the answers.
You might not realize how wrong you are.
Finally, we asked teachers if they would be willing to replace the current compensation and tenure systems with a performance-based system with much higher starting and top salaries. Here, New Majority teachers are far more supportive of a change to the status quo; specifically, 42 percent of New Majority teachers and just 15 percent of veteran teachers support such a change.Before you reject my resistance as silly, ask WHY.