A student on teacher pay

Here’s a high school student’s view on paying more to teachers who are exceptionally effective or who take hard-to-fill jobs.

About Joanne


  1. SuperSub says:

    We can’t have a merit pay system for teachers! It would be completely unfair to those who aren’t truly qualified and those who don’t make a significant effort in the job. Luckily, the unions will squash any proposal like this to protect their two most important constituencies.

  2. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Why not just institute tipping?
    Another suggestion was to make teacher retirement a percentage of the income of their students.

  3. “Another suggestion was to make teacher retirement a percentage of the income of their students.”

    Or better yet, figure out a way to objectively measure the real happiness and productivity of these students and ex-students, and base teacher retirement pay on that. This is impossible, but a nice idea anyway.

    Another idea, start with a base amount for retirement pay. Track all the teacher’s students and ex-students, and for each suicide, cut income in half!

  4. Katherine C says:

    We can’t have merit pay for teachers because it wouldn’t really reward the teachers for making an effort with the students. It would reward the teachers who believe in the standardized testing system and that facts are all that matters. It would reward teacher’s who are complacent and refuse to rock the boat. Otherside they could receive a bad evaluation. Teachers who challenge the system? Teachers who want their students to learn to think rather than just memorize? These teachers would be considered unqualified. Of course, that’s today. Five years down the road the tide might turn. Then all the teachers considered for merit pay now would be considered horrible then, as the idea of what makes a good teacher and what constitutes a good education would have changed.

  5. SuperSub says:

    Katherine, any system that rewards “merit” would have to clearly define what is considered merit. The definition would probably rely upon an objective measuring of the student’s progress, probably grades of students’ tests and other assignments.
    As for your comments on memorization/rote learning and “teaching to the test,” both of these are established concepts in teaching. Memorization is an important method by which to teach basic facts that are required for higher level learning and work. In calculus I was able to solve any problem my teacher threw at me simply because I had memorized all of the basic rules and operations, and could quickly recall and apply them to the problem I faced, no matter the style or format of the question.
    As for “teaching to the test,” its really no different than teaching from a syllabus. Both simply define the goals for the students’ learning for the period, and the teacher plans his/her lessons around them. This has been a goal of NCLB… by requiring standardized testing, it ensures that students will be learning the same material no matter what school they attend, depending on the qualifications of the teacher.

  6. Walter E. Wallis says:

    The biggest problem with doing nothing is how to know when you are done. If education cannot be measured then screw it. Buy every kid a wide screen TV and a 12 year subscription to Sesame Street.

  7. Nice article but there’s the usual hand-waving when it comes to the specifics of how to set up an accountability program. Not that accountability isn’t necessary – it’s way past due – but like most writers on the subject, Pamela Evers shies away from the direction that accountability inevitably leads.

    There’s a bit of discussion about differential pay based on the difficulty of filling the position which has some merit. But that runs smack into the unions who are unbending on seniority as a primary means of differentiating pay with meaningless EdDs as the secondary yardstick.

    Pamela Evers, like virtually everyone who writes about education, reflexively avoids the conclusion that a useful accountability process precludes tax-supported, mandatory-attendance public education. You can have the one or the other but you can’t have both.