No to merit pay

Nashville teachers have rejected $400,000 in extra pay because the money would be based on student performance, reports the Tennessean. A private donor offered the money to teachers at two low-performing elementary schools.

The three-year program would have rewarded each teacher with anywhere from $2,000 to $6,000 based on students’ overall performance compared with last school year, said Marsha Warden, school board chairwoman. If successful, the plan was to be expanded to more schools.

While an informal poll of teachers at the two schools showed strong support for the bonus plan, 51 percent of union members voted “no,” scuttling the idea.

About Joanne


  1. Ross the Heartless Conservative says:

    I am guessing that will make the union very popular.

  2. Let me know when a reasonable assessment of “overall student performence” is available. Since the variance of students is widely extreme, I doubt you will find one.

  3. And you let me know when the notion that teacher performance varies widely becomes an acceptable topic for polite conversation.

    The notion that student attainments can’t be measured would funny if the results weren’t so tragic.

  4. Brett Pawlowski says:

    Tennessee has the single best value-added assessment system in the country. It is entirely possible to measure individual student gains, state whether they are above or below a year-to-year achievement norm, and then judge teachers by how well their group of students performed.

    This was obviously a vote against the principle of performance-based pay, and not a judgement as to whether performance could be measured fairly.

  5. Ross the Heartless Conservative says:

    Let me know when a reasonable assessment of “overall student performence” is available.

    Just thought I would let you know, it is available. Set objective standards of the outcomes you want and then test according to those standards. Of course there is no such thing as a perfect test and there never will be. But to use that as an excuse to do nothing is tragic when we are cheating kids of a proper education.

    Merit pay is not a perfect solution and there are arguements against it but the lack of a reasonable test is not one of them. Personally, I believe that trying merit pay in underperforming schools is worth trying. Any teacher who does not want to participate should not be forced to do so though.

    As an aside, I have no doubt that Coach Brown is an honorable and decent person who wants what is best for the children. The comments above are not meant as a personal attack but rather as a disagreement with an opinion.

  6. I am not an educator, merely the parent of a child who happens to attend one of the schools slated to be a part of the program. The union seems to be displaying an incredible amount of arrogance in this situation. They have refused to offer any informatiuon about how many teachers voted, and questions about the vote from the school board chair have been met with responses stating that she is on “thin ice” for asking. Now the union has suggested giving the money to individual students who are high achievers.
    I am extremely unhappy with the union. I’m unhappy that the union has so much influence on a system that I support with my tax dollars. I guess the only thing left is to cough up the money for a private school.
    There is, by the way, a great deal more to this than Joanne could cover in her original post. Try Googling Kay Brooks, Nathan Moore, Nashville Scene, MNEA.

  7. Wayne Martin says:

    > There is, by the way, a great deal more to this
    > than Joanne could cover in her original post.

    There always is ..