Wednesday, March 11, 2009

An idea with no "merit."

Dear Mr. President:

You mentioned the subject of merit pay for teachers. Did I happen to miss the development of a metric that can accurately and comparatively evaluate teachers? If I didn't miss anything, then you're talking NCLB II and the disastrous folly of teaching to the test..after test..after test.

Mr. President, children are not widgets, and education is not a commodity. Education is a cumulative, cooperative and socially dynamic process that cannot be defined, assessed or quantified by a scantron sheet. Sir, there are many things we can do to improve education, and I applaud you for your interest in an area where your predecessor only wanted to privatize and theocratize education. I'm sure you have many good ideas on the subject. This, however, isn't one of them.

1 comment:

I'm Not Ned said...

First I have no answers for this.

Second, as someone outside the education system, I can understand the idea behind some form of merit award for teachers.

Teaching and teachers are a conundrum. We desperately need them and we need the best we can find. It's no simple task to be a good teach. It can, however, be a simple task to just show up and repeat the curricula of the past 50 years and not care about the students as individuals who might not fit one teachers idea of a good student.

But then we (society) pay them a mediocre wage and give them minimal respect.

I've known too many teachers who quite because of fellow teachers fighting against teaching updated information. I've seen others who sit on their ass and not teach a damn thing because they're at the top of their scale so why put forth the effort?

Some sort of merit for excellence would be one way to recognize those who go that extra step and help that non-standardized child. It might also be a motivational tool so others don't just show up.

I have no idea how to identify those teachers deserving recognition for their work but somebody must know who they are.