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A Reflection on Performance Pay for Educators

Essay by   •  July 19, 2011  •  Case Study  •  378 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,022 Views

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Reflection: Pay for Performance

The debate for performance pay for teachers is in full swing. Many states, including Massachusetts have adopted the new plan as part of a requirement to receive federal funds from Race to the Top. The debate is not new in our field, however; we will now start to see the effects of how this system will affect education. Many questions remain. One of the main areas of concern among educators is how will non-tested areas be held accountable for their performance. Because the cheapest way to evaluate teachers is by test scores, student achievement will now play a large role in evaluations. Many believe that new tests will be developed in order to obtain the student achievement data necessary. Despite these critical questions, some of the underlying reasons for instituting such a system are insulting to many. For example, some believe that incentivized teachers will work harder and produce better results. Although some in the profession may not be working "hard" now, many are and I don't believe the money will make a difference. Most people who enter the teaching the profession are not working for the money. If money was the motivating factor, most of us would have chosen another profession. One of the major concerns, I and many others have, is whether such a system can be fair and equitable. Test scores are going to be used, but every class, every student is different. In some schools students are clumped together based on educational needs. Is it really fair to base evaluations on a tests scores, for a teacher who has a class of 16, where 12 of these students are on IEP's and below grade level (when the test is based on grade level material)? I do not think that it is. I believe that we have a long way to go before this system can be managed fairly. There are still many decisions and battles to be had over the new system, until the specific details are ironed out, I am not in favor of performance pay. To me, the system is a way to scrutinize student performance and penalize teachers who are not meeting "expectations", rather than a way to make the pay system in education fair.

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