No Paycheck for Me

President Merit Pay wants my paycheck to reflect the standardized test scores of my students. If the scores go up, my paycheck goes up. If the scores go down, my paycheck goes down.

President Merit Pay should meet my students. All of them have learning disabilities. Two of my sixth-graders can’t read. They have virtually no phonemic awareness. They recognize a few simple words—a, an, and, the, but—and that’s about it.

All of the kids I work with read far below grade level. An average third-grader can out-read my students. How are they supposed to comprehend a standardized test written at grade level?

Yet President Merit Pay wants my paycheck to be based on what my students cannot do.

I guess that means no paycheck for me.

Posted on November 5, 2009, in highly qualified teachers, merit pay. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. I would say he ‘just doesn’t get it’! It is so upsetting to learn
    that there are so many learning disabilities that are not being addressed early enough and how professionals like yourself
    are treated. Yours is a tough situation that needs to be addressed –
    any chance the parents can help here?

  2. if this happens, i won’t get a paycheck either. i teach music classes – my kids don’t even take a test. so, if i get paid based on test scores, they won’t pay me either.

    • Dawn Everett Grobe

      @mrsgee
      Me too! I teach technology and literacy. My students’ tech skills aren’t tested and my literacy students (first and second) aren’t tested until third grade.

      And why should a sixth grade teacher get penalized because their students can’t read? Shouldn’t they have learned to read (if they have the capability) in kindergarten, first, and second?

      To reference the NCLB/dentist analogy, do you pay your dentist more because you have fewer cavities?

  3. Obama thinks he can throw money at problems and solve them instead of working to get to the heart of the issues. Merit pay does not work!

  4. That may be so, but I don’t believe merit pay enthusiasts really wish to pay teachers more. I think the idea is to keep pay low, and to have them jumping for carrots on sticks. The carrots I’ve seen are generally not large enough to even make the jump worth it.

    The point that merit pay doesn’t work is a good one, covered in detail elsewhere, and the larger point is those without merit ought not to be teaching in the first place. Why would anyone hire such people?

  5. Let’s pay the president based on how the economy is doing–how bout that?

  6. “Let’s pay the president based on how the economy is doing–how bout that?” Hmm – then the president will claim that the reason the economy is the way it is, is because of what his predecessor did! But wait, can’t teachers claim the same thing – the reason the kids aren’t doing well is because of the teachers’ predecessors (i.e. the kids’ families!) Oh, but it’s SO much more complicated than that!

    Merit pay=a bad idea! If you want a job that pays ‘merit pay’, go work on commission in sales!

  7. my daughter is a first year 1st grade teacher in houston. she was just telling me about this last night. there are 3 first grades in her school….the bilingual, the gifted, & my daughter has everyone else. her kids sound alot like yours. she’s putting in about 20 extra hours a week to be the best she can….this idea sucks!

  8. If they only realized that you all work harder than some of those teachers who do get the merit pay, based on those achievers who would get it with the poorest teacher.

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