Argument: Teacher merit is too hard to measure for merit-pay to be fair

Issue Report: Merit pay for teachers


Beth Lewis. “Pros and Cons of Merit Pay For Teachers”. “Success is difficult, if not impossible, to define and measure. No Child Left Behind (NCLB) has already proven how the various unleveled playing fields in the American education system inherently set up a wide variety of standards and expectations. Consider the diverse needs of English Language Learners, Special Education Students, and low income neighborhoods, and you’ll see why it would be opening a messy can of worms to define standards of success for American schools when the stakes are cash in the pockets of real teachers.”

Joseph Legueri. “Iron Range view: Merit pay proponents fail to understand facts of teaching”. Duluth News Tribune. May 19, 2009: “Also, teachers’ pay based upon student achievement can’t be made fair.

For example, a little more than one-third of all students will have to deal with their parents getting a divorce at some point. When the divorce occurs, many children are profoundly affected. Often, their attitude deteriorates and their schoolwork suffers. Although they’ve done well on past achievement tests, they may now decide it’s payback time and rush through tests to make their parents fret. Should the teacher’s paycheck also suffer?

All of us who have observed children have witnessed the phenomenon of the epiphany (a new grasp of reality).

One event that may bring on an epiphany is a 16-year-old’s new driver’s license. His parents have just told him he’ll have to get on the B honor roll so they can obtain a lower insurance rate. “Or else.” So this previously directionless sophomore starts to apply himself, his grades go up, and at the end of the year his achievement test scores are way better than they’ve ever been.

An epiphany also can occur when a previously directionless senior boy falls in love. His girl may look at him with those trusting eyes and he gets the message that he’s going to have to change his ways. So he adopts a manly new seriousness of purpose and applies himself. His grades go way up, and on the end-of-the-year achievement test he scores far better than he ever did before.

We all know that educating students is a team effort. Should a teacher be paid more because he was on the spot when several of his sophomores and seniors had an epiphany?”