TED Conversations

Yohann Cauwenbergh

Student, Business Engineering, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium

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What do you think of merit-based pay for teachers?

I don't know if the question is still relevant, I haven't followed it until recently but I heard it was quiet a debate at the Presidential election and wanted to know what he TED community thought of this.
Is merit-based pay for teachers a good idea... There are a lot of pros and cons about the topic: Will it help the education of the students (the main goal of the would-be arrangement)? Will the amount of teachers have a positive boost? Will it make the teachers too competitive, lessening the cooperation between them?

Please write your ideas.

(English is not my first language so excuse the grammatical errors and easy language)

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    Nov 30 2012: I can't think of many occupations other than teachers, firefighters, and police that seem to suggest that each and everyone of them are all outstanding at what they do. They're not. As with every other occupation there is a bell shaped curve of competence with exceptionally good and bad at the extremes, most everyone else towards the middle.

    Why shouldn't there be performance reviews tied to their "product", which is educated students? I know they don't control the flow of resources necessary to do their jobs but what group of workers does?
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      Nov 30 2012: Of course there are annual performance reviews for teachers! No one questions the desirability of that! And ratings typically vary from some form of "needs improvement" to "outstanding."

      The question here is, rather, whether their pay should be based on a formula that adds pay in relation to how much specifically a student grew in their subjects that year. Should a teacher whose students achieved 14 months of growth in the year be paid more than someone whose students made a year's worth of growth in the year, however those are measured?

      That, not performance reviews, is the question.
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        Nov 30 2012: Hi Fritzie,.

        "Of course there are annual performance reviews for teachers! No one questions the desirability of that!"

        That isn't the situation here in the US and I am remiss in not making clear that is what I was referring to. I assumed Yohann's question had to do with the US given his reference to the presidential election, but maybe not ("I don't know if the question is still relevant, I haven't followed it until recently but I heard it was quiet a debate at the Presidential election and wanted to know what he TED community thought of this.")

        There are (US) teachers who favor pay tied to performance but there are far more who don't, not at least reviews tied to grades or student "growth" as you called it. Yohann was correct in saying that was a big debate in the US and not just during to the recent presidential election. It is ongoing with teaches largely united and politically very active through their teacher unions. However given the dismal and getting worse results coming from our schools there is a growing sense that something has to change.

        I am in favor of advancement and pay tied to student academic achievement but will leave the details of how best to do that to those who better understand the issues than I do.

        Bill
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          Dec 1 2012: Are there places you know of in the United States where teachers are not subject to performance reviews? That comes as a surprise to me.

          I know 50% of states require teacher evaluations that are based in part on measures of student growth.

          Where are you thinking has no teacher performance evaluations?
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          Dec 1 2012: I hear what you are saying Bill, but the with any bonus system the devil is always in picking the metric. The one true metric is the market place and that is how it should work imo. This eliminates the inevitable gaming of the system and gets rid of the bubbles that are inevitable with government involvement. So my suggestion would be a bigger threat to teachers which would be privatize the whole deal especially at the federal level. On the other hand someone like Fritzie would make more money as she should because you can tell she is in for the purpose not the money. But most state college professors would want to kill me, but they would have to get in line.

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