Merit Pay for Teachers?

Merit Pay for Teachers?



          Why do many politicians and educational administrators say that each child is a special, unique, and different individual, yet argue that merit pay for teachers based upon the standardized test scores of their students should be implemented, as though each pupil were the same? All sides of the merit pay issue seek a fair solution to their debatable question.

          One must understand that, theoretically, teachers of an excellent, untroubled student whose score improves on a standardized test might not really be teaching as well as those who instruct a mediocre, troubled student whose score improves less or even remains the same. Under the current structure, judging a teacher’s success based solely upon the standardized test scores of one’s students is as disgraceful as evaluating someone’s character only from that person’s appearance. Also, in the higher grades where pupils have multiple instructors, how can one fairly decide who should receive credit and to what extent for a child’s growth?

          After extensive research, reflection, and analysis, I have devised a system for rating each teacher’s worth in qualifying for extra financial compensation in this matter. A board of experts must be established consisting of a police detective, substance abuse counselor, psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, special education authority, mental health diagnostician, dietitian, data interpretation specialist, and perhaps even others if there is space in the room in order to examine, judge, and then rate each child on a scale of 1-10 in the following categories, all of which affect learning:

1) Parents’ educational and economic status

2) Parents’ involvement in child’s education

3) Family unity (divorce, abuse, abandonment, any tragedies)

4) Child’s physical, mental, and emotional health

5) Child’s level of motivation and self-esteem

6) Hereditary and environmental factors affecting each child

7) Child’s test -taking ability

8) Others I have omitted

          After each child is rated, school classes must be perfectly leveled so that each teacher has exactly the same total number when all student designations are added. If numerical rating equality cannot be achieved for each class among all involved teachers, then a mathematical formula must be devised in determining final results so that no teacher is penalized for having “less capable” individuals with which to work. In order to prepare for this eventuality, I am currently awaiting a response from a distinguished group of professors at MIT to solve this problem.


          When my system is adopted and the consuming issue of merit pay for improved student scores on the almighty standardized tests is settled, we need to decide what financial recognition should be awarded to teachers who promote growth in community service, raise a student’s self-esteem, provide guidance in family difficulties, devise and artfully manage culturally enhancing programs, spend countless after-school hours (beyond contractual obligations) to enrich students in a variety of ways or simply just to “be there” for them, etc., etc., etc.. Genuinely devoted teachers understand the essence of their mission, and it is far removed from only bowing at the altar of standardized testing.