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March 22, 2010 – TC Palm
Editorial: Teacher Merit Pay Does Not Make Good Business Sense

“With all due respect to Mr. Mark Wilson, teacher merit pay does not make good business sense, first and foremost because public school education is not now and hopefully will never be considered to be a business, and secondly, because merit pay comes as an added but unnecessary cost to taxpayers.  Published studies consistently show that, contrary to Mr. Wilson’s conclusions, merit pay is a failed system that creates not incentive but rather resentment within the school environment, not unlike the way classmates experience resentment when one student is singled out for performance within the classroom environment.”

October 13, 2009 – Detroit News
Editorial: Five Myths about Paying Good Teachers More

Merit pay has a strong track record.
Teacher unions are the biggest barrier to merit pay.
Principals are good judges of teacher talent.
Student test scores offer a simple solution to the evaluation problem.
Teachers are most motivated by money.

September 20, 2009 – St. Petersburg Times
Editorial: Florida’s Flawed Bonus Plan

Florida recently announced it will shower more than $122 million on schools that earned an A or improved a letter grade under the state's ranking system. It might as well hand-deliver checks to teachers — some of whom just happen to be in the right place at the right time. The School Recognition Program is not a particularly wise way to spend scarce tax dollars, and the money could be redirected to better uses.

August 28, 2009 – California Progress Report
CFT President Takes on Race to the Top

California Federation of Teachers President Marty Hittelman expresses a number of concerns about Race to the Top grants in a letter to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

June 11, 2009 – Great Falls Tribune
Editorial – Merit Pay has its Problems

Jerry Rukavina, a former high school teacher and current field consultant for the Montana state teacher’s association, submitted this thoughtful editorial.  It’s well worth the read.

December 10, 2008 - Educator Compensation Institute
Obama's Secretary of Education

Whomever the new Secretary, he/she will orchestrate profound change.  The types of reforms and the reformers at the table, however, will depend on who the President-Elect selects.

October 6, 2008 – Washington Post Editorial
Merit Pay Could Ruin Teacher Teamwork

In his editorial, Jay Mathews worries that merit pay schemes will negatively impact how teachers work together.  Writing about the charter schools he has examined, Mathews notes that, “Their staffs thrive on teamwork.  Everyone shares lesson plans, swaps ideas and reinforces discipline to help each child.  Won’t big checks to just a few members of the team ruin that?”

August 10, 2008 – Anchorage Daily News Editorial
No Merit to Alaska Pay Plan

In Anchorage, three out of five bonus-winning schools announced by the state Friday were alternative programs that perennially enroll top students with highly motivated parents.  The Alaska bonus program is misguided.  The next Legislature should kill it.

March 13, 2008 – St. Petersburg Times
Editorial: Merit Pay Plan’s Unintended Lesson

“The biggest obstacle to performance pay in Florida schools is not the unions. It's the hamhanded attempts by lawmakers and DOE to dictate how teachers must be judged. The Hillsborough experience suggests that the performance-pay law is, at best, a work in progress. Unless lawmakers are willing to give the districts more discretion, they are not likely to see the results they want. More troubling, they could end up rewarding hard-working teachers for leaving the kind of schools where they are needed most.”

January 29, 2008 – Edmond Sun
Editorial: Oklahoma Governor Says Teacher Pay Goal Within Reach

Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry asserts that his 5 year goal of bringing the state’s teacher pay to the regional average is within reach.

October 17, 2007 - Tennessean Editorial
Boost Salaries to Attract Teachers

Designed to attract high quality teachers to Tennessee, the legislature has enacted a law requiring school districts to develop bonus programs for teachers.  While this Tennessean editorial commends the legislature for trying to improve education in the state, it asserts that a better approach might be to provide higher overall salaries and an expectation of reasonable, across-the-board raises.

August 31, 2007 – Dave Riegel, Huffington Post
The Problem with Merit Pay

“I am always suspicious of merit pay arguments because they seem to insinuate that a teacher's effort is dependent upon his or her level of compensation. Instead of rewarding teachers for maximizing student achievement -- as most would insist they are trying to do anyway -- the right approach would be to reward activities that help teachers become better trained and more competent.”

August 27, 2007 - Orlando Sentinel Editorial
Seminole has Merit

In a 58% affirmative vote, Seminole, Florida teachers approved a bonus plan last week. Seminole also increased the base pay for all teachers by 6 percent. The Orlando Sentinel Editorial asserts that such an approach is fair -- and smart -- to raise teacher pay across the board.  But the editorial goes on to say that bonus pay has to be part of the equation to ensure the best teachers are rewarded, especially those working in the most challenging schools, teaching struggling students.

August 14, 2007 - Orlando Sentinel Guest Editorial
Union: We Don’t ‘Hijack’ Merit Pay

In response to an Orlando Sentinel editorial that suggested teacher unions are “hijacking” merit pay systems, Florida Education Association President Andy Ford disagrees.  He asserts that one of the primary reasons that the Merit Award Program, dubbed MAP, was created to replace Special Teachers Are Rewarded, known as STAR, was a general consensus by all involved that additional local control was needed so that the right plan could be implemented on a district-by-district basis.

July 24, 2007 - Wisconsin State Journal Editorial
Wisconsin Should Give Merit Pay to Best Teachers

According to a Wisconsin State Journal Editorial, performance-based pay serves as an incentive for better work, makes salaries competitive and reflects the complexity of many teaching jobs.  The editorial asserts that its time has come in Wisconsin.  The Republican-led state Assembly has proposed a $250,000 annual fund from general tax dollars for teacher merit pay.  The editorial goes on to urge the Democratic-run Senate to accept this new approach.

July 23, 2007 - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial
Foundation Ignores Realities of Teaching in Utah

The Utah Foundation says lawmakers should stick to increasing pay only for the most hard-to-fill teaching positions and to provide mentors for new teachers. As a strategy for addressing attrition, that is not just bad advice, it's unrealistic and demeaning to teachers. And it provides legislators more reasons (as if any were needed) to avoid raising salaries in order to recruit and keep good teachers.

July 19, 2007 – Pocono Record Guest Editorial
Teacher Merit Pay Can Backfire

A Pennsylvania teacher of 35 years who received merit pay most of those years asserts that the process was wrong and fostered favoritism and poor morale.

June 25, 2007 - Austin Statesman Editorial
Teacher Incentives Don’t Make the Grade

When it comes to improving student performance, the primary focus should be on teachers. Match low achievers with quality teachers, research says, for the fastest and best improvement.  That is not happening in too many Austin schools. In fact, it's quite the opposite, according to studies by University of Texas researcher Ed Fuller and Education Trust, a Washington-based think tank.

May 8, 2007 – Washington Post Editorial
Paying Brave Teachers What They’re Worth

Education columnist Jay Mathews weighs in on the TeacherSolutions team recent release, “Performance Pay for Teachers: Designing a System that Students Deserve.”  While Mr. Mathews finds the report full of good ideas, he has trouble accepting the whole package.

May 21, 2007 – Tribune (Colorado) Guest Editorial
Many Variables Factor into Fair Teacher Compensation

We entrust teachers with the crucial task of educating our children. In return, we must compensate teachers for their efforts in fostering students' learning. The suggestion that teachers' salaries should be based on the academic performance of their students has been debated for quite some time.

May 13, 2007 - The Utah Spectrum Guest Editorial
Teachers are Professionals, Deserve Pay Raises

In a guest editorial by the Jordan, Utah District Board of Education, the Board responded to a guest editorial which appeared last month written by Speaker of the House Greg Curtis and Reps. David Clark, Gordon E. Snow and Brad Dee. The Legislature's majority leadership has stressed the importance of ensuring that Utah's teachers receive a well-deserved and long-overdue $2,500 salary increase. The Jordan Board agrees.

April 11, 2007 – Z Net Editorial
Better Teacher Pay: The Key to Better Schools

Citing the most recent teacher salary survey conducted by the AFT, San Francisco based journalist Dick Meister asserts that Americans will have to start putting much more money into teacher salaries if the demands for improved schools are ever to be realized.

April 3, 2007 - Montgomry Advertiser Editorial
Teacher Bonuses would Reward Quality

The Montgomery Advertiser has taken a position in support of Alabama Republican Governor Bob Riley’s proposed merit plan for teachers.  Riley is acting on a proposal first recommended by his Commission of Quality Teaching.

March 29, 2007 – Tuscaloosa News Editorial
Devil’s in Details of Alabama Teacher-Bonus Plan

“Offering a bonus to teachers who are proven motivators, innovators and leaders -- particularly the educators who work in tough inner-city settings or in isolated rural school districts -- makes sense. It could inspire people already in the profession and help administrators recruit more effective teachers.  But the bonuses shouldn’t be pegged solely to performance of students on standardized test scores. Those scores, at best, are snapshots of a single day.”

March 25, 2007 – St. Petersburg Times Editorial
A Better Grade for Bonus Plan

"The debate helped illustrate the absurdity of education reform in a political vacuum. Florida is trying desperately to recruit 30,000 new teachers in a national market where demand outstrips supply. The task is already complicated by the fact that Florida's salaries don't compete favorably even with Georgia's. Yet the previous bonus plans, ostensibly aimed at luring and keeping good teachers, were developed over the strenuous and repeated objections of teachers. How, then, were the bonuses supposed to provide an incentive?"

Jay Greene’s Persistent Misuse of Data for Teacher Pay Comparisons
Lawrence Mishel, Economic Policy Institute President

Jay Greene’s new research on teacher pay claims to show that teachers are well-paid when one looks at their weekly or hourly wage compared to other professionals. This is pretend social science, at best.

March 9, 2007 – The Age (Australia) Editorial
Politics Muddies the Waters of Teacher Pay Plan

Good teachers deserve better pay.  The question is, how do you measure a good teacher?

March 3, 2007 - Austin American Statesman Editorial
Better Pay for Prized Teachers

The Austin American Statesman calls for a performance pay plan that takes into account special skills, accomplishments, and teaching environments while citing concerns that pay systems based on standardized test scores begs for abuse.

March 2, 2007 - Daytona Beach News - Journal Editorial
End STAR Now

Citing the Duval County School Board bold resolution that calls the plan inequitable and unlawful, a Daytona Beach News-Journal editorial calls for an immediate end to the Special Teachers Are Rewarded, or STAR, bonus pay plan for teachers.

Chicago Tribune Calls for Tax Increase for Education

In a seven part series, the Chicago Tribune calls for an increase in school funding and details how the money should be spent.

  • Part I: Smarter schools for Illinois
  • Part II: Coming up short
  • Part III: In return for the money
  • Part IV: Classroom ideas that work
  • Part V: Five more great ideas for the classroom
  • Part VI: The war of the ‘woulds’
  • Part VII: Rising to greatness

Read the Entire Series at Illinois Education Association

Related Stories

IEA Weighs in on Chicago Tribune Series

February 27, 2007 - Cincinnati Post
Opinion on Improving Math and Science

In recognizing the need to improve student performance in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM, courses, this opinion piece disagrees with the Kentucky Legislature's initiative to pay bonuses to teachers based on students' performance on advanced placement tests.  Instead, it is recommended that such money be spent on more and better courses aligned with STEM goals.

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