Merit Pay System

Discussion in 'General Education' started by TeachTN, Aug 19, 2014.

  1. TeachTN

    TeachTN Comrade

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    Aug 19, 2014

    My district has opted to go to such a system. No longer do we have step raises based on years of service and degrees, now we are paid based on our overall evaluation, of which for core teachers 50% involves test scores. We are evaluated on a scale of 1-5 overall (both in the classroom and for test scores). If you come out to be a level 3 teachers, you get a rockin' $250 increase for the year, a level 4 teacher gets $500 and level 5 teachers get a $750 increase for the year. You can never earn less than you earned the year before. As a second year teacher with a Masters, I am at the base salary. I was supposed to earn a higher salary with our old system, so I am not thrilled with this new system.

    Due to low test scores, I was a level 2 teacher for the year, so I cannot get a raise next year either. We are the only district in my area that is doing this. The teachers in my school that have to go based on the school scores are out of luck with this new system as well.

    Maybe I am paranoid, but it seems that this could give the administrators (or maybe they would get pressure to do this) to not rate us as highly in the classroom to reduce the need to give raises.

    I just feel incredibly disrespected by my district for this. I have no issue with teachers getting bonuses for test scores, but to completely base our salary on the scores of students - really if we grew them above their projection, not over what they scored the previous year - is just rough. If I have a kid projected to be in the 99th percentile - I'm not sure how I can grow him/her above that.

    Only the 3rd week of school and I'm so frustrated already...
     
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  3. teacherbatman

    teacherbatman Companion

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    Aug 19, 2014

    Merit Pay is a part of the whole "this isn't supposed to make sense" set of policies that keep happening.
     
  4. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Aug 19, 2014

    If I had to deal with that VAM &#@!, I would have been off-the-charts awesome my first year, horrible my second year, about average my third year, and back to off-the-charts awesome in year four. I love how deformers are still pushing that garbage despite the statistical data that VAM numbers are more or less a crapshoot.
     
  5. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Aug 20, 2014

    Yeah, I feel for you. Our district wants to move to that model as well. There has been a lot of pushback from teachers about the fairness of it. I don't even like that my evaluation is 50% based on test scores-to base salary on that too!! Ridiculous in my opinion. :eek:

    Just to bounce off what gr3teacher was saying-my class last year entered Kinder day one with not a single child reading, this year they are all already reading-guess which scores will be higher? There are so many outside factors that they don't consider.
     
  6. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Aug 20, 2014

    I'm surprised that teachers even stick with a district that does that. I would be out of there in no time flat. If this (and other initiatives that a certain political group desires) became the norm, I would probably just leave teaching altogether and go for another career.
     
  7. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Aug 20, 2014

    When your whole state uses this model, it is tough to get out and go somewhere else...:eek:hmy:
     
  8. HorseLover

    HorseLover Comrade

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    Aug 20, 2014

    Merit pay makes sense in PART (after all I imagine their are other jobs where performance is a consideration for raises), but it is NOT fair to have so much emphasis on the test scores (after all students could have made huge gains, but still not passed). Also, to have it so cut and dry on the eval system could cause the issues you mentioned as well.
     
  9. TeachTN

    TeachTN Comrade

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    Aug 20, 2014

    I will start looking after this school year. I can't afford to work for this salary for many years (since I have no idea if I'll have gains or not). Doctors are not penalized for their patients not getting better, dentists do not have their salaries tied to their patients' cavity rates, etc... I understand wanting to hold us responsible, but, like stated, there are so many outside factors that we have NO control over. I have no issue with being evaluated in the classroom, but hate the idea of my students' test scores determining what money I will have to feed, clothe, and house my family. Trust me, students know this information and some will intentionally do poorly to punish a teacher.

    Edited to add: Technically this has not passed in my county, but my paycheck reflects the thought that we will go to this new salary system. Not sure why the county votes on the school budget AFTER school starts though... Word is that the county does not support this, but the district is looking to move monies around within the district to do this without the need to ask for money from the county to support this new pay plan.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2014
  10. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Aug 20, 2014

    Our tiers aren't that severe, but my school cuts off the raise eligibility for teachers who are below expectations.
     
  11. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    Aug 20, 2014

    They keep coming up with more and more ways to drive people out of the profession. :mad:
     
  12. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Aug 20, 2014

    Merit pay, in some incarnation, is creeping into most states. NJ is "blessed" with a governor who wants to abolish tenure and the teacher union. There have been some concessions on how the new evaluations will affect us or be done, but you have to see the writing on the wall.
     
  13. Crono91

    Crono91 Rookie

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    Aug 20, 2014

    Funny. I was just reading one of my education textbooks for college today, and it was about the whole bonuses for test scores, and most textbooks always have those little, "Ask yourself this question" thing.

    One was how you felt about merit pay.

    My feeling was that it's an okay thing (for now) if it's just bonuses, horrible if salary is based around it.

    A far better system--which would be very hard to do, sadly--would be to figure out the level students are at, and base bonuses on how well they improved in your class.

    Basically, a teacher with a class full of already-achieving students will easily get their bonus, compared to a class full of under-achieving students.

    The whole merit system simply FURTHERS the gap between students who achieve and don't achieve, when all of them have the same ability... this can deter teachers from teaching under-privileged students.

    Thus, if we gave bonuses based on how much a student achieved, it would encourage teachers with already-achieving students to step up and challenge them even more, rather than keep them stoic. And it would also keep teachers with under-privileged students to keep their faith in them (even though they already should, but I understand feeling burnt out when you feel the system is unfair toward you AND your students), and constantly push them.

    ---

    Imagine if the United States agriculture decided to create a universal growing plan for all food that would be accepted by America... only a select few would remain, and the rest would die out. We'd lose so many potential plants, because plants are so different from each other--some require more sunlight, some less; some require more water, and some require beneficial insects for a type of symbiotic relationship.

    If gardeners know how stupid it'd be to put a universal growing plan on plants, how come we think differently for our children... I'm almost positive children are far more unique from one another than plants are from themselves. (Sorry for the preachy-ness... I wrote this for one of my education speeches, and I felt it fit.)
     
  14. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Aug 20, 2014

    In my district - and many other districts - "merit pay," salary increases and evaluations are already based on growth just for the reason you mentioned. Most examples of SLOs or SGOs I've seen are about determining where your students are in September and then predicting where they will be at the end of the semester/year.

    Here, SLOs are based on student growth determined by the amount of growth from the Pre-Test and to the End-of-Course Exam. This exam is either the MSA/HSA (MD's state exam being replaced by the PARCCs) or a district created End-of-Course Exam for teachers who do not teach a subject with a state exam.

    50% of our Annual Eval score comes from whether a teacher meets their SLO goals. The other 50% comes from Formal Observations, Student Surveys, School Survey, and Professional Duties score.

    You can earn a 1-4 on your Annual Eval and each score will earn you either 12, 9, 3, or 0 credits. It takes 12 credits to move up a step on the pay scale.
     
  15. teacherguy111

    teacherguy111 Cohort

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    Aug 21, 2014

    My school does bonuses based on classroom evaluations and student growth over the year. Our base pay stays the same but we get bonuses based on those things. I don't bank on getting them, but when I do it is a nice added bonus.
     
  16. teacherbatman

    teacherbatman Companion

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    Aug 21, 2014

    This is a great analogy. Please don't apologize!

    I agree that humans are even more complicated than plants. Yet such a system of standardization clearly wouldn't work for plants. I think the difference here is, you can't point out so obviously every time a student (or teacher) dies a little on the inside. I'm continually amazed how certain people can support the degree of standardization in our schools and meanwhile consider themselves humane.
     

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