18 October 2007

In which I am pissed off again...

It was almost a year ago that I flipped on my tv and learned that we had a new contract. I was thrown because I knew that our contract wasn’t up for a while. This morning, I had a similar experience, but this time the topic was merit pay. I am wondering if this thrown-for-a-loop feeling I had is going to become an annual event.

Merit pay wasn’t something I ever really worried about, or thought about. It just seemed too complex and ridiculous. How can you attach dollar amounts to things related to kids and their achievements? I’ve been a teacher for over ten years now, and I’ve never had two kids who were exactly alike, and I’ve never had two classes that were exactly alike. So I knew that it would be nearly impossible to develop a fair system that pitted teachers against teachers and kids against kids.

The mayor comes from a money-based culture where success is measured by dollars. It’s easy, in that situation, to figure out who the real producers are: the people who are bringing in the most money. Our bottom line is kids. Just because the mayor is happy to reduce these kids to scale scores and attendance statistics does not mean that it’s a reliable measure of how hard a teacher is working.

Randi Weingarten pointed to “checks and balances” in the NY Times article, but doesn’t really elaborate. The “compensation committee” of the principal, A.P. and 2 teachers gets to decide how to dole out the money. I have a big problem with that. Weingarten says it’s not “individual merit pay” but that is incorrect, in my opinion. Allowing a committee to make the decisions about who gets how much is an individual merit pay program. Will these committees have to justify the decisions they make about who gets what? Will it be possible for personal feelings to stay out of this process? I doubt it.

Why don’t we have any say in this?


Schoolgal said...

Welcome back to what I hope will be at least a weekly event.

And thank you once again for calmly stating the obvious.
Test prep will now be the be all and end all of teaching with absolutely no real learning taking place.

Anonymous said...

You ask why you don't have a say in UFT matters? Easy answer: The UFT is not a democracy. It is a dictatorship run by Randi Weingarten. What she says goes. Period.

SO SAD, huh?

Geoff said...

its been tough to control the anger and rage that we all experienced because of this merit pay, i just hope to slowly convince my colleagues that we should oppose it when it comes to our school; although the power of capitalistic persuasion is very strong

NYC Educator said...

I couldn't agree more. It's amazing what the United Federation of Randi Weingarten gets away with, what with 3 out of 4 members who can't even be bothered voting.

Anonymous said...

Go to the ICE blog for a full explanation.