Teacher Compensation: What should it look like?

183982-walmart-carrot-stick_originalBy Dianne Jackson — How should teachers be compensated?

There has been so much said — and there is so much that CAN be said — about the state of America and the decline in education as well as educators. So many people are waging a perspective as to what the root cause of the issues with education. It definitely takes a village to raise a child however; teachers are at the core of education.

For those of us in the education field, we know the work that it takes to be a productive teacher. There is no successful teacher who can get all the work they need to do during the confines of an 8-hour day. Therefore a teacher’s day is more like 12 hours when adding lesson planning, calling parents, making copies etc. So it is not hard to argue that a teacher’s salary is well below their worth.

A new trend in education is merit pay. If a teacher is able to help her students achieve a certain level of success then she is compensated with a bonus, a raise or both. Some say that since standardized test are an imperfect measure of learning, it is not a fair way to access. Some administrators have taken that to heart and have included parent surveys, teacher’s participation in after school activities and their overall connections to the student and add that as a criteria for salary.

Being a teacher who has been on the receiving end of merit pay, I say that these measures help to balance out the very low salaries. It is not fair that just because I graduated and started working the same time as someone else means we get the same payment. Especially when I had a track record of being successful in several facets.

I understand the controversy behind merit pay and the flaws in the system. I also feel that compensating teachers based on their results created better results in the classroom. Therefore bridging the salary gap may aid in closing the achievement gap! If teachers are not compensated based on merit, how can we create a more balanced salary scale and pay teachers based on what they are worth?

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