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3 Reasons Why Teachers Don't Need Merit Pay


Hey there,

Merit Pay has been a looming controversy for North Carolina teachers. It's been proposed before, but now state superintendent Catherine Truitt has been pushing this as a way to overhaul the way teachers are paid in North Carolina. There is a panel studying the proposal right now. Merit pay is controversial and has lead teachers in other states to strike. As I wrote this email I tried to find articles with clear facts, but most (including this email) are laced heavily with opinion. Keep an eye on this issue, because it is not going away.

So what's the big deal? Merit pay can mean a lot of different things, which is one of the reasons why it's so controversial. In a nutshell, a teacher would be paid based on their accomplishments. This could range from getting a master's degree to their test scores. They may need to compete with other colleagues to get their pay raise. Right now the panel is exploring a lot of options, but I'm not convinced. On the surface is sounds like a logical way to pay employees, but I have a few issues with it:

  • NC educators are not paid fairly: They already are begging for fair wages- and now they have to prove their worth? It's not appropriate to talk about merit pay until an appropriate base pay is determined. I see merit pay as a distraction to the real issue and not a solution.
  • Schools are not businesses: Schools are not for profit, so it's hard to imagine looking at students (aka PEOPLE) like they are a number. American schools are already plagued with too much testing, now if you are creating a competitive environment around tests there will be even more stress placed on students. It also leaves me wondering where teachers who don't have test scores are left. Does the music teacher get a pay raise/bonus?
  • It changes the relationship with their principal: One of the best things about a teacher's relationship with their principal is they are not in charge of their salary. It's unique and it helps build trust in a stressful workplace. Schools also run on tight budgets, down to the salaries they can afford on staff. Are they going to be put in a position where only a certain amount of staff can afford to get their bonus money?

These are my two cents...but I encourage you to keep an eye on this. I've been watching for a while and the panel is addressing concerns from teachers- we will see where this goes...

Til next time,


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