Thursday, January 14, 2010

Merit System for Teachers

Photo Courtesy of John Morgan

The merit system for teachers is doomed to fail and I say this not because it is being pushed forward by Gov. Perdue (though that could be reason enough) but because it is a spin off of the No Child Left Behind act.

The No Child Left Behind Act does exactly the opposite of what it's title suggests. It not only leaves countless students left behind, it also leaves those students left out (Example Warren County). The system only works in affluent areas where children have access to new technologies and the benefits of smaller class sizes. No Child Left Behind measures how well students perform on standardized tests and how well teachers teach to the test.

This is the same approach Gov. Perdue plans to use in his merit based teacher salary proposal. But just like the No Child Left Behind plan, it isn't going to boost learning in poorer schools nor will it appropriate more funds to less affluent school systems. What it will do is continue to reward school systems that are already above average in technology and class size by making those school systems more competitive by attracting new hires from the rural communities.

Here is the bottom line: this plan will kill our rural school systems and drive the few descent teachers we have to more affluent schools looking for something more promising. We owe it to our youth, the ones without a say in this matter, to shut this plan down and actually confer with groups like the Georgia Association of Educators (GAE) to propose a better system in the state of Georgia. We also owe it to our educators who work hard day in and day out to perform one of the most important tasks and look after some of the brightest minds, a job few of us could handle.

To Georgia teachers, I salute you. To Georgia legislators who back Sonny's plan, I beg you to reconsider and quit putting self-interest first and begin looking at the state as a whole.

- ProgressiveKel

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