In the state of Ohio, Governor Kasich has begun to push the idea of merit pay for teachers. This may not mean a lot to the average parent; however this will change the face of your child’s classroom. One of the effects will be in the area of teachers collaborating to bring new ideas and methods into their classroom. If teachers are put into the position of competing with one another this will be the end of collaboration between teachers.
Why you ask? Well simply put, as a teacher my students will need to exceed the performance of the students in the classroom across the hall. So you ask how does this affect your child…well if everyone is competing does this not create an unequal learning environment. Currently, there has been a push in many school districts to implement teams per grade level; these teams consist of grade level teachers that share ideas and plans to create an overall plan for the school year. The idea behind this is that every child has an equal opportunity for a quality education.
Governor Kasich’s plan for merit pay would create a need for teachers to compete against one another. While a little competition is never a bad thing, it will create an unequal educational system, full of parents requesting the best teacher in the school. In addition, for a school system that is currently experiencing budget problems and cannot afford to pay the teachers that they need, Governor Kasich would like us to believe that these school districts can afford to pay a “performing” teacher 100,000.00 per year in salary. Well, we all know that this cannot happen. There is no possible way for the average school district to pay every teacher this amount, especially taking into account that not all school districts are created equal. Within the Cincinnati area, we have districts that are both rural, inner city, and suburban. These school districts are not allotted the same amounts of money and as such cannot compete on an even playing field.
Lastly, many teachers who enter the field will find that college did not prepare them for the classroom. This is not any fault of the college or university; it is simply impossible to learn all of the things necessary to be a teacher from reading a book or hearing a lecture. Every bit of useful information that a teacher collects will most likely be from the other teachers that he or she works with while performing field experience. Without the assistance of other experienced teachers, a new teacher has no way to compete with those who have been teaching for years. Sadly, merit pay may be the end of learning from the more experienced teachers, these more experienced teachers will simply not be able to afford to put their pay on the line.