Re: The Best Teachers Should Be Paid Better

Re: The Best Teachers Should Be Paid Better
Posted on February 2, 2014 | Bob Barrigar | Written on February 1, 2014
Letter type:


Globe and Mail

I thought I'd share these pair of Letters to the Editor from the 28 January Globe and Mail in repsonse to the paper's editorial "The Best Teachers Should be Paid Better" (editorial, Jan. 27). Personally, I found much with which to agree in these letters.  But the consequence of this thinking may be that the present system cannot be improved.  In a corporation, there are always managers who can make pay and raise and staff dismissal recommendations to the Board or the Human Resources department that calls the shots.  I doubt that schoolboards want this kind of responsibility, and principals are already overworked, it seems.  Is there an answer?

-- Bob

Merit pay? Bad idea
Re The Best Teachers Should Be Paid Better (editorial, Jan. 27):

As a soon-to-be-retired teacher, with no pecuniary stake in the issue, I can tell you “merit pay” would have the opposite effect of what its proponents envisage.

How do you determine who is a “better” teacher? Standardized tests? That means teachers teach to the tests and are reluctant to accept less capable students. Or perhaps we could go by consumer reports from former students. That way, merit pay would be based on a popularity contest.

Once teachers start to compete for whatever criteria are selected to determine merit, collegiality, the sharing of resources and lesson plans will be sabotaged. Why would I lend my teaching aids or handouts when they represent my edge to earn merit pay?

Imagine you have four children. You reward one for having the cleanest bedroom. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Right. Tune in three weeks later. One doesn’t give a damn about his room any more. The other three are constantly sniping at each other, or even actively sabotaging one another’s rooms. Merit pay is a simpleminded ideology that does not work in the real world of education.

Bob McCulloch, Walkerton, Ont.


As a long-time teacher, I agree the issue of underperforming teachers needs to be addressed, but the solution proposed by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives to link pay to performance will not correct this situation.

The CEOs believe teachers will be motivated by money. Most teachers are motivated by far less tangible rewards. This is the nature of a profession that deals with the growth of young people.

The mechanism for evaluating teacher performance – even agreeing on what constitutes “performance” – is fraught with problems. Test scores? Student feedback? Parents’ input? All will create more problems than they solve. School administrators are already overworked just keeping the school running and do not have the time needed to evaluate staff thoroughly.

The CCCE should spend more time examining teachers’ actual jobs before making assumptions that money always improves performance.

William Dart, Toronto

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retired patent attorney