From the equality of rights springs identity of our highest interests; you cannot subvert your neighbor's rights without striking a dangerous blow at your own. Carl Schurz

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Kevin Falcon Is Without Merit

Kevin Falcon, a British Columbia Liberal leadership hopeful has trotted out that old U.S.right wing nonsense of merit pay for teachers. Merit pay while on the surface sounds like a good idea is however wrought with peril for our children.

Firstly merit pay is not about improving the education system, it is about distracting us from the real issues, such as underfunding and curricula that besides being too narrow in scope is based on a one size fits all model  that fails to engage our children,and denies them  a well rounded education.I know I for one am dreadfully tired of politicians attacking our teachers, who have a great deal more credibility in my eyes than any politician. 

Secondly merit pay will lead to the best teachers gravitating to the schools or boards in  the highest socioeconomic  areas and with the lowest immigrant population as these schools historically perform better, thus ensuring themselves higher recompense. abandoning the rest of our children ( and they are all our kids) to an even more inferior education then they receive today.

The third reason merit pay won't improve the system boils down to " Tell me how you will measure me and I will tell you how I will behave."  In order to decide which teachers merit increased pay we will first need to come up with a system to measure performance,  which will only lead more teachers to instead of educating our children merely to teach to the test. This is already a problem  given standardized testing and can only get worse with the introduction of the monetary incentive.

Perhaps the worst thing about such a system is that those who can best game the system by expelling from their classrooms and schools the kids that under perform the most, as well as inflating test results will profit the most.


  1. You make good points, but by your arguments then, should there be demerit pay reductions for bad teachers?

  2. Hi Merv, My first response to an under performing teacher would be to offer further training including having them mentored by other teachers who have demonstrated superior ability.

    However if afterwords a teacher continues to under perform,then I see no reason to keep them around at any level of pay.