Monday, June 6, 2011

Puzzling Economics In Teachers' Union Negotiations | Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Puzzling Economics In Teachers' Union Negotiations Canadian Taxpayers Federation

The teachers union will argue that it’s difficult to pay teachers based on performance because many factors impact a student’s grade that are beyond a teacher’s control. That’s true, but at the same time, mankind has walked on the moon. Surely we can come up with a better model that’s fair for teachers and taxpayers; and is better than the status quo.

If you pull aside a teacher you respect and ask them who the best teachers are in their school, they can tell you. So why not make peer evaluation and principal observation part of the criteria?

One thing is for sure, the system needs a shake-up. It should begin with an economics lesson for the teachers’ union and a new pay system to help the best teachers out there.
 Just an addition to Mr. Craig's point here.  It isn't just peer evaluation and principal observation that will break the current model and allow for merit pay for teachers, you need to also survey parents.  Yes, some parents may have an axe to grind, and yes, there is more to a child's performance in school than just the teacher's actions.  That being said, there ARE ways to reward and encourage young go-getter teachers without also rewarding the lazy and uninspired.  You can set steps based on evaluation of peers and administration, you can set a portion of the step based on evaluation by parents, you can set part of the step based on the results in the classroom (ie average advancement of students based on standardized testing), you can add bonus amounts for each activity led.  You can include lunch and recess supervision as part of the 6 hour work day.  You can ensure that all teachers can write off the supplies they purchase and use in their classrooms.  There are a lot of ways to reward behaviour which is helpful to the students and the employer while penalizing the behaviour which is unhelpful.

Of course, that isn't what the union wants - to allow anyone to be punished for their behaviour, but this is how it works in the real world. 

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