School bonus pay full of contradictions

newsroom@islandpacket.comJuly 12, 2014 

A recent article, "Teachers could earn bonus pay," raises questions. Implicit in the program is that we have teachers who are not giving their all and some sort of monetary rewards are needed to motivate (reward?) these professionals. "Four years and several million dollars spent" hasn't quite done the trick so a new system must be initiated. Really?

The rationale behind this approach is riddled with questions and arbitrary conclusions. Are we dealing with used car salespersons or dedicated professionals to whom we entrust our most precious resource? Who is evaluating what, and are not the conditions in every school and every classroom and for every student dynamically different? To spend time and effort sorting through criteria and, in essence, ranking our professionals is, as demonstrated for the past four years, an arbitrary and questionable effort. Does a teacher come to work in the morning with bonuses on his/her mind?

I'm all for these professionals being paid (and paid well) as they deserve it. Let's take the bonuses and put that money back into the pay scales along with the time and effort it takes to administer this program. Or perhaps some of this money should be spent on upgrading teachers' skills.

Are we content to leave some of our children in the hands of underperformers while we hand out bonus money to the top tier? Monetary incentives and the teaching profession are an inherent contradiction.

George Johnston

Dataw Island

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