Governor pushes merit-pay proposal for teachers

Daily Sundial

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Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is pushing initiatives to determine teachers’ salaries based on merit rather than seniority.

Under the merit-pay proposal, teachers would be paid based on several factors, including how well their students perform on standardized tests.

Julie Soderlund, spokesperson for the governor, said that under the merit-pay system, salaries would be determined by student performance on standardized tests and on annual performance evaluations.

“(The merit-pay system) rewards teachers based on performance,” Soderlund said.

It would be up to individual school districts to work out the details regarding specifics on how the payment plans would work, she said.

Teacher salaries “are not decided (at) the state level right now,” Soderlund said.

Critics have raised questions about the merit-pay proposals.

Jim Farrell, spokesperson for the Alliance for a Better California, disagrees with the merit-pay method.

“It will have a serious impact on how students learn or don’t learn,” said Farrell, an opponent of merit pay. “It’s a bad idea. It’s a half-baked idea.

Elementary and high schools are not assembly lines. The plan is not productive or useful for children.”

He said he does not feel it is fair to base payment on student performance.

“Teachers are going to be punished for teaching in the schools where the students are the hardest to get through to,” Farrell said. “Is that fair policy?”