Posts made in October 22nd, 2009

Merit Pay Problem

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Every one agrees that great teachers need recognition and deserve to be paid more than less skillful educators. The big problem with merit pay is who decides which teachers deserve it. That is especially true when it comes to journalism teachers.
Great advisers are too often not appreciated by their supervising administrators who fear critical phone calls when students do investigative reporting even when that reporting is responsibly done.
We had a case in Washington state where a teacher received a poor evaluation from her principal even though she had been named teacher of the year by the community. That principal was upset over a critical cartoon in the open forum school newspaper.
Administrators already have a great deal of power over their teaching staff and some choose to use it to control the content of student publications. Merit pay would increase that power if administration evaluations are its basis.
Does anyone have a better idea of how we could reward great advisers without involving these arbitrary evaluations?

Fern Valentine, MJE

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