Will Wichita Schools Consider Merit Pay?

The St. Petersburg Times reports on some finding from a study of teacher merit pay in Florida.

The result? From the article Teachers’ income doesn’t reflect results: “The findings, in fact, suggest that quality has little to do with how schools pay the 30,000 teachers in the Tampa Bay area. What rules the day is not how well students do, but how long a teacher has stuck around and how much education he or she has.”

This study confirms what many others have found: It is the qualifications of the teacher that make the difference in student learning. Experience and educational credentials matter much less.

Most school districts, including Wichita’s USD 259, base teacher pay solely on length of service and education. It’s right in the union contract.

Reforms like teacher merit pay are reforms that the teachers unions fight. It’s an indication of the true concern of the union: teachers before students.

As Wichita considers a bond issue, a large part of which is to build new classrooms to support smaller class sizes, consider this: Assuming the best-qualified teacher are hired first (and that’s a presumption that may very well not be true), the new teachers hired to support smaller class sizes will be the least-qualified. This means that more children will be taught by less-qualified teachers.


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