Michigan’s new Superintendent of schools believes that merit pay for teachers a good idea.

Finally, I can agree with something Michigan’s Superintendent of schools is talking about.

Incoming Superintendent Brian Whiston said he wants teachers to make more money but wants to break free from the current union scale pay system for our teachers and bring in other factors.

Currently teachers’ pay is not based upon their performance, it is based upon time as a teacher and their academic credentials.

Why anyone would agree to that is uncertain when the rest of the real world is mostly based upon need and performance.

Mr. Whiston is quoted in a Michigan Capitol Confidential article I read as saying “Pay should be based on what you are teaching (subject), your evaluation, years of service, education, what extras you bring to the position (extra training, certifications, experiences).” He went on to say “I would like to also look at incentives for teachers that teach in certain areas of the state. I think that teachers who do a great job (get a years or more of growth) should receive additional compensation. If that is what is meant as merit pay then yes I support it.”

I agree, it is time we start paying great teachers more.  Teachers who challenge and help their students achieve better academic results deserve more money.

The article points to the National Education Association studies that find that Michigan was just below the national average for starting teacher’s salary, at $35,901 in 2012-13. The national average was $36,141; starting teachers in Washington, D.C. get $51,539, higher than in any state.

Good teachers should be paid well, although the meaning of “well” can be debated.  The point being teachers who excel at their profession should be compensated for that.

I understand the difficulty in teaching students who come from backgrounds where education is not valued or pushed in the households, but we cannot always believe that is the reason for underperformance.

As I have been saying for years there are many factors in evaluating teachers’ performance, but because of that we should not at least try to incorporate some type of student achievement tied to their salary.

What are your thoughts?

Let’s discuss this today on my show The Live with Renk show, which airs Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to noon, to let me know your thoughts at (269) 441-9595.

Or please feel free to start a discussion and write your thoughts in the comment section.

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