GA teachers give thumbs down to merit-based pay

By Laura Ann Sills - email

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Hearing the news that the merit-based pay bill was headed to the Georgia House for a vote sent teacher, Sudi Andrews, straight to her computer to email the governor and representatives.

"It saddens me to think we are going to go back in education, not forward," said Andrews.  She has been teaching for over 20 years and said morale is at the lowest it has ever been in the education field.

Fellow teachers followed her lead, "We are not for merit-based pay, it is expensive for the testing instruments to be purchased and used. So now with the economy the way it is and the fiscal responsibility school systems are already having, it's not feasible," said second year teacher Jenny Bridges.

The bill says a statewide common evaluation instrument, in layman's term, a test, would be created to evaluate teachers. And, the student's performances on the test would affect their pay. But so far, that is all the details educators have.

Lynn Outlaw, teacher at Creekside School, would like to see teachers on the committee, "I think people that are not in the classroom are trying to make decisions about what is better for teachers."

The primary concern that teachers have with the system is that so much of student achievement is out of their control. Parental involvement, each student's innate ability and the job teachers in previous grades have done all affect student growth.

Andrews thinks teacher performance should be monitored on a system level, "In a classroom that no one is achieving, and it is obvious that no one is learning anything, you deal with that teacher on an individual basis."

Part of the bill that was deleted stated that at least 50% of the calculation for merit based pay would be based on student growth.

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