To the editor:
Tony Bennett likes to boast of how he has brought merit pay to Indiana’s schools. Here is how it really works: A new teacher earns around $29,000 annually. Since Bennett took away pay increases for additional degrees and years of service, that teacher will still be making $29,000 in 40 years.
Unless effective teachers earn the highest designation of highly effective by an administrator — on a very subjective evaluation rubric (i.e. standard of performance for a defined population) imposed upon the schools by Bennett, they will never earn anything but their base of $29,000, and even then, only if their school happens to have funding for it — not likely in these times of slashing budgets for public schools while giving millions to charters and for-profits. Teachers fortunate enough to earn merit pay one year will lose it and must re-earn it the next year.
My son’s first teaching contract in 1985 was for $18,000. Under Bennett’s plan, he would still be making $18,000 today, plus, assuming he had been deemed highly effective instead of merely effective, paltry merit stipend. How could teachers afford even their school loans?
Unless you think Bennett’s merit pay plan will bring great teachers to Indiana, vote for Glenda Ritz for state superintendent of public instruction.
Ruth E. Herrold