Generally I enjoy reading Mahaffey, even though I may not always agree with her. But this post is so ludicrous in its inability to appropriately compare teaching with other professions it forces me to question just how out of touch she is with the rest of the professional world.
Merit pay ought to be a consideration for all professions. Wages gauged by how well the people around you do. Supervisors will get paid according to the advancements of the supervised.
Um...well, in my twenty-plus years of working in the private sector, this has pretty much been exactly how people's pay is determined. Supervisors are judged and paid not only on their own individual performance, but also on how well those they supervise perform. And team performance is often gauged by individual contributions to the team, so if the team isn't doing well, it's a reflection on the individual, and ultimately how he or she is rewarded financially.
Parents will receive tax refunds based on how well their children do. "Well" meaning they get good grades in reading, writing, math. Your kid gets in trouble at school. Oops. Sorry, but that will be a deduction. Susie and Harold skipped a grade? Hold out your hands. We like that. Here’s more money.
Um...this is just silly. First off, parenting isn't a "paid" profession (unless your last name is Spears or Lohan). And tax refunds certainly aren't "pay," it's a refund of money taken by the government. But there is a reward in parenting, and that's found in successfully raising a child you can be proud of. If you've raised a child who does well in school, doesn't get in trouble, respects their parents and teachers and is generally a good kid all around, I'd say this is pretty strong for your merit as a parent.
Hey Doctors! Let’s set up a merit pay plan for you.
Um...good doctors are rewarded with higher pay, booming practices, jobs at prestigious hospitals and patient referrals. Bad doctors are sued and lose their licenses (hopefully).
Let’s have merit pay for politicians too. Why not take what they think is so good and replicate it? It shouldn’t be that hard to make judgments on our elected officials. Measures are already standard. Is the stock market up, yes or no? By a lot? Not enough? Are people earning a living wage? If not, get a cardboard box and a dolly. Are interest rates reasonable? What about home mortgages? Do we owe any other nations money?
Um...aside from all the things she uses to measure political success, as if the free market and personal choices have nothing to do with it, this may be the most precise comparison she makes. After all, public school teachers and elected officials are basically public-employee brethren, aren't they? But what Mahaffey loses sight of is that while elected officials may not get a yearly raise based on performance, they are subjected to regular reviews by the electorate. This isn't a situation where a public employee gets a raise based on performance; it's one where they get to keep their job! And from some of the things I've read, it's far easier to get rid of a politician based on lack of merit than it is a teacher.
Now Mahaffey does begin her post by outlining how a teacher's merit is judged (again, sarcastically), and I would agree the process she shares is not without its faults. But while she succeeds in pointing out the downside of how merit is measured, she fails to indicate why it shouldn't be measured.
Unless you count her poor examples, which do nothing more than show just how out of touch she is.