March 24th, 2010 WW Editorial Staff | Letters to the Editor
 

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How About Merit Pay For Bankers?


[Re: “Extra Credit” WW, March 17, 2010:] I was appalled to read Beth Slovic’s cover article calling for more accountability for PPS teachers and attacking their salaries. Out of all the places where more scrutiny over where our tax dollars are spent is necessary—like the trillions we’ve handed to the banks, the military and private mercenary firms—you chose teachers? Obama’s revisions to No Child Left Behind, like the original act itself, have nothing to do with improving schools. The methods he is pushing—charter schools, merit pay, “turnarounds”—have never been proven to improve school quality and some studies have shown they actually worsen student performance. Methods like lowering class sizes, school food and health programs, income supplements to low-income families—all of which have been proven to effectively improve education—are not being funded because the administration has given trillions to the banks and the military and not held them accountable. One of the main reasons behind Race to the Top and the NCLB revisions is to attack the teachers unions—the largest single sector of unionized workers in the U.S.—and subject one of the last decent paying jobs in the country to the same low-wage, no-benefit reality the non-unionized private sector has endured for years. It is a conscious strategy to make workers, not bankers or the wealthy, pay for the economic crisis. If George W. Bush or John McCain was pushing these measures I’m sure WW would have railed against them, but since they came from a Democrat it seems like you’ve jumped on the teacher-blaming bandwagon.

Here’s an idea: Let’s impose merit pay accountability schemes on CEOs and bankers rather than rewarding them for crashing the economy and blaming the effects of their crisis (like underfunded schools in communities of poverty) on workers.

Adam Sanchez
Student teacher at Lewis & Clark College

CORRECTIONS: Last week’s cover story, “Extra Credit” incorrectly identified Peter Chausse’s teaching grade level. He used to be a full-time primary school teacher. The story also incorrectly reported the professional development requirements for teachers to maintain their Oregon licenses. Oregon requires that veteran teachers take 25 hours of professional development for every three to five years of their license renewal. WW regrets the errors.

 
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