It is amazing to see the South Australia's Education Minister’s recent announcement to pay poorly performing teachers with a $50,000 ‘retirement incentive’ bonus! How unbelievable in this day and age. At a time when school districts around the world are unable to properly staff their classrooms, provide adequate supplies and attract our best students into the profession, this comes as a ‘kick in the rear’ to our profession.
When will our education leaders ‘bite the bullet’ and properly apply accountable teacher evaluation principles and either improve these incompetent teacher performances or remove them?
When will our leaders wake up and see what 100 recognition awards of $500 to our best teachers would do in ‘thanking’ these teachers for outstanding teaching! We have learned in America that merit pay does not motivate our teachers and produce improved student learning outcomes. Yet our leaders insist merit pay is the way to move. Now we are seeing recognition of $50,000 going to one individual teacher who has proven incompetence in the classroom.
This does not do anything to set in motion a program that will keep this from happening again in one year, two years or more in the future.
Where is the Minister’s plan for providing a teacher evaluation system that is accountable and respected by the teachers and administrators and parents? It is a band-aid approach to solving a problem that will not go away with ‘business as usual.’
This is WRONG! Get our governing boards and state educational leaders to provide the proper framework of evaluation of all teachers.
Have policies that demand improvement for those who need it and, after a period of trying to gain improvement, remove those through evaluation follow-up! Also include recognition policies for those who are really doing outstanding work.
Such a system will put those at the bottom on notice and those near the top will see that teaching is, indeed, respected in those school districts willing to recognise outstanding teaching.
I refer to this as working both ends of the continuum. That is, rid our schools of those at the bottom who have proven ineffectual and put effort on recognizing those at the top and pull all others in that direction with recognition programs that show appreciation.
The $50,000 ‘bonuses’ to non-performing teachers is wrong and sends the wrong message to all of those in the teaching profession and to the general public. What a cheap way to improve educational outcomes for our students. It should not happen.
Hans A. Andrews, EdD
Retired Community College President and former teacher
Distinguished Fellow in Community College Leadership
Ottawa, IL 61350 USA
What's your view? Let us know - contact us.