In other words — in a given field — those who perform the best should get the paid the most.
Unfortunately, according the Fraser Institute, that's not the case within Canada's public education system where teachers are paid strictly on their level of education and their seniority.
In a report published on Monday, the think-tank argues that partially tying teacher pay to student success would improve overall academic outcomes — at least moderately.
"Paying teachers on salary schedules that includes post-secondary education and teaching experience means that teachers with more education and more experience are paid more than teachers with less education and less experience even if they are doing the same job and even if the lower-paid teachers do a better job than the higher-paid teachers," notes the report written by Rodney Clifton, emeritus professor at the University of Manitoba.
Clifton cites a 2012 report from the United States that claims there is "... ample evidence that the assumed relationship between [teachers’] credentials, experience, and effectiveness is wrong."
In addition to some sort of merit based pay system, Clifton proposes several other 'teacher-focused' measures to improve student achievement in Canada. The measures include strict teacher college entrance exams, giving principals more authority to hire and fire teachers and a re-certification process whereby experienced teachers would be tested on their competencies and abilities before having their contracts renewed.
"The best performing 15 to 25 per cent of teachers are able to impart a year and a half’s worth of material to students in one academic year, while the bottom 15 to 25 per cent are only able to impart half a year of material to similar students," the report notes.
"In other words, the best performing teachers are at least three times more effective than the worst performing teachers. This evidence suggests that excellent teachers can off-set the negative effects of many other [education] variables including the students’ socioeconomic status."
Such measures have often been rebuffed by teachers' unions across the country who argue that student outcomes are a result of many variables not controlled by a given teacher.
Michael Barrett, president of the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association, told the Globe and Mail that "merit pay perpetuates the misconception that the best teachers have the best test scores."
"Teaching is a complex profession, and teachers do a lot in the interest of students that doesn’t fit neatly into a measurement framework," he said.
"Yet many of these hard-to-measure components, such as counselling students about academic or personal concerns or co-ordinating and delivering extra initiatives that enrich learning experiences both within and beyond the classroom, are vital. They are crucial to students’ motivation, achievement and well-being, and of significant value to parents."
What do you think?
Should we be tying teachers' salaries to student success and implement other measures to try and improve the competency of our educators?
Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.
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