Merit based salaries for teachers? - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Merit based salaries for teachers?

A storm of controversy is brewing in Oklahoma over talks of basing teachers' salaries on how well their students perform.  State lawmakers are in the process of holding interim studies on the subject at the Oklahoma Capitol. 

It's no secret that Oklahoma ranks 47th in the nation for teacher pay, but the idea of teachers making more money if their students perform well is unsettling for some educators, because they don't know how to fairly gauge accomplishments in the classroom.

Lawmakers could try to make the change during next year's legislative session, so this debate may just be getting started.  Merit - or performance - based pay is not a new concept for many industries, especially sales.  But in the classroom?

"Yes there probably is merit to merit pay, if it's done in the right way," says Barry Beauchamp from Lawton Public Schools.  He believes the biggest obstacle for educators and lawmakers to overcome will be logistics.  What is the right way?  "To base merit pay on just test scores is not fair to the students or teachers," says Beauchamp.  "There are several factors that come in.  It's not just that you can look at every teacher and say they should achieve exactly the same thing, because they don't work with the same exact students, with the exact same issues, and they're not teaching the exact same subjects," he said.

With so many variables in the equation, Oklahoma is hoping to learn from other stats and communities across the nation that have experimented with merit based pay.  Lawmakers recently heard about a plan from Minnesota that allows local school districts, teachers and administrators make their own decisions on how merit pay should work. 

"They know best what makes their students tick, and they know best how to inspire teachers to help them.  If you want someone to buy into something, then you need to let him have a part in the planning of that," says Representative Ann Coody.  She says another key to the Minnesota plan is that it encourages collaboration.  "I don't believe competition in the teaching field is as effective as collaboration, because of the very backgrounds that our children come from," she said.

Whatever lawmakers and educators decide, Beauchamp says it needs to be widely accepted.  "I simply think that unless you get everybody's input, everybody's concern, you're going to make a decision that skewed in a direction that is not as accurate as it should be," he said.

Representative Coody says Minnesota's plan is pretty new so it's hard to tell how effective it will be.  She also says that schools in Tulsa and Bartlesville have already started to implement forms of merit pay.  Oklahoma is already paying more money to teachers who have advanced degrees, national certification and for collaborative efforts to raise academic performance index scores.  While that's good, other states will still offer better pay.

  • Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • Trump, Putin sit down a bit late for closely watched summit

    Trump, Putin sit down a bit late for closely watched summit

    Monday, July 16 2018 12:15 AM EDT2018-07-16 04:15:15 GMT
    Monday, July 16 2018 8:04 AM EDT2018-07-16 12:04:14 GMT
    President Donald Trump and Russia President Vladimir Putin shake hands before holding a private meeting Monday in Helsinki, Finland. (Source: CNN, Pool)President Donald Trump and Russia President Vladimir Putin shake hands before holding a private meeting Monday in Helsinki, Finland. (Source: CNN, Pool)

    Monday's meeting was condemned in advance by an assortment of members of Congress from both parties after the U.S. indictment last week of 12 Russian military intelligence officers accused of hacking Democrats in the 2016 election to help Trump's presidential campaign.

    Monday's meeting was condemned in advance by an assortment of members of Congress from both parties after the U.S. indictment last week of 12 Russian military intelligence officers accused of hacking Democrats in the 2016 election to help Trump's presidential campaign.

  • Deadly fire shuts down key route to Yosemite National Park

    Deadly fire shuts down key route to Yosemite National Park

    Sunday, July 15 2018 2:04 PM EDT2018-07-15 18:04:23 GMT
    Monday, July 16 2018 7:57 AM EDT2018-07-16 11:57:14 GMT
    (Andrew Kuhn /The Merced Sun-Star via AP). Crews battle the Ferguson Fire along steep terrain behind the Redbud Lodge along Highway 140 near El Portal in Mariposa County, Calif., on Saturday, July 14, 2018.(Andrew Kuhn /The Merced Sun-Star via AP). Crews battle the Ferguson Fire along steep terrain behind the Redbud Lodge along Highway 140 near El Portal in Mariposa County, Calif., on Saturday, July 14, 2018.

    A wildfire that killed a California firefighter has grown quickly and forced the closure of a key route into Yosemite National Park.

    A wildfire that killed a California firefighter has grown quickly and forced the closure of a key route into Yosemite National Park.

  • Girl, 7, killed crossing highway to find dad help after alleged drunken crash

    Girl, 7, killed crossing highway to find dad help after alleged drunken crash

    Monday, July 16 2018 7:01 AM EDT2018-07-16 11:01:17 GMT
    Monday, July 16 2018 7:01 AM EDT2018-07-16 11:01:17 GMT
    The girl’s father is now behind bars, facing charges of drunken driving and possibly further charges. (Source: WXYZ/CNN)The girl’s father is now behind bars, facing charges of drunken driving and possibly further charges. (Source: WXYZ/CNN)

    The girl’s father is now behind bars, facing a charge of drunken driving and possibly further charges.

    The girl’s father is now behind bars, facing a charge of drunken driving and possibly further charges.

Powered by Frankly