Is This a Sacrifice You Would Make?


Merit pay has been a hot topic in education reform for quite some time now. I am not a supporter of merit pay. I am insulted by anyone who suggests that merit pay would encourage me to be a better teacher. There are many teachers who work for far less than I do, who, like me, are intrinsically motivated to help their students succeed. Money makes living my life easier, and I am grateful for my salary, but offering me more money in exchange for a classroom environment with which I don’t agree is not going to work for me.  (That is to say: relentlessly prepping students for tests instead of giving them rich educational experiences).

Another major issue in the ed reform dialogue is the way teachers are made to feel that they are incapable of making professional decisions. The result is an ever weary teaching force demoralized by having to put into effect policies that are not educationally sound and that hurt the very students they are promoted as helping.

So, considering the latter (with a touch of the former) I have asked several members of my PLN recently for their answer to this question:

Would you accept a pay cut in exchange for more autonomy over your profession?

My thoughts are these: I make a decent salary (much better than some in other parts of the country, for sure), so I could see myself accepting less money. Part of me feels that the satisfaction of being able to do whatever I felt was best to help my kids meet their potential would offset the material losses I’d suffer.

The other part of me feels like I may already be living above my means, anyway, and that if I’m to ever have a financially sound future (or even present) then I need the money and should just suck it up and cash my check.

I am curious for your thoughts. Would you accept a pay cut in exchange for more autonomy over your profession?

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6 responses to “Is This a Sacrifice You Would Make?

  1. No. I don’t think I should have to sacrifice my ability to have a home and family to teach the way I feel is academically sound.

  2. I couldn’t, I make such little money as it s that we struggle to get by. In a perfect world, I would, but this world is far from perfect.

  3. Teachers devote substantial hours, dollars and resources towards the profession and they deserve a fair pay that increases over their years of tenure. Without a fair pay, teachers are asked to sacrifice lifestyle and family care–it takes money to raise a family as well as to take care of one’s health, shelter, food and other needs. I believe that all workers in all fields deserve fair pay and a reasonable work schedule. Rather than merit pay, I believe that schools can look to restructure the work place. As part of the restructure there could be a greater variety of roles. I am fortunate to work in a system that offers a fair pay to teachers. Due to this fair pay there is little turnover, less need for second jobs and a positive attitude towards giving the job the extra hours it requires for success.

    • I don’t disagree, Maureen. I’m not thinking about the extra hours (we all know they are necessary). How do you feel about the heart of what I proposed – autonomy in exchange for less money?

  4. I believe that autonomy is in the best interest of an excellent education for all, hence I believe that autonomy should be expected not a wager related to pay.

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