Opinion
Education Letter to the Editor

Incentives for Teaching Demean the Profession

December 01, 2009 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

Since when is it necessary to provide teachers with incentives to teach well (“Researchers Probe Performance Incentives for Teachers,” Nov. 11, 2009)? I’ve had experience in both business and education—in business as a director of information services in the government and private sectors, and in education as a teacher, school administrator, and university professor—and am insulted by the attempt at the national and state levels to effectively bribe educators to teach children “better.”

In fact, all teachers should be insulted and outraged by this latest political and legislative absurdity. In my state of Texas, lawmakers and business leaders determined that teachers should be paid incentives to improve student performance, and thereby further success in school. It was doomed to failure, and, as confirmed by a report last month, didn’t work.

Teaching is not an industrial, assembly-line position in which the more pieces you finish, the more money you earn. The whole honorable point of becoming a teacher is that you want to build a positive educational foundation and a love for learning for each student, and then increase that child’s knowledge in ongoing increments so that he or she can move toward a successful future with a positive work ethic.

If states would provide teachers with professional salaries, there would be no need to complement their pay with incentives for additional income. Salary increases should be followed with a more intelligent and productive way of improving learning outcomes than the current “pass the state exam” mentality, and smaller student-to-teacher classroom ratios should be instituted.

An incentive plan for teachers represents irresponsible and inappropriate thinking, and sends a negative message about an honorable field. If we want to start an incentive program, perhaps we should give legislators rewards for each intelligent proposal they come up with.

Peter Stern

Driftwood, Texas

A version of this article appeared in the December 02, 2009 edition of Education Week as Incentives for Teaching Demean the Profession

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Mathematics Webinar
Addressing Unfinished Learning in Math: Providing Tutoring at Scale
Most states as well as the federal government have landed on tutoring as a key strategy to address unfinished learning from the pandemic. Take math, for example. Studies have found that students lost more ground
Content provided by Yup Math Tutoring
Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: November 17, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Nearly a Million Kids Vaccinated in Week 1, White House Says
Experts say there are signs that it will be difficult to sustain the initial momentum.
4 min read
Leo Hahn, 11, gets the first shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. Last week, U.S. health officials gave the final signoff to Pfizer's kid-size COVID-19 shot, a milestone that opened a major expansion of the nation's vaccination campaign to children as young as 5. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Education How Schools Are Getting Kids the COVID Shot, and Why Some Aren’t
Some district leaders say offering vaccine clinics, with the involvement of trusted school staff, is key to helping overcome hesitancy.
5 min read
A girl walks outside of a mobile vaccine unit after getting the first dose of her COVID-19 vaccine, outside P.S. 277, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)
Education Biden Administration Urges Schools to Provide COVID-19 Shots, Information for Kids
The Biden administration is encouraging local school districts to host vaccine clinics for kids and information on benefits of the shots.
2 min read
President Joe Biden, and first lady Jill Biden walk to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. Biden is spending the weekend at his home in Rehoboth Beach, Del. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)