Emo Monday

From Education Week’s article entitled, Does Merit Pay Work?:

Despite pay-for-performance programs’ resurging popularity, some skeptics question whether money can ever be a major motivator for teachers, many of whom see the profession as more of a calling than a job. [emphasis added by moi]

All by myyyyseeeellllllfff …

I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school math teacher and current head of teaching at Desmos. He / him. More here.


  1. I’d say that money may not be a major motivator for all teachers — certainly for some it likely is, but for others it’s not –but it can be a major filter. That is, some superior teachers simply may not be able to provide for their needs based on an educator’s salary. I’m 41, and happen to be single, and happen to have had a previous career that set me up to be able to shift financial gears substantially. But if I had a family for whom I needed to provide, I just couldn’t stay where I am, earning what I do. Either I’d have to work a second job, or I’d have to revert back to engineering. I’m definitely NOT holding myself up as a paradigm for awesome teaching (!) but I think that same situation holds for others who are superior teachers.

    Thus, money can wind up filtering out some great teachers.

  2. Well, my dad always said that it is one thing to be dedicated, but it doesn’t mean that one needs to starve.

    Teachers need to be paid a competitive wage, in the absence of merit pay. It should not be an either/or – merit pay or a salary which allows a teacher to live with dignity.

  3. While some of the best teachers I’ve met have a dedication to the job that exists outside the concerns of the marketplace, far too frequently this is used as an excuse to underpay teachers — the “oh, teaching is so noble we wouldn’t want to sully it with dirty money” line.

    However, pay for performance is equally misguided. To start, I’d love to hear a description of “performance” that was even close to palatable to the various stakeholders within the educational community. Then, I’d like to see a test to measure a teacher’s performance (saying nothing of a student’s learning) that eliminated socioeconomic or racial bias.

    I have an idea: how about a living wage for teachers, such that they could afford to own a home in the communities where they teach?