Rebekah Allen from the PNJ wrote a very articulate story in today's Pensacola News Journal regarding the issue of Merit Pay.
For the most part, I thought the piece was very well written and balanced.
But several Key issues were missing from the piece that could have made it even better, in my opinion.
Most importantly among these "left out" issues is the fact that Merit Pay for teachers is being advocated by the leaders of both parties. Republicans and conservatives have long been advocates for Merit Based pay for teachers. The nation's most powerful Democrat, President Barack Obama, and his Education Secretary Arne Duncan, are both strongly advocating merit pay for teachers based in part on student achievement. This very important fact has never once made it into any of the numerous pieces the PNJ has done on the subject of Merit Pay, and I do not understand why this is...
Why mention that 500 teachers opted out in the first year without a mention of the fact that many fewer (only 340) opted out the second year? Fewer teachers opting out the second year equals more teachers interested in participating in MAP.
--Why not link our Union approved plan in the electronic version of the PNJ, so the readers can look it over? I'll link it here from the Teacher's Union website.
--Why not ask the union representative why she is not sure of "what official position to take"--when our current MAP plan was developed in cooperation with her union? Did they help develop a plan that suddenly they do not like anymore?? What??
--why not go back to some of the teachers who spoke in favor of the MAP plan, like the former Escambia Teacher of the Year who earned her merit bonus in 2008 and spoke very favorably of the MAP plan in an earlier PNJ article.
--why not mention the fact that Escambia's charter schools like Byrneville and Pensacola Beach Elementary School are utilizing Merit Pay, as are the charter schools in 30 Florida school districts?
--Why not mention the fact that Superintendent Thomas has said publicly on numerous occasions and during his campaign that he supports Merit Pay, if money is available to administer it and the measurements are fair?
Overall, having the pro and con discussion about Merit Pay is a healthy conversation to have, but all of the details and facts should be given, this way the reader can formulate an opinion with the benefit of all of the information at hand. Even given limited space, the above issues are crucial to the debate locally and should have made it into the final version of this story in my opinion.
I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.