I’ve spent some time thinking over Governor Daugaard’s education proposal. I commend him for his efforts and the ideas intended to jumpstart our flatlined education scores across the state.
When it comes to elimination of tenure, I would hope the legislature passes this portion of the plan. Anyone in any career should be able to be dismissed if they are not meeting the standards the job requires. I find it absurd that any segment of our population gets this kind of protection simply because they are teachers. Unlike Daugaard who wants to take away tenure for only the incoming teachers, I would remove it for everyone. Holding a job should be purely based on performance, not length of employment.
When I get to the issue of merit pay, I can be persuaded either direction. The way I understand it, this plan would not change teacher pay but would make certain teachers eligible to earn bonuses. Unfortunately, I believe many of the factors that make teaching difficult are caused by government regulation, school politics, and family background.
Finally I am dead set against paying math and science teachers a $3,500 bonus simply for being a math or science teacher. What if they are the worst teachers in the school? Why should they automatically recieve the bonus just for showing up? How is this either bonus or merit based if everyone who teaches particular subjects gets more money every year? What does it say about the other subjects where teachers actually have to earn their bonus when math and science teachers automatically recieve a substantial pay increase and then are able to compete with other teachers for the merit pay bonus?