More than 95% of K-12 teachers in the United States are paid a salary based on the number of years they have been teaching as well as the number of degrees attained. This method was adopted in order to solve equity issues. The method is used across the world whereby a teacher receives increased compensation based on his academic qualifications and years of teaching rather than the students’ performance throughout the years (Podgursky & Springer, 2007). The method has been criticized because it does not inspire teachers to work harder and use innovative ways to achieve better results in the students. Higher performing teachers are not provided with the required attention under such a system. Therefore, many people advocate for the use of merit-based pay programs for the teachers.
When it comes to layoffs, the debate is similar. There are those who support laying off teachers using merit based programs while others advocate seniority as a criterion for selecting the individuals to be retired in case of budget cuts. Many people are against the seniority-based layoff protections. Experts have warned that a teacher’s additional experience will have less of an effect on the students’ performance after the third year of teaching.
I agree that performance and not seniority should be the determining factor for layoffs in the teaching fraternity. Student achievement should be the main gauge as to how a teacher is performing, and whether he/she deserves to keep his job under the reduction in force initiative in the country.
The rational can and should apply to other jobs across a variety of industries. Output and performance should be the sole determining factors that can influence an individual’s tenure in the workplace. Working for many years does not necessarily translate to a high performing individual.
Podgursky, M.J., & Springer, M.G. (2007). Teacher performance pay: A review. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 26(4), 909-949.