The Instigator
PublicForumFTW
Pro (for)
Losing
1 Points
The Contender
Logical-Master
Con (against)
Winning
13 Points

Merit Pay for Teachers

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Logical-Master
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/10/2010 Category: Education
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 9,203 times Debate No: 10787
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (27)
Votes (2)

 

PublicForumFTW

Pro

Resolved: That merit pay based on student achievement should be a significant component of K-12 teacher compensation in United Sates public schools.
This is last months Public Forum topic. Also, this round will be run exactly like a Public Forum round, minus the cross-examination. For those unfamiliar with Public Forum (or PF) each side first presents a case, without a rebuttal. The second round, each side then makes arguments against the other side. The third round, is again, a rebuttal of sorts, but a bit shorter, and emphasizing on MAJOR points, but I won't be nit-picky, argue what you wish. Because we aren't speaking, there aren't limits on how much you put in here. And finally, the "Final Focus" as we, PFers, call it. Summarize why you won, sway the judge(voters in this case). Also, in PF, no sort of formalized plan WHATSOEVER may be proposed. Also, no kritiks (the resolution IS debatable, no arguing that it's not.) or counterplans, etc. We are arguing whether the resolution is true or false, nothing else.

Our president, Barack Obama, said in 2009 that, "Many have resisted the idea of rewarding excellence in teaching with extra pay, even though we know it can make a difference in the classroom" Because merit pay could boost our economy, motivate teachers, and because the current compensation system is faulty my partner and I stand in firm affirmation of today's resolution, which states:

Resolved: That merit pay based on student achievement should be a significant component of K-12 teacher compensation in United Sates public schools.

Before I begin, I'd like to clarify a few terms:
Merit pay: is a compensation system whereby base pay increases are determined by individual performance according to the University of Minnesota's glossary of compensation terms.

Student Achievement: is defined as the quality and quantity of a student's work according to Merriam Webster

This now brings me to my first contention, which states, merit pay can boost our failing economy. Most teachers are considered to be middle to lower class. John Elder, Professor at Yale University said that, "Bonus money would best be directed towards people who can't afford to save money at any time — because they're behind on their bills or in need of dental work or a few things for the kids with Christmas looming." If they get bonuses of $1,500, which was seen in Minneapolis's MPPP program or ones as large as $20,000 as seen in Massachusetts in 1998 it will be spent. With approximately 6.2 million teachers in the U.S. even small bonuses could turn into a large sum. Spending this money puts money back into our economy, which helps this entire nation out of this recession. This much money could jump start our economy and help alleviate the effect of the current recession.

This brings me to my second contention, stating: merit pay will motivate teachers. No one can deny that money is a powerful motivator. If teachers are paid more based on how their students are doing, they will try to help their students excel. Gary Ritter, Director of the Office for Education Policy has said in 2009 that, "There is one area where the evidence is clear--effective teaching is the single most important school-related factor in determinating student success." You can see that motivated teachers are vital to student success, and merit pay would aid in motivating mediocre teachers. Also Gayor McCown, Executive Director of the Teaching Commission has said, "Ensuring that some portion of compensation is based on student performance is a step in the right direction. Such a system would acknowledge a teacher's abilities and efforts in the classroom, and could potentially act as an excellent motivator for all teachers to focus more on what really matters: student performance."

Bringing me to my third and final contention, stating: the current compensation system is not working. It rewards meritocracy, underpays good teachers, and ultimately causes a shortage in teachers across the nation. Mediocre teachers do much less work, and their students do not reach their full potential, and yet they're paid as much as an intelligent and engaging teacher! According to Victor Lavy, Research Associate at the Centre for Economic Policy Research, " Few things are more frustrating for high performers than to be treated exactly like their less committed peers. Today, the profession repels too many energetic practitioners by expecting teachers to willingly sacrifice professional growth, advancement and reward. The steps that need to be taken are straightforward. Teachers' compensation should be based on performance rather than simply on experience and credentials." It's obvious that merit pay is the only way to solve this problem. Even president Obama believes the current system is faulty. He has said, "I reject a system that rewards failure and protects a person from its consequences. The stakes are too high." Here he was referring to our current teacher compensation system. Victor Lavy has also said that, "Assuming that the compensation system accurately identifies productivity, basing pay on performance will attract and retain the best teachers" The current compensation system is unfair and drives the aspiring and current teachers away from the profession, which is causing a teaching shortage. You can clearly see that it is not working efficiently, and that merit pay would be a good addition.

I close with a quote from our president last February, "In a global economy where the most valuable skill you can sell is your knowledge, a good education is no longer just a pathway to opportunity, it is a pre-requisite." Merit pay is a way that students' education could be further improved. Because merit pay could help our failing economy, as well as motivate teachers, and because it would be a great addition to our current, defective compensation system I strongly urge a ballot for the affirmative.
Logical-Master

Con

Before I begin, I'd like to start off with a quote from the great Eli Broad: "Public education is the key civil rights issue of the 21st century. Our nation's knowledge-based economy demands that we provide young people from all backgrounds and circumstances with the education and skills necessary to become knowledge workers. If we don't, we run the risk of creating an even larger gap between the middle class and the poor. This gap threatens our democracy, our society and the economic future of America."

I'd also like to quote Cody-Franklin when he once said the following in one of my dreams "Sometimes, the truth isn't good enough, sometimes people deserve more. Sometimes people deserve to have their faith rewarded. Although it's true that the world isn't fair, it's no reason for us not to strive to be. Let us surpass the world itself."

Because I believe in the words of Mr Broad and Mr. Franklin, I strongly negate the resolution which states: Resolved: That merit pay based on student achievement should be a significant component of K-12 teacher compensation in United Sates public schools.

As insisted, rebuttals to the instigator's contentions shall be made in round two. To start, I shall provide two contentions of my own:

CONTENTION 1: Endorsing merit pay for teachers stimulates a conflict of interest between students and teachers

A) During the year 2001, our former president George W. Bush initiated the infamous "No Child Left Behind" program. Like the system the opposition is upholding, it too revolved around funding on the basis of performance. A consequence of this policy was that teachers in many schools WILLINGLY ended up lowering their standards so that they would receive better funding [1]. Ladies and gentleman, the moral of the story is that performance based pay can and will drive people far enough to work in a manner even as depraved as depriving students of a decent education. Especially when taking into account the fact that our economy is not doing so well, teachers are all the more likely to behave no differently than teachers were behaving when it was.

B) I would also like to add that even for the teachers that are less likely to just flat out manipulate the curriculum in order to insure that it is easy, that merit based pay suffers from another problem that NCLB did and that is that it encourages teachers to focus on teaching students the skills needed to excel ("narrow subset of skills") in standardized testing rather than a broad range of skills which we are to expect from those attempting to receive a proper education.[2]

Given the massive amount of evidence in favor of this assertion, it's rather clear merit pay based on student achievement will easily further the United States' dismal education record in comparison to the rest of the world.

CONTENTION 2: Adhering to the Merit pay system is unfair amongst teachers as there is no way to fairly give out payment based on performance.

We must keep in mind many factors when taking this subject int consideration. Lo and behold, I offer the video on the right as my source for the claims I'm making below.

A) Some score gains might not be equivalent amongst teachers. For instance, lets say at the end of a year, certain students in a certain teachers class manage to go from the 75th percentile to the 80th percentile. Let us also say certain students in a rival teachers class manage to go from the 90th to the 95th percentile. Naturally, such teachers would receive equal increases in pay for improving such students up 5 percentiles. However the fact remains that more educated children might be easier to teach and that it may very well prove easier to move students from the 70th percentile to the 75th percentile than it would to move them from the 85th to the 90th.

The only way to go against equal pay for equal increases would be to flat out reward the teachers who have the best performance with their students more moolah! Yet this still is quite problematic as we are still faced with the fact that student background can easily be a vast influence on their success. In other words, "smart kids" can do well without the teacher's influence.

B) Other people can quite easily effect what teachers do.

There are some schools who have rather supportive and helpful principle willing to work alongside teachers and insure that their efforts to teach go smoothly whereas there are other schools were principles are completely apathetic. In other words, teachers who have a helping hand are likely to do perform better (hence receive better pay) whereas teachers who have to put up with incorrigible jerky administration have a lower salary.

This also applies to the very students themselves. I'm sure most of us here have been or are around peers who are quite often "out of control" as well as peers who are reserved and polite during our days in grade school. The fact of the matter is that it can be difficult to put up with the former group of students and that it can be breeze to put up with the latter. Teaching one or other alone can determine one's salary.

There were additional points made in the aforementioned video and I invite others to watch it. That said, I feel the two points I've presented here to be the most important as they demonstrate just how totally unfair merit pay is when attempting to run it. I assert that there is no way to run the system while adhering to fairness and await my opponent's attempts to insist otherwise.

With that said, I now await the affirmative side's first rebuttal.

SOURCES:

1: http://www.factcheck.org...
2: http://www.reading.org...
Debate Round No. 1
PublicForumFTW

Pro

Before I begin I'd like to thank my opponent for engaging in this debate, as well as apologize for the late response. I have been very busy.

Today, I will be rebutting my opponent's arguments.

In my opponent's first contention, part A, he says that teachers will go far enough to deprive students of a good education. You can see that teachers would be attempting to give students the best education possible to improve their achievement. If a student was given a poor education, wouldn't they achieve nothing? And because this merit pay is based on students' achievement, it makes sense for teacher to give the best education possible.

And also for part B of my opponent's contention, I have nothing to say but this. We cannot say for sure if this merit pay, if the student achievement that the merit pay is based upon, is even going to be based on standardized tests. Therefore, teachers "teaching to the test" or narrowing curriculum may not even be a problem. We cannot worry about it in this debate.

Moving on to my opponent's next contention, again, in part A, we cannot be sure that these students will be measured by which percentile they fit under. And also that "smart kids" can work without teacher assistance, but will they not achieve more with a teacher aiding them?

And as for part B, though a teacher may have "an incorrigible jerky administration" I do not see how this would affect their pay. Or if they have students that are out of control, all teachers have these kids. There isn't a way out of getting them put in your class. But let me remind you that merit pay is extra pay. These teachers are not getting any less money, simply bonuses.

I was a bit too short on time to gather evidence, but I hope this will do.
Logical-Master

Con

I also thank my opponent for participating in this debate and wish her the best of luck. With being said, on with intellectual jousting I say! I shall start by rebutting PRO's case and shall then move on to dealing with her rebuttal to my own.

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RE: PRO's Case |
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1) RE Obama Quote - First, it should be noted that the both of us are concerned with the economy as indicated by our respective quotes. Keep this in mind as it is quite crucial in this debate. Second, Obama's claim (though well said) is faulty as my evidence of merit based funding cited in R1 did not result in the economy improving. In fact, the very administration which instigated this is the reason for the dismal economy right now. On the other hand, my quote indicates that poor education can lead to a poor economy and merit based funding has shown as easily being a great cause of poor education.

2) RE First Contention - Even if teachers can be assured a short term gain (I say short term because this system is going to hurt everyone in the long run), it's not worth education quality slipping, hence increasing the very problem which both myself and the opposition are concerned with. There are other ways stimulate the economy right now anyway, so it's not like we even have any real reason to take this risk in the first place. Not to mention that we could just easily give teachers the chance to have bonus pay (i.e. excelling to a high level in grad school, hence giving potential teachers the incentive to improve their teaching skills) without risking poorer education quality.

3) RE Second Contention - Once more, there are other ways to motivate teachers via financial incentives. As insisted above, rewarding potential teachers who have excelled well enough or have a certain level of accomplishments would be an alternative that doesn't involve degrading education standards. Colleges are more likely to lower a potential students tuition (sometimes even giving students a full ride) based on their academic achievements in highschool. The same goes for grad schools when in comes to collegiate achievements (note that this isn't a counter plan. I'm simply pointing out that one of the reasons affirming the resolution is a terrible idea is because it's highly unnecessary).

4) RE Third Contention - Cross apply what I said above. There are other words to solve the problem of teachers being under-payed that don't revolve around the likelihood of teachers willing to tarnish their students' education all so that they'll make a few extra bucks.

5) RE Another Quote from Obama - Like I said already, merit pay is most certainly not a way that students' education "could be further improved." It does quite the opposite.

=================
Rebuilding my Case |
=================

1) The affirmative speaker has not responded to either of my quotes at the beginning of my case, thus you are to take them as being dropped. Extend both quotes! The impact of this on the debate is that one of my quotes insist that Poor education = Poor economy. With the economy being the affirmative side's primary concern, her case is utterly demolished should my points regarding poor education go through.

2) In regards to my first contention, PRO misunderstands my argument. The evidence I offered served to show that teachers have already shown themselves willing to lower the difficulty as well as limit the level of education offered in their classes so that their school would be better funded, hence resulting in better pay. If a student is given a poor education that is poor because it is pathetically easy for the student to excel in, the teachers will achieve a higher salary.

As for her response to the B part of my contention, this merely fuels my case. If Merit based pay were not based on standardized testing (which exist so that student's educational knowledge can be measured on an even scale throughout the entire nation) , it would make it all the more easier for teachers to manipulate their respective curriculum in a way which lowers the standard of education and make it easier for them to maintain a high salary.

3) Cross apply my above points when it comes to part A. If standardized testing isn't the measurement system, it becomes even EASIER for teachers to sabotage student education so that they may increase their salaries. In regards to smart kids achieving more with a teacher aiding them, what good is that when teachers will likely be working in a manner which does not benefit them education wise?

As for part B, if some teachers (who aren't as likely to flat out manipulate the education) have the benefit of having an administration which is actively doing it's job (i.e. Principle disciplining out of hand students so that they are less likely to be out of hand in the future), they can focus more improving education quality. The same cannot be said for teachers who essentially have to do their job as well as their administrations.

IN terms of having rowdy out of control kids, PRO responds by pointing out that all teachers have these kids. Even if this is true, not all teachers have the same amount of students like this (the more there are, the harder teaching becomes).

Finally, PRO points out that merit pay is extra pay, hence teachers would not be getting any less money, simply bonuses. However, getting less money is precisely what she just said. Some teachers are going to be getting more money than others. This is okay ideally, but the fact of the matter is that the conditions to earning more money is completely unfair.

And that'll do it for now.
Debate Round No. 2
PublicForumFTW

Pro

PublicForumFTW forfeited this round.
Logical-Master

Con

I believe I emphasized my major points sufficiently in the previous rounds. Extend my whole case.
Debate Round No. 3
PublicForumFTW

Pro

PublicForumFTW forfeited this round.
Logical-Master

Con

Final Focus: PRO drops my entire case via forfeiture. Since nothing was debated in the last two rounds, I see no need to say much else other than to reread the points which I've emphasized in R.

With that said, I thank my opponent for the debate and I thank the audience for reading. Cheers and good night!
Debate Round No. 4
27 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Cody_Franklin 4 years ago
Cody_Franklin
Lolololololololololol
Posted by Kinesis 4 years ago
Kinesis
I genuinely remember reading this 2 years ago and lol'ing at the dream Cody line. Nostalgia...
Posted by Kinesis 4 years ago
Kinesis
I genuinely remember reading this 2 years ago and lol'ing at the dream Cody line. Nostalgia...
Posted by PublicForumFTW 7 years ago
PublicForumFTW
Sorry all.. :/ Got super busy. Researching at school till 7:00 or 8:00, then homework till tenish. The semester started and I was unable to keep up. I apologize, and don't let this stop you from ever debating me. ;)
Posted by Maikuru 7 years ago
Maikuru
Default 7 to Con due to multiple forfeits.
Posted by Logical-Master 7 years ago
Logical-Master
lol, how petty of me to extend my opening quote from my R1. Incidentally, I once heard of someone winning a national LD tournament in doing this.
Posted by Logical-Master 7 years ago
Logical-Master
Someone actually reading a DDO debate? What sort of black magic is this?
Posted by PoeJoe 7 years ago
PoeJoe
Cody was in your dreams, L-M?
Posted by Logical-Master 7 years ago
Logical-Master
I mean rebut her rebuttal.
Posted by Logical-Master 7 years ago
Logical-Master
So I CAN rebut PRO's case in my R2?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Maikuru 7 years ago
Maikuru
PublicForumFTWLogical-MasterTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by Logical-Master 7 years ago
Logical-Master
PublicForumFTWLogical-MasterTied
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Total points awarded:16