Teachers who do well deserve more pay


MORE PAY DEMANDED. Members of the Oakland Education Association Katie Elmore and Craig Gordon protest the current Oakland Unified School District’s offer to give teachers no pay raise. Photo by Sergio Alvarado.

The Oakland Unified School District and the teachers therein have been unsuccessfully negotiating a new contract for nearly two years.

The district says that it doesn’t have enough money to give teachers a raise and has proposed a zero percent raise to teachers.

Teachers say the district is just spending its money the wrong way, including paying expensive consultants. They are so frustrated that they have planned a one-day strike for April 29.

We at the Green & Gold believe that teachers do deserve money, but only if they are doing a good job.

That’s right. Not all teachers deserve increased pay because honestly not every teacher does his or her job well.

A good teacher is one who meets students’ educational needs by providing them a good learning environment, making sure the students understand the material, and gives a logical amount of work that relates to the subject.

A bad teacher has no patience with the students and throws an unnecessarily huge amount of work to students. In a bad teacher type environment, students learn nothing, and constantly perform poorly on standardized exams.

We think that “merit pay” would be something good for the district to practice. In other words, teachers who teach well would get more money.

According to the Ed-Data Web site, teachers in OUSD make on average $54,158, compared to the statewide average of $65,425.

The only teachers who really need an increase to their paychecks are the ones who try their hardest to provide their students the proper knowledge of the subjects they’re teaching, rather than just throwing books in front of students’ faces.

Good teachers should make at least the state average. Teachers who go beyond their call of duty should make more than the average. It sounds like common sense to pay those teachers more.

It would be nice for the district to try a merit pay system for teachers so that good teachers receive reasonable raises.

We would like to see students have some input on which teachers are doing a good job.

With students giving evaluations, teachers would be able to be checked on the quality of their work and what kind of results would come from their teaching habits.

Some individuals might argue that that kind of system is flawed and that students could just give good evaluations to teachers who give them good grades and not too much work.

However, random check-ups by principals would fix that issue.

The principal doing the check-up could also select a random student from a class to his or her office after school, without the teacher knowing, and ask what happened in the class that day.

But we do recognize that there is not enough money to give even the best teachers what they deserve.

One way to fix this is for students to do their part in helping the district get more funding. How can they do that?

The way the school funding system works is the more students come to school, the more the district is paid by the state and the more the school gets.

We support the April 29 strike, and we believe that teachers should exercise their right to fight for higher pay.

But we do think they have to agree to let the district pay them based on how well they teach their students, not just for showing up to work.