Merit-pay, controversies and debate


Politicians are there to listen, learn, think and implement an idea through leadership without any attention on the level on which they are serve constituencies. To every writer, journalist or blogger the best situation is when it has all sides in the article or if he/she gets feedback as soon as possible upon publishing article. And in this case we needed to wait just five days to get a feedback on a story connected to the BC Liberals leadership candidate, Kevin Falcon, who merely week ago proposed merit-pay system for BC teachers. Now we have a chance to read thoughts from the regular people, parents, on this proposition and to acknowledge their ideas and views on his proposition.

MTIP and teacher importance

“Teachers are one of the most important factors in our children’s development. Parents, students and administrators all know who the exceptional and innovative educators are. Government needs to recognize and reward those teachers and encourage them to share their expertise and methods with their peers. I support the development of a Master Teacher Incentive Program, similar to one being implemented nationally by Australia’s new Labour Government. I’ll work with teachers, administrators, parents, and community leaders to develop a set of criteria for identifying innovative educators across BC. These recognized Master Teachers would then help mentor other educators to encourage excellence in the system” says Falcon on his web-presentation.

On Monday The Vancouver Sun published, on a page A12, several readers’ letters regarding his idea. As much these letters are giving us insight to thoughts of the parents , they are also rising some other interesting questions and ideas.

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Kevin Falcon (Photo: Kevin Falcon/Flickr)

“If Falcon was sincerely interested in improving education, he would not antagonize educators but would rather involve them in a non-politicized process to find new ways to improve our schools. A union’s first responsibility is to its membership; however, the B.C. Teachers Federation (BCTF) claims they put children’s interests first. If this is true, then the BCTF should be given the opportunity to develop pragmatic proposals within a realistic fiscal framework. If they are incapable of innovation, imagination and compromise, then the process could proceed without them. What will Falcon announce next to get his name in the news … a meritpay system for politicians?”, wrote Lloyd Atkins of Vernon.

If I’m wrong, I would be honoured to correct myself, but I think that BCTF already has a solid budget which should be enough for innovations, imagination and compromises, BUT is that budget used on a proper way? Almost every single year public is hearing about some new fiscal irregularities regarding teacher’s payment, payouts on lay-off, pension packages or mishandling of funds which were directed for innovations, imaginations and compromises on behalf of students. Mr. Atkins asks about “merit-pay” for politicians. Merit-pay for politicians is used in several different versions all over the world. For example last month Croatian government voted and supported new bill which declares that every single minister will be immediately removed if his ministry spend just a cent over given budget. But also Prime minister said if they succeed to keep a budget and efficiency in a line, later in the year on budget review they can expect some additional funds if situation is better. Some Parliaments in the world are “punishing” MP’s every month trough taking a part of their pay if they don’t participate in discussions or didn’t even been in the Parliamentary Hall during the discussions. And for sure some sort of “merit-pay” could be discussed for the BC legislation.

Merit-pay and different professions

In today’s society and politico-economic situation no one is “sacred cow” or “untouchable”, because every single element of the public must to sacrifice something for good of others. So if some sort of merit-pay for politicians will help, why not discuss it. And more over if out there are not hundreds but thousands of different professions so important for our life and they are working, living, functioning and growing every day in cohabitation with merit-pay I don’t see any reason why teachers shouldn’t be able to do that.

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Teachers importance for next generations (Photo: The Christian Science Monitor)

From my personal experience I can say that merit-pay in journalism is pretty hard part of work, but pushes you daily to be better and work better. When you’re starting work in newsroom your pay is so little that you must to be magician to survive from 1st to 1st in the month, but if you push yourself, continuing your education and researching hard on your stories success comes slowly but securely. Teacher has a duty to educate students to be better than previous generations; journalists are trying to push “previous” generations to work hard and leave something for “student” generations. So we shouldn’t discard every idea just because it comes from politician in a time of leadership campaign.

“One often hears the subject raised, inevitably followed by the expected kneejerk reactions from those on either side of the question. To my knowledge, never have the proponents of either side been called up to justify in open debate these "knee jerk responses." Holding such debates in some open forum, such as, for example, what has occurred on the CBC with the Munk Debates, would enable the general public to make rational judgments on the question after hearing well informed and scholarly presentations pro and con’, says D. M. Stibbs of Surrey

I couldn’t agree more with previous quote. BC Liberal leadership candidates will be out in next few weeks several times in situations face to face with people, and I would like to see merit-pay debate on those but not only between candidates. I hope that BCTF representatives and parents will come out and ask these or same questions but also to be prepared to answer on hard questions asked not only by candidates, because I’m sure that public also has a lot of questions for them. And at the end if you’re going to ask candidates these questions, bring your youngsters with you and give them a chance to talk to Abbott, Clark, Falcon, De Jong, Stilwell and Mayne and get answers on their questions, maybe you will learn something from your children.

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6 thoughts on “Merit-pay, controversies and debate

  1. “…every single element of the public must to sacrifice something for good of others.” Tell that to those receiving bonuses at the top of corporations in a money-losing year. And YELL it at the ones who take those bonuses while laying off lower level employees.

  2. I can’t agree more with your point. In the case of top level officials and bonuses there are two different cases, one is public companies, other is private companies. Well publicized case is BC Ferries, and Mr. David Hahn, and I believe that new government will look into his payment-bonus plan and make some corrections. Also there was a case of superintendent in Surrey, BC, who left his position few months ago with more than $600.000 in benefits and payments and that is one of the reasons why our schools are in financial problems.

    Private companies are independent bodies whom are functioning on their own standards, but if we get smart premier he/she could do something to negotiate with leaders of those companies to sacrifices their bonuses towards keeping more workers.

    We need different climate in BC. Not a climate of dispute and never ending verbal wars, negotiations and talk are always the best approach. Both sides will need to cool of and seat down and talk seeing in each other partners not enemies.

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