FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
You've got to hand it to President Obama - it seems like he's following through with many of his campaign promises, even if it means taking on traditional Democratic voting blocs.
President Obama says good teachers should get raises and bad ones should be removed.
The president is out criticizing public schools and vowing to change them - in part, by rewarding good teachers and replacing bad ones - something that doesn't usually sit well with teachers' unions and public school systems. The president says good teachers will get pay raises if students succeed and will be asked to take on more responsibility. However, bad ones should be removed. The president stated, "I reject a system that rewards failure and protects a person from its consequences."
The president of the American Federation of Teachers embraced the goals outlined by the president, but said as with any public policy, "the devil is in the details" and it's important for teachers' voices to be heard in this process.
This comes at a time when public education is set to receive about $100 billion from the economic stimulus package; and the president is making a point to link a stronger educational system to future success for our sagging economy.
The president's willingness to go against a traditional Democratic constituency like this is refreshing; and it's not the first time. Mr. Obama recently irked many Democrats with his plan to keep between 35,000 and 50,000 residual troops in Iraq after the draw down.
Here’s my question to you: Is merit pay for teachers a good idea even if it means the president is taking on one of his biggest groups of supporters?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
John from Concord, New Hampshire writes:
It's time we valued good teachers just like good doctors, lawyers and other professionals... pay them more money. But, make it a lot easier to get rid of the deadwood and that, my friends, is where the president and the unions will come to blows. The union protects mediocrity and opposes rewarding anyone who rises [teaches] above that level.
Lynn from Columbia, Missouri writes:
Interesting. He rejects rewarding failure and protecting people from consequences, yet that's exactly what he's doing with the financial institutions and auto industries. It sounds like a double standard to me. Every student is different and teachers should not be punished for getting uninterested students. You can not force an unwilling student to learn. He should be working on the kids and not the instructors. Most teachers care or they wouldn't take such low paying jobs.
Tom from Desoto, Texas writes:
All compensation should be based on merit. I understand the reason behind tenure but no job should be a free ride for life. I knew teachers who had a pint of booze in a drawer and some smoked pot during a break. The auto industry also had that "job for life" concept.
Richard from Orlando writes:
As a current teacher, I do not agree with the president’s merit pay proposal. On my annual evaluations from my principal, she ranks me as one of the best in her school. I chose to teach in an inner-city school with high level of poverty and most of my students come from broken families. I know I have a great impact on the students there, and I feel it would be unfair for my salary to be based on student achievement.
Ronald from Kansas City writes:
I recall the president saying during the campaign that he is not going to tell you what you want to hear but what you need to hear, and I can't agree more. Merit pay should apply to all individuals (teachers, politicians etc.) that get paid by taxpayers’ money.