Category Archives: merit pay

Let’s Start a Revolution

With all this talk of merit pay for teachers, modeled of course after the business world, where “accountability” is king, I wonder why citizens don’t push these ideas back onto the politicians.  After all, these people, more than a McDonald’s employee, should be held accountable.  They are given millions of dollars by the citizens to make promises to the citizens of they things they will do for the citizens, and yet, very few of these promises come true.  Why aren’t politicians held accountable?  Why can’t there be merit pay for politicians?  Perhaps a nice bonus structure?  Base salary of $50K, with a nice $5K bonus for every promise kept.  Cap at their current salary of $174.  Doesn’t this sound like a solid plan?

Why are politicians able to pass laws to hold other public servants accountable and withhold their raises, but they themselves have not taken any such pay cut?  Nobody even realizes how lazy some of these congressmen and women are.  Did you know that Jim Cooper (D-Tennessee) sponsored a bill this year to incentivize Congress to work called the No Budget, No Pay bill?  The idea is simple: Congress must set a budget by October 1st, their deadline, or risk losing their salary (see below for a very interesting video discussing the bill and congressional reform…be sad it’s only been viewed 52 times).  In other words, they have to show up to work and do some work to get paid.  Shocking concept!

Speaking of Congress, did you know:

– That Congressional members only work 260 days a year?  That’s 52.6% of the year.

– In America, 1% of the population are millionaires.  In Congress, 40-50% of the population are millionaires.

– That because of such rampant insider trading within Congress, the STOCK Act was passed just this year?  If Martha Stewart had thought to run for office before her little insider trading stint, perhaps she could have avoided jail time.

When I think of how I was disparaged on the news almost every night as a teacher being called lazy and greedy for wanting a measly 4% raise, and then how these people are looked at as golden gods, I want to throw up.  When I think that my so-called ability to reduce poverty and change a student’s home life through 46-minutes of teaching is now going to be measured through crazy amounts of standardized testing and performance tasks (and some good old-fashioned value-added assessment for good measure), but these politicians answer to no one except their financial backers and lobbyists, I practically do throw up.

I took a pay cut last year and this year.  I’m sure you did, too.  My brother-in-law’s girlfriend who is also a public servant hasn’t had a raise in five years.  People across this country are hurting for money and resources and politicians are seemingly unmoved by this.  Politicians can choose to take pay cuts (in the form of turning down a raise) and some do, but why in the world should they continue to make such exorbitant salaries for such little time worked?  Why shouldn’t their pay be frozen?  Why shouldn’t they be held accountable?  Perhaps a little value-added assessment would do them some good?

I say we start a revolution.  I say we demand that politicians be held accountable.  I say we get out into our communities and get talking to our community members and get our communities mobilized.  I say, merit pay for politicians!  After all, people work to get stupid laws passed all the time, why not a smart one for a change?

(Merit pay political cartoon by Jeff Parker of Florida Today via here)

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