Georgia Governor Deal plans merit pay, loss of furlough days for teachers
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has a broad plan to alter education policy in his home state. He wants a merit pay system for teachers, alterations to testing, and elimination of furlough days.
That’s an aggressive agenda that the second-term governor wants to accomplish. Instead of attempting to ram through his proposals all at once, Deal has decided to give state lawmakers an opportunity to digest what he wants and to try to pass some of them on their own, without his connection.
One of the more controversial proposals that Deal wants is merit pay for teachers. While he has backed away from it this year, he has vowed to fight for the changes he wants in 2017. Deal’s plan would completely eradicate the state’s teacher salary system and replace it with merit pay — which is based on how students perform on standardized tests, tying those results to a teacher’s salary.
For obvious reasons, many teachers are against it. The idea behind merit pay is that it supposedly weeds out the bad teachers and also forces teachers to perform better in the classroom. Critics argue that many other issues outside a teacher’s control, like home life and even nutrition, impact a student’s performance.
Instead of fighting that battle this year, Deal backed off and has proposed a budget that includes $300 million for teacher salary increases and $26.2 million for pay raises for pre-k teachers.
Maybe that’s the rise before the fall.
In addition to merit pay, Deal wants the state to re-evaluate the state’s testing requirements. If he wants to tie teacher pay to testing results, it’s likely a good idea to know how well students are performing on each test.
It’s also worth noting that Deal wants to get rid of tests that he deems unnecessary.
This may be the calm before the storm in 2017 and teachers, lawmakers, and Governor Deal are preparing for a war over education.