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I just read your article in Educational Week. I am a new high school English teacher (2nd year). In my first year at my current district, they gave me all high level English courses and charged me with developing a new AP English Lang and Comp class for next year. I work really long hours. The state is slow to recognize my masters degree as it was done in another country so I'm making about $6,000 less a year than I should be on our pay scale. My beef is this. My school has a a culture that rewards after school activities, primarily sports. So, the highest paid teachers are coaches and the activities director who teaches ASB, Leadership, and low impact fitness (walking around the track). I think math, science, English, and social studies teachers should be paid more than elective teachers who never have to take work home. If I weren't constantly grading papers, I could make more for the same hours by coaching something. As it is, I'm buried both weeknights and weekends. I think workload should be taken into account. I can see how this system at my school would be used by people to get more without doing as much. But if certain inherently more time-consuming, difficult jobs were paid better, that would help. This idea was put forth to my by a PE teacher that can teach math but refuses to do so because of the stress. She said she thinks it should go, in order of highest pay, English, math, science, social studies, non-academic electives. My union or the power brokers at my school would never go for that, though. I'm not unhappy where I am. I actually like it a lot, but there are some fundamental inequalities in the system that are both blatant and staggering.

I think the biggest problem with performance-based pay is that some teachers in the same subject get higher end students and some get stuck with the disaffected, perennially low achievers. I shouldn't necessarily get paid more for working with AP students than the special education teacher who might be trying to get a student to tie their own shoes or the classroom teacher working with ELL students mainstreamed into classes they aren't ready for. I think this could perhaps all work in the primary grades where the structure is so different, but I don't see how performance-based pay could ever work well in the secondary world.

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