Dammit, Catherine! It’s Still Merit Pay Even If You Say It Isn’t.

The teacher licensure / pay proposal that has taken over 18 months to not even get a full rough draft constructed still is based on merit pay.

And no matter how many times State Supt. Catherine Truitt tries to spin, redirect, or pivot, she still seems to be in denial that merit does not work.

When someone is being paid for performance, then that someone is getting merit pay.

Just look at her quote in the following tweets.

“In the private sector, merit pay is when pay is given out in competition with one another. The pay proposal is competition with oneself. You are being measured against yourself, not someone else. I think it is very important to clarify that compensating teachers according to the impact they have in the classroom, or as Maureen Stover said yesterday at the BEST NC Innovation Lab, ‘Are my students better on Day 180 than on Day 1 because I was their teacher’ is not merit pay.”

Oh, yes it is.

First, when Truitt compares teaching public school to the private sector, she already has a misguided argument. If the failed reforms of the last two decades have taught us anything, it is that you can’t run schools like a business. (It is funny in a sad way that she uses the word “private” so quickly when she is supposed to lead the Department of PUBLIC Instruction.)

Secondly, teachers are not in a competition with themselves.

They are in competition with archaic test scores, lack of resources, false narratives of a state superintendent about learning loss, bad legislation, and secret algorithms.

The fact that the new licensure / pay proposal classifies teachers by levels based on outcomes means that teachers are being measured against other teachers to see who is more deserving of the merit pay. Why? Because if the state is to assume that teachers working now are already at least a level four or higher, they would have already been paid more for what they doing now.

And there is that thing about the state never fully funding a merit pay proposal like that. Remember the ABC’s?

Hell, teachers are in competition with a half-baked pay scheme in a Right-To-Work, At-Will state that outlaws public sector bargaining rights.

Teachers are in competition with a legislature that is funding unregulated charter school growth and the most opaque voucher system in the nation.

Teachers are in competition with a state that does not want to honor the LEANDRO decision.

But Catherine doesn’t want to see it for what it really is because she knows that the term “merit pay” can be a deal breaker.

And she knows this is just merit pay.