Measure 60: Teacher Pay

OPB | Sept. 23, 2008 midnight | Updated: Sept. 10, 2013 8:44 p.m.

Should teacher pay raises be based on classroom performance?

People have often asked me how we produce our shows. I thought I could best answer it with an actual example. Consider this a little look behind the production curtain:

In preparation for tomorrow’s show about the teacher pay ballot measure, I did a search for articles about Oregon teachers and merit pay. A very informative Oregonian article appeared that said “how much Oregon teachers are paid, and how they are paid, is of increasing public interest.” (Unfortunately I can’t link it it because it’s in their archives. Looking behind the curtain doesn’t include Lexis-Nexis access!) It went on to detail a ballot initiative that Bill Sizemore was planning that would “base raises for public employees on merit, not seniority, and would eliminate layoffs based solely on seniority.” The article was written in 1996; voters rejected the initiative in 2000.

If I had searched our own Think Out Loud site I also would have found our April 29 show that asked “Is increasing teacher pay the means to a better education?” This show also mentioned Sizemore — and the initiative he had planned for this year: Measure 60.

Now here we are with mere weeks to go before people sit around their kitchen tables to decide how to vote on this year’s ballot initiatives. Measure 60 would mandate basing teacher pay raises and retention on classroom performance, not seniority.

The TOL staff debated whether the show was necessary. A similar initiative has been on the ballot before, and a similar show has been on our air in the past. But the immediacy of this election won out. Voters will need to decide on Measure 60 this year, and so I felt it was important to cover the measure within this season’s election programming. While our past show touched on the issue, this one will focus specifically on it.

So, here we go: what do you think of Measure 60? Should teacher pay increases, and retention, be based on performance or seniority? Are you an administrator who wants to attract and retain more new, young teachers? Are you a teacher who wants your years of service to be the deciding factor in how you are compensated? Did you vote on Sizemore’s iniative in 2000? How will your vote change this year (if at all)? What do you think of merit pay?

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