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[Susan notes: Three cheers for this writer. And he even has a plan for merit pay for legislators.]

Published in Austin American-Statesman

To the editor

RE: teacher incentive pay, now being considered by the governor and the Legislature:

Since when is it necessary to provide teachers with incentives to teach? Teachers should be insulted by the state’s attempt to ‘bribe’ pedagogues to teach our children ‘better.’ The teachers union should be outraged by this latest legislative absurdity.

Teaching isn’t an industrial assembly line position where the more pieces you finish, the more you earn. The whole honorable point of becoming a teacher is that you want to plant a positive educational foundation and a love for learning into each student you teach, and then to increase each child’s knowledge in ongoing increments so he/she may move toward a successful future within our society. Furthermore, if the state would provide professional teachers with a professional salary, there would be no need to complement the salary with incentives for additional teacher income. The whole idea of incentives for teachers is ludicrous.

Legislators and educational administrators had better review their priorities and the educational reality before giving teachers an incentive program to teach. It’s irresponsible and inappropriate thinking, and it sends a negative message about the honorable field of teaching.

If we want to start an incentive program, perhaps we should start one by giving legislators incentives for each intelligent proposal they come up with.

Earle Shiner

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