OUR VIEW: Teachers must earn bonuses; don’t hand them outGov. Dennis Daugaard’s plan to boost teacher pay to the most-wanted and top-performing teachers appears to be gaining traction in the state Legislature, but with an unfortunate twist.
Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s plan to boost teacher pay to the most-wanted and top-performing teachers appears to be gaining traction in the state Legislature, but with an unfortunate twist.
The governor’s original plan included $3,500 bonuses for math and science teachers in middle and high schools. It also proposed a $5,000 bonus for each district’s top 20 percent of teachers, as determined by evaluations and performance.
Predictably, it was met with both high praise and sharp criticism, and in equal doses, depending on the source.
Many Democrats, teachers and education groups blasted the governor’s plan, and most notably its basis of determining the top 20 percent of a district’s teachers.
We liked the idea. The plan made it quite simple: Teachers who wanted the raises would have an opportunity to go earn them with their exceptional teaching and inspiring methods.
Now, the idea has been changed and its new watered-down, vanilla flavor doesn’t do much for us.
The revised proposal allows for a higher bonus for math and science teachers. We’re OK with that, since those teachers are needed out here on the prairies.
As for the bonuses for the top 20 percent of teachers, the new plan allows school districts to follow the governor’s original plan, to create their own teacher reward plans, or to not take part at all.
We suspect that in many districts, this leeway could mean that all teachers will receive smaller and equal raises, as decision-makers succumb to pressures from educators, parents and voters.
It just seems inevitable that this could happen. And if it does, it means nothing is being done to weed out bad teachers, inspire good ones, and to stimulate better education for South Dakota students in general.
This new plan just doesn’t have the same effect as the governor’s original idea, and that’s disappointing.
We hope the governor’s office or the secretary of education maintain oversight over any plan proposed by individual districts.
These bonuses should be earned, and not given out in a series of knee-jerk reactions.