By Marjorie Stamberg, Teacher, GED-Plus, Manhattan Hub
The merit pay proposal in GED-Plus has been solidly defeated--ballots were counted on March 6. Many chapter members worked very hard to express their opposition, at site meetings, borough meetings and chapter meetings. Since we are divided into 80 sites and borough hubs, it was quite a task to reach everyone so they could make an informed decision. I am very pleased that we can join the list of other UFT chapters who have had the courage to vote this down.
As a strongly advocate to vote down merit pay, I am personally very relieved that our chapter made such a strong statement. Merit pay is highly divisive -- it puts us in competition with each other, instead of fostering collaboration. It also hurts our students. In GED-Plus, as a D79 GED Program, we are particularly dedicated to working with the neediest students, and we are already working to the best of our ability. If our pay goes up or down, depending on which students come to school, or how well they do in tests, there would be a strong tendency not even to admit these students to the site.
However, our chapter leadership, and the UFT officials have stated they intend to float this again early in the next school year. It keeps on coming back like a bad penny, no matter how many times, and at how many meetings, we express our strong opposition. So we will have to keep up the struggle -- against merit pay, charterization, privatization, and all these schemes to chip away at public education for all.