The Race to Above Average

In the last faculty meeting, our Fearless Leader informed us that we will be doing away with the tenure system for certified employees. They can arbitrarily decide to do that because we are located in NC, which like most of the American South is a “Right to Fire Your Worthless Ass” state. Since it is actually illegal for teachers to collectively bargain in this state, basically we’re now all looking for jobs selling sex wax at the local surf shops to the children who used to be students before they fired all the teachers.

In lieu of the tenure system, we’ve been informed that we’ll be moving to a merit point system. The idea here is that those teachers who contribute more extra work for the same pay as everyone else will be allowed to keep their jobs for another year (until next year’s budget cuts, at least). Points will be awarded for such things as advanced degrees, National Board certification, coaching, buying your Fearless Leader lunch, etc. You know, those things which clearly mark you out as a superior educator.

Exactly how many points each of the above will garner an employee is still being determined, but we’ve been told that the whole thing will be ready for implementation by next week. Naturally the staff is more than a little freaked out about the whole thing and folks like myself who don’t qualify for any of the above merit points are ignoring their classes more than usual to update and polish their resumes in preparation for being canned.

In an effort to alleviate this anxiety some colleagues of mine have come up with an ingenious way to help teachers be more proactive about keeping their jobs. We’ve decided that our Fearless Leaders should post a rankings board in the workroom.

The left hand side of the board will have all the teachers on staff and their current merit points total. Naturally they’ll be listed in ascending order, so that we can clearly see at a glance who the best teacher in the school is at that moment. I can also imagine that it would be helpful for the bottom 20% of the board be differently colored so that those teachers which find themselves there know that they’re about to be handed a pink slip.

The right hand side of the board will contain all of the different things teachers can do to earn themselves merit points. This way if you do find yourself slipping to the bottom of the board you’ll know exactly which activities are worth the correct number of points to keep you above the cutoff line.

If you ignore all the ill will and complete breakdown in cooperation this will generate among the staff (to say nothing of the animosity and distrust towards the Fearless Leaders) this system will lead to a more equitable distribution of extra-curricular activities amongst the staff and really drive home the point that we’re really only interested in how much extra you’re doing for this school right now. Those teachers which are currently shouldering much of the extra duties will be able to see exactly how many programs they can fob off onto other people without risking their jobs and those underachievers like myself can see exactly how much extra work they’ll have to put in to get into the safe zone.

The really interesting part of this new merit program will be in the particulars, which I look forward to investigating in the coming weeks. As an example, if having a master’s degree in dance is worth 5 merit points, how many points will I get if I’m currently enrolled in a master’s program? 2? If that’s the case then I’ll be taking one class a year for the next 10 years in order to pad my stats a bit. If coaching earns you points, does it matter which sport? If not, then I’ll volunteer to coach the men’s volleyball team every year.

Regardless, I think that this board idea has real potential and I can’t wait to see it implemented. Look for it in a teacher’s lounge near you!

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