Performance pay for teachers unreasonable

August 23, 2010

Re your editorial "Pay for Performance" (Aug.22): Yes, by all means, evaluate and compensate teachers on the basis of student performance. But why limit this process to educators? Let's apply the same norms to other professionals.

Let's evaluate dentists according to performance, paying them more when their patients show progress in avoiding cavities, less when periodontal work is necessary. Let's evaluate and compensate physicians according to changes in their patients' health, with penalties assigned for overweight patients with heart attacks, or smoking patients who incur lung cancer. Let's evaluate accountants according to changes in their clients' financial standing.

The fallacy of course is that we are evaluating the student, the patient, the client. We delude ourselves if we believe this process is a reasonable way to evaluate the professional.

Diane Willen, Catonsville

The writer is professor emerita of history at Georgia State University.

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