In praising the merit-pay plan for Lawrence Public Schools, Lawrence Harmon writes, “It requires four or five years of experience — usually no more —for a good teacher to develop a solid expertise” (“The ladder lesson,” Op-ed, April 1). How does he know this? Even it were true, one with “solid expertise” can easily switch to auto-pilot teaching to the comprehensive test, upon whose results merit pay will rest.
During the last years of my 38-year career teaching in an urban public school, course work was designed and taught to fit the mold of questions on MCAS. This relegated to almost inconsequential such student gains as creativity, self-confidence, and responsibility — gains that are effected by teachers of merit.