Lubbock teachers react to Obama education comments - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/11/09

Lubbock teachers react to Obama education comments

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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Tuesday Obama addressed the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Washington D.C. He discussed charter schools, funding, and alluded to a somewhat controversial merit based pay system for teachers. The Lubbock Educator's Association is a huge advocate for increased education funding, but a merit based pay system for individual teachers is not the way they want to get there.

Clinton Gill teaches 5th grade math at Whiteside Elementary, and he's the president of Lubbock Educator's Association.  He says he loves his job and his students, but he definitely doesn't do it for the money. "Especially here in Texas, we rank very low on the teacher pay scale," he said. 

Gill is very optimistic about President Obama's plan for public education. "He's one of the people that will work with teachers to get some reforms in the public schools," Gill said of Obama. "A lot of his plan we approve of, and we're very excited," he added. 

Gill supports several Obama initiatives including increased parent involvement, funding for higher education, and mandatory Pre-K, but one topic in the President's education plans announced Tuesday sparked concern. "It is time to start rewarding good teachers and stop making excuses for bad ones. I reject a system that rewards failure, and protects a person for consequences," Obama said. 

"Yeah, I definitely agree that he's trying to increase merit pay," Gill said of Obama's remarks. Gill would love to see his and other educators salary increase, but he doesn't think individual merit based raises is the way to go. "It rewards a select few on a campus, and if only those select few get the extra funding, it causes way too much controversy," he said. 

Gill thinks instead, the focus should be on raising teacher's base pay across the board.

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