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PNS Daily Newscast - August 5, 2020 

A massive explosion kills dozens and injures thousands in Beirut; and child care is key to getting Americans back to work.

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OR Merit Pay Measure a Point of National Interest

July 3, 2008

Portland, OR - Oregon's ballot measure calling for teacher merit pay is a hot topic in Washington, D.C. this week at the annual meeting of the National Education Association. The measure is on the fall ballot, and it has the state's teachers concerned.

Oregon Education Association President Larry Wolf, who is attending the NEA meeting with other Oregon educators, says it's a bad idea because it fosters competition among teachers, and the only numbers available to judge "merit" don't tell the whole story.

"The only way you can really judge that would be judging the teachers on the test scores of their students, and that's not fair to the teachers nor is it fair to the students. We want to look at a student in terms of growth from year to year to year."

Merit pay supporters says the goal is to reward good teachers by basing pay and job security on performance rather than seniority. Wolf counters that research has shown merit pay does nothing to increase teacher quality or student improvement. He says it's important that Oregon focus on boosting all teacher salaries, especially in such a competitive job market.

"Teachers that graduate with a master's degree in education right now - which is what you have to have in the state of Oregon - they can take that same degree and, a lot of times, go into private business and make ten to fifteen thousand more dollars a year."

Wolf says that in addition to the merit pay matter, other priorities for discussion are school funding and renewal of the No Child Left Behind Act, now stalled in Congress.

Eric Mack, Public News Service - OR