British Columbia

B.C. teacher merit pay idea gets low marks

Liberal leadership candidate Kevin Falcon's proposal of merit pay for teachers is not going over with at least one education expert, nor with some of Falcon's rival leadership candidates.

B.C. Liberal race

11 years ago
1:49
Several party leadership candidates held duelling news conferences Tuesday, competing for attention, the CBC's Stephen Smart reports 1:49

Liberal leadership candidate Kevin Falcon's proposal of merit pay for teachers is not going over with at least one education expert, nor with some of Falcon's rival leadership candidates.

Falcon announced Tuesday that as premier, he would institute a system of monetary incentives for teachers who get the best performance out of their students.

"I want to make sure we are unafraid to say to those teachers we recognize what you're doing, we reward what you're doing," he said.

But merit pay for teachers doesn't guarantee better schooling, according to Dan Laitsch, a professor in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University.

"There is no conclusive evidence that merit pay would have any effect on student outcome," said Laitsch.

He said that introducing such a controversial reform builds tension within the system, and notes that it hasn't worked in the U.S., where it's been tried.

Clark, Abbott disapprove

Leadership candidates George Abbott and Christy Clark — both one-time B.C. education ministers — suggested the merit-pay policy is not one they'd pursue.

B.C. Liberal leadership candidate Kevin Falcon is running into some flak over his proposal for merit pay for teachers. ((CBC))

"It has not proven, I believe, at this point, to be a successful experiment," said Abbott.

Clark said Falcon's idea would trigger a showdown with teachers.

"I don't think people went to see politicians go at it hammer and tongs with everybody that they consider an enemy," said Clark. "I think this would be the kind of the thing [teachers] would fight tooth and nail and I think he would be risking a very long labour confrontation."

The provincewide Liberal leadership vote takes place Feb. 26

With files from the CBC's Jeff Davies and Terry Donnelly

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