It’s often said that teacher merit pay can’t ever work. I’m cautiously optimistic, though I agree with the critics that one of the biggest challenges is designing a fair merit pay plan. So I’ve started posting examples of different teacher merit pay schemes that have operated elsewhere (see Fair Merit Pay Schemes, Part I).
This week’s example comes from Denver, where inÂ 2005 teacher unions and voters approved a merit pay scheme. Known as ProComp, it’s based on the following four factors:
Knowledge and Skills â€“ Teachers will earn compensation for acquiring and demonstrating knowledge and skills by completing annual professional development units, through earning additional graduate degrees and national certificates and may be reimbursed up to $1,000 for tuition.
Professional Evaluation â€“ Teachers will be recognized for their classroom skill by receiving salary increases every three years for satisfactory evaluations.
Student Growth â€“ Teachers will be rewarded for the academic growth of their students. They can earn compensation for meeting annual objectives, for exceeding CSAP growth goals and for working in a school judged distinguished based on academic gains and other factors.
Market Incentives â€“ Bonuses can assist the district and schools in meeting specific needs. Teachers in hard to serve schoolsâ€”those faced with academic challengesâ€”can earn annual bonuses. Bonuses will be available to those filling hard to staff positionsâ€”assignments which historically have shortages of qualified applicants.
Or as the Rocky Mountain News more succinctly put it:
The plan essentially cobbles together nine components that teachers can select to build their paychecks. Agree to work in a challenging school? Add $999 to your annual salary. Earn a master’s degree? Add $2,997 more. Meet your annual goals for student achievement? Get another $333 for each objective met.
Edwonk has more background on the Denver plan.