Fair Merit Pay Schemes, Part V

The NYT has a interesting rundown on the state of merit pay in US schools:

For years, the unionized teaching profession opposed few ideas more vehemently than merit pay, but those objections appear to be eroding as school districts in dozens of states experiment with plans that compensate teachers partly based on classroom performance.

Here in Minneapolis, for instance, the teachers’ union is cooperating with Minnesota’s Republican governor on a plan in which teachers in some schools work with mentors to improve their instruction and get bonuses for raising student achievement. John Roper-Batker, a science teacher here, said his first reaction was dismay when he heard his school was considering participating in the plan in 2004.

“I wanted to get involved just to make sure it wouldn’t happen,” he said.

But after learning more, Mr. Roper-Batker said, “I became a salesman for it.” He and his colleagues have voted in favor of the plan twice by large margins.

The article also notes differences in the attitude of the two largest US teacher unions: 

The positions of the two national teachers’ unions diverge on merit pay. The National Education Association, the larger of the two, has adopted a resolution that labels merit pay, or any other pay system based on an evaluation of teachers’ performance, as “inappropriate.”

The American Federation of Teachers says it opposes plans that allow administrators alone to decide which teachers get extra money or that pay individual teachers based solely on how students perform on standardized test scores, which they consider unreliable. But it encourages efforts to raise teaching quality and has endorsed arrangements that reward teams of teachers whose students show outstanding achievement growth.

Randi Weingarten, president of the United Federation of Teachers, which represents teachers in New York, said the union was willing to talk further with the city about “schoolwide bonuses for sustained growth in student achievement.”

This entry was posted in Economics of Education. Bookmark the permalink.