Merit Pay Term Paper

Pages: 16 (4373 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 18  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Teaching

Merit Pay

Pay for performance is not a new idea.

Organizations all over the world use this type of system when offering bonuses based on predetermined results or commission. Pay for performance, or merit pay, though is a fairly revolutionary idea for the teaching profession of today. In a profession where pay is traditionally based on tenure and not actual results, the idea that teachers should be paid based on how their students perform is quite revolutionary.

This paper explores the concept of merit pay for individual teachers, in the form of bonuses or permanent salary increases and their effectiveness in improving student performance and improving teacher attrition rates.

Merit Pay for Teachers

Introduction:

Pay for performance is not a new idea.

Organizations all over the world use this type of system when offering bonuses based on predetermined results or commission. Pay for performance, or merit pay, though is a fairly revolutionary idea for the teaching profession of today. In a profession where pay is traditionally based on tenure and education as opposed actual performance results, the idea that teachers should be paid based on how their students perform is quite revolutionary.

This paper explores the concept of merit pay for individual teachers, in the form of bonuses or permanent salary increases and their effectiveness in improving student performance and improving teacher attrition rates.

Merit Pay for Teachers Concept:

The public education system, as it currently exists, was developed in the middle of the 19th century.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
for $19.77


Following the industrial model of this era, teachers were seen as assembly-line workers. They added value to their product (their student) and then passed it along to the next worker on the line. With this concept, all workers must be interchangeable, and each must work independently. This isolation and egalitarianism combine powerfully to perpetuate a culture that is resistant to reform initiatives, according to Boles and Troen (2007).

Term Paper on Merit Pay Assignment

Education has been a growing concern in American politics, for decades. Providing the best educational opportunities for America's children, so that they're able to compete in an increasingly globalized and competitive world has become evermore important. Part of this challenge comes in the form of poorly compensated teachers whose traditional starting salary is quite low - a national average of $30,000 per year (Philips & Tyre, 2007). To this end, a variety of educational reforms have been introduced over the years, both locally and nationally, in hopes of improving effectiveness. One of the most recent facets of educational reform is the introduction of the merit pay for teachers concept.

Simply put, merit pay rewards talented teacher and encourages them to stay in the profession, while also encouraging ineffective teachers to improve their teaching abilities (Olson, 2007b). In 2005, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney introduced a revolutionary plan for school reform, in his state. The center point for this plan involved paying teachers for their performance.

This plan was based on an emerging movement being seen around the country to move away from the traditional salary structure for teachers, that was based solely on tenure and the number of academic degrees held by a teacher.

Romney's plan meant that by improving classroom performance, teachers could add $5,000 or more to their annual salary (Janofsky, 2005).

And, Massachusetts was not alone. Many other states and cities have begun to utilize merit pay systems as a means of improving the educational experience for children and addressing the high turnover rates in the profession. "There's a clear line between low test scores and high teacher turnover" (Philips & Tyre, 2007).

Although it may seem that merit pay for teachers is an idea that has been long since overdue, there has been much opposition to its implementation.

Teachers' unions see the merit pay program as unfair and divisive, Janofsky (2005) notes. It has been seen as exclusionary, and there have been worries voiced that such a plan would pit teachers against one another.

In addition, the system is criticized for being too subjective. This subjectivity was seen in the merit pay programs introduced in the 1980s where teachers were paid more for taking on extra roles and responsibilities. These limited incentives often encouraged unhealthy competition between teaching colleagues (Olson, 2007b). Personal like or dislike of a teacher could also be used by administrators to reward or punish a teacher. For these reasons, union support has been scarce.

Despite this resistance, merit pay in any other industry is commonplace and in most instances is the best business decision.

Employees are not just paid dependent on how long they've been with an organization, but also how they perform at their job.

A low performing employee wouldn't be paid more just because they'd been with the company a long time and had obtained a graduate degree. Perform well, and come review time that employee will be rewarded to a greater degree than the employee who doesn't.

This pay for performance type system does occur in many private and parochial schools, as well as some of the higher education public facilities, but is not common in the public system of compulsory education in grades K-12. In this segment of the academia world, teachers are paid based on years of tenure and their own personal educational achievements. Yet, these measurements don't fairly compensate teachers who work hard and do not encourage teachers to go above and beyond.

Ineffective teachers have an employment contract for life.

In addition, the challenge of merit pay being too subjectively biased has been overcome with the development of value-added assessment (VAA). Utilizing VAA teachers and administrators can objectively determine how effective teachers really are in assisting their students with their educational improvement. From this objective assessment, merit pay rewards can be fairly determined.

Union Resistance Supporting Mediocrity:

Sadly, as mentioned, there has been strong opposition to the merit pay plan for teachers, and much of this opposition has come from teachers' unions. Even erasing the subjective fear of merit pay, and replacing it with measurable, objective assessments, union opposition comes also because they fear that this type of system will weaken their collective bargaining power and doubt money can provide motivation needed (Viadero, 2007).

Hruz (2000) describes why teachers' unions have expressed such strong opposition to merit pay.

The threat that teachers' unions see from a performance-based pay system is clear: it would make them less relevant. The importance of teachers' unions is reliant upon their superior ability to get gor teachers better working conditions and compensation. If individual teachers, or groups of teachers within schools, are able to garner control over the effectuation of their own compensation levels, then the unions are faced with the potential of these teachers saying that the unions' services are no longer needed, at least when it comes to bargaining for salaries.

American Federation of Teachers President, Edward McElroy notes that his union feels that compensation is an important matter of collective bargaining (cited in Olson, 2007b). This strong desire for self-preservation has resulted in an acceptance and a support of mediocrity in the teaching profession.

Although the concept of merit pay may be revolutionary for the current teaching profession, it is not a new idea. The concept was first introduced in England, in 1710 (Wilms & Chapleau, 1999). For centuries, educational institutions have tried to implement pay for performance type systems, but one of the failings has been the failure by educators, in general, to embrace the spirit of this type of system. Instead of trying to effectively educate their students, many instances of 'teaching to the test' occur, combine this with an increased incidence of cheating (Bobby Ann Starnes (2007), chair of the Education Studies Department at Berea College in Berea, Kentucky, admits that if her salary were tied to test scores that she's pretty sure she would cheat) and teachers' unions working behind the scenes prompting failure, and this has often been the failing point of previously implemented merit pay systems. However, with current strong bipartisan support, merit pay system is proving its worth, despite union detractors.

Merit Pay Stories of Success:

At least half a dozen states have statewide or pilot programs that have implemented merit pay programs that are tied to educational achievement growth at the classroom or school level. In addition, hundreds of districts are experimenting with this type of pay for performance system.

The U.S. Department of Education has promoted this system, in high-need districts, through their $100 million federal Teacher Incentive Fund (Olson, 2007b).

Denver, Colorado:

Denver, Colorado has seen some of the success merit pay can bring.

Their ProComp Plan began small in 1999, with a pilot merit pay program launched by the mayor, the superintendent, and the union, in 15 schools ("A good mark," 2007). For seven years they adjusted the pay formula, and finally, in 2006, they rolled out the program citywide, to 73,400 students (Olson, 2007b). Teachers who agreed to work in struggling schools were paid more, as were those who taught hard-to-staff subjects, like math in middle schools, in the form of yearly… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

Two Ordering Options:

?
Which Option Should I Choose?
1.  Buy full paper (16 pages)Download Microsoft Word File

Download the perfectly formatted MS Word file!

- or -

2.  Write a NEW paper for me!✍🏻

We'll follow your exact instructions!
Chat with the writer 24/7.

Merit Pay vs. Automatic Pay Raises Thesis


Merit Pay Research Paper


Pay for Performance Term Paper


Public Administration the Merit Pay System Term Paper


Teachers Performance Measured by Merit-Based Pay in Schools Term Paper


View 200+ other related papers  >>

How to Cite "Merit Pay" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Merit Pay.  (2007, November 12).  Retrieved March 29, 2020, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/merit-pay/456591

MLA Format

"Merit Pay."  12 November 2007.  Web.  29 March 2020. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/merit-pay/456591>.

Chicago Style

"Merit Pay."  Essaytown.com.  November 12, 2007.  Accessed March 29, 2020.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/merit-pay/456591.