The mention of merit pay for teachers has been on the voices of school and government leaders for some time now. Most teachers and teacher unions are against paying teachers based on student performance. The fear is that the teachers would no longer work together and instead been working for themselves.
However, Mayor Bloomberg of New York City has devised a plan that might be agreeable to all. In his plan, individual teachers are not targeted.
In 2002, when the mayor took over the public schools he decided to make performance pay a priority. In his plan, individual teachers are paid based on their students’ scores. Instead the entire school is examined. The entire school receives the funds. It is then up to each individual school on how the money will be divided.
In addition to test scores, attendance and teacher surveys will add to the school’s performance judgment. The schools with the top performance rates will get $3000 for every teacher in the school. The schools will create committees to decide how to use the money.
The mayor said he supported finding a solution to rewarding schools as a whole rather than each individual teacher. The idea of each school being judged as a whole unites the teachers and shows how teachers work together. Paying on an individual basis would likely cause tension among the teachers.
To begin Bloomberg’s plan, the 200 lowest income schools will receive the money first if they show improvements. By 2008-2009, 400 schools will be participating. Private monies will be used to fund the program.
I think that Mayor Bloomberg’s plan is one of the best that I have heard. It is much better to focus on schools as a whole rather than selecting certain teachers to reward. In many cases, the quality of teaching can not be solely determined by the performance of the teacher’s students.