Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What Exactly Is the Stand of Teachers' Unions on Merit Pay?

Intercepts (Mike Antonucci) makes an important distinction today (Mar. 11) about the stand of teachers' unions on merit pay. Intercepts points out that the National Education Association (NEA) currently says that its opposition to merit pay is only opposition to pay “based on student test scores.” The union also currently says that any merit-pay plan should be arrived at through collective bargaining, rather than imposed.

But the picture conveyed these days is actually misleading. The NEA as a matter of policy opposes all K-12 merit pay under all circumstances.

Intercepts goes carefully over the actual wording of the resolutions adopted by the NEA's governing assembly. Intercepts concludes:

[The] NEA opposes merit pay, performance pay, or any other method of pay that replaces the traditional salary schedule, collectively bargained or not (except for higher ed).

The union may support pay that supplements the traditional salary schedule provided it is bargained, does not pay to fill hard-to-staff schools or subjects, and is not based on “education employee evaluation, student performance, or attendance.”

That last provision is important. It doesn’t say “student test scores,” it says “student performance.” It doesn’t say “education employee evaluation by a principal or other administrator.” It says “education employee evaluation.”

Intercepts thinks President Obama’s notion of merit pay "falls well short of replacing" the traditional salary schedule. But Intercepts is convinced that President Obama "does actually mean performance pay," and that he is in fact "at odds with [the] NEA" on the issue.

1 comment:

  1. As former chair of the Republican Educators Caucus, some criteria I have suggested for "Performance Pay" includes teachers who have exhibited leadership in education compiling a "cumulative qualifying score" through a combination of such items as follows:
    1) Master's Degree, 2) Professor in college/university in addition to public school assignment, 3) elected to leadership role in education, i.e., department chair, delegate to professional meetings/conventions, officer in union local, 4) demonstration of leadership in development of curriculum goals of school and district on committees, 5) leadership participation role in the community, state, or nation, 6) students scores may be included as one part of many, but not be required in order to gain performance pay.

    These criteria would encourage individual development that would have a positive effect on one's teaching.