Public Administration The Merit Pay Term Paper

Length: 19 pages Sources: 9 Subject: Teaching Type: Term Paper Paper: #21427321 Related Topics: Public Administration, Public Personnel Administration, Pay For Performance, Public Finance
Excerpt from Term Paper :

This sentiment is echoed by a lot of supporters of merit pay who believe the way teachers are paid and how much they are paid must differ if districts are to attract a new cohort of teachers" (Drevitch, 2006).

Some of the biggest disputes against merit pay have all been disputed previously, in the 1980's. In the 1980's, global rivalry was undermining U.S. businesses and corporations, and in an attempt to stay viable, the merit pay system was put into place. The new system included awarding workers-based costumer service reviews, supervisor assessments and group achievements, things that may appear subjective or hard to gauge, the same condemnations thrown at merit system today. Barraged by disapproval and battered by the unions, the system nonetheless proved to be victorious. "After trial and error, half of all major American companies utilized similar merit pay incentives by the mid-1990s. The fact is, these incentive programs encouraged the employees to work hard and overcome challenges, and similar programs could do the same for America's teachers" (Wann, 2009).

There are many pros that can be said about adopting a merit pay-based system in the educational system. These include:

Americans value hard work and outcomes, and our capitalist system centers upon incentivizing such outcomes - most occupations offer bonuses and salary increases to excellent workers, why not teachers? The fact that a bad teacher and an excellent teacher earn the same wage just doesn't sit right with a lot of people.

Incentivized teachers will work harder and manufacture better outcomes - the straightforward likelihood of extra cash would most likely transform into smarter teaching and better outcomes for the students.

Merit Pay programs will help enlist and keep the nation's brightest minds - it's the unusual teacher who hasn't thought about leaving the classroom and entering the corporate world for the benefits of less hassle and more money. Particularly smart and effective teachers might think again about leaving the vocation if they felt that their extraordinary labors were being acknowledged in their paychecks.

Teachers are already poorly paid. Merit Pay would help deal with this inequality. -teaching is due for a rebirth of respect in this nation and the best performing teachers should be first in line for this monetary acknowledgment.

We are in the middle of a teacher deficiency - merit pay would motivate probable teachers to give the profession more thought as a feasible career choice, rather than a personal forfeit for the greater good. By attaching teaching wages to performance, the vocation would look more contemporary and plausible, therefore drawing in young college graduates to the classroom.

With American schools in emergency, shouldn't they be willing to try almost anything new in the hopes of making a change. "If the old ways of running schools and motivating teachers aren't working, plausibly it's time to think outside of the box and try merit pay. In a time of crisis, no valid ideas should be quickly denied as possible resolutions" (Lewis, 2011).

On the other side of the argument there are many things that can be said against implementing a merit pay system. These include:

Nearly everybody can agree that designing and monitoring a merit pay program would be a bureaucratic nightmare of roughly epic size - a lot of key questions would have to be sufficiently answered before educators could even think about putting into practice merit pay for teachers. Such discussions would certainly take away from the real objective which is to center on the kids and give them the best education feasible.

Good will and cooperation between teachers will be compromised - in places that have formerly tried deviations of merit pay; the consequences have frequently been unpleasant and counter-productive rivalry amid teachers. Where teachers once worked as a team and shared answers willingly, merit pay can make teachers take on a more only for me attitude. This would be unfortunate for the kids, in the long run.

Achievement is hard, if not impracticable, to define and measure -No Child Left Behind (NCLB) has already established how the different unleveled playing fields in the American education system intrinsically set up a wide assortment of standards and hopes. Take into consideration the varied needs of English Language Learners, Special Education Students, and low income areas, and it can quickly been seen why it would be opening a can of worms to classify standards of accomplishment for American schools when the stakes are money...


Educators would be monetarily motivated to lie about testing and outcomes. Teachers might have real suspicions of principal preferential treatment. Complaints and lawsuits would be plentiful. Again, all of these messy ethics issues serve only to divert from the needs of the children who simply need teacher's energies and attentions to learn to read and succeed in the world (Lewis, 2011).

Performance assessment necessitates a process that is objective, dependable, and reliable. But for managers and supervisors facing extended managerial tasks in addition to their already hard job responsibilities, this can be a crushing if not impracticable command. A lot of assessment programs are put into place without meticulous and appropriate preparation, under the presupposition that supervisors are able to implement them anyhow. Performance assessment supports poorness by rewarding secure performance as opposed to adventuresome and self challenge. More distinctively, workers are rewarded for not being challenged and imaginative. Supervisors don't have time to deal with it. Most work is the creation of a group of people. Assessing an individual necessitates a facade that the individual is working by themselves. Extremely exclusive and individualized jobs do subsist that have no contact or reliance on other jobs, but these unusual jobs normally escape the formal performance assessment process. Performance assessment supplies criticism distorted by assessor prejudice about events that are typically beyond the worker's ability to control. Plausible feedback is typically too little too late (Gray, 2002).

Pay for performance plans wear down the force of collaboration between teaching professionals. Merit pay systems compel teachers to contend, rather than assist. They produce a disincentive for teachers to distribute knowledge and teaching methods. This is particularly true because there is forever a limited pool of money for merit pay. Therefore, the best way teachers learn their skills, from their peers, is in effect stopped. If one thinks there is a turnover problems in teaching now, wait until new teachers have no one to turn to (Merit Pay/Pay-for-Performance, 2005).

"Pay for performance plans are expensive to taxpayers and hard to manage. In contrast, single salary schedules have known expenses and are easy to manage. School boards can more straightforwardly budget expenses and need less time and funds to assess workers and respond to grievances and arbitrations resulting from the assessment system" (Merit Pay/Pay-for-Performance, 2005).

Pay for performance plans have not been shown to make a difference in teacher performance and student achievement. A 1994 Urban Institute study looked at studies of merit pay and found very little confirmation from other research, including the evaluation literature that incentive programs particularly merit-based pay, had led to enhanced teacher performance and student achievements (Merit Pay/Pay-for-Performance, 2005).

The notion that any company would pay workers based simply on time served, rather than on the superiority of work performed, is economically not sound. It is as insulting on financial grounds as it is on philosophic ones. On a financial basis, it clearly leads to a severe case of the agency problem. By giving people no inducement to perform good work; they will likely fail to deliver a good service to the people for whose benefit the agents are supposed to work. On a philosophic basis, it breaches the standard of social justice, namely, that those who work harder, more productively, and more thoroughly should be compensated more than those who don't (Jason, 2011).

Even though merit pay systems have been put into practice in a lot of school districts across the United States, little empirical confirmation exists regarding their influence on student achievement. Public displeasure with the performance of U.S. public schooling in elevating student achievement is deep. International assessments of test scores place the United States in the lowest echelons, and comparative investigations of student achievement across regions and demographic groups point out sizeable holes. Urban schools seem to be the worst performers. In reaction, reformers have promoted incentive-based or market-driven educational changes to advance school quality, such as merit pay for teachers. Merit pay plans have been put into practice in a lot of places and the idea has been around for a lot of years. Yet, there is astoundingly little confirmation of their efficiency in increasing student achievement (Eberts, Hollenbeck & Stone, 2002).

There are a…

Sources Used in Documents:


Brown, R. (2009). Why Pay-for-Performance Merits Your Attention. Rural Telecom, 28(5), 32-


Colter, Carolee. (2003). Does Merit Pay Really Work? Retrieved from

Devera, John. (2008). What is merit-based pay? Retrieved from
Drevitch, Gary. (2006). Merit Pay: Good for Teachers? Retrieved from
Fields, Reginald. (2011). Teacher merit pay system in Ohio's new collective bargaining law could be first of its kind in the country. Retrieved from
Retrieved from
Gov. draws teacher input for new merit pay system. (2011). Retrieved from
Lewis, Beth. (2011). Pros and Cons of Merit Pay for Teachers. Retrieved from
Merit pay isn't answer to educational problems. (2011). Retrieved from http://articles.sun-
Merit Pay/Pay-for-Performance. (2005). Retrieved from
Mooney, Lisa. (2011). About Merit Pay for Teachers. Retreived from
Reward those who dare to try. (2007, Oct 13). Star - News, pp. n/a. Retreived from
Wann, Bauer. (2009). Merit pay justly cultivates teacher quality. Retreived from
What Is Merit Pay (Or Pay For Performance)? (2011). Retreived from http://performance-

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