About the Authors
1. Introduction: Merit Pay as Educational Fad or Genuine Solution
Why the Interest in Merit Pay?
What’s Wrong with the Current Salary System?
How Might Merit Pay Help?
Why is Merit Pay So Complicated?
2. Why Is Merit Pay Gaining Momentum? A Brief History
3. What Can a Merit Plan Do for Your Teachers and Students?
Studies on Teacher Attitudes
Studies on Student Achievement
4. The Top 12 Criticisms of Merit Pay
1. Merit Pay Discourages Teaching Disadvantaged Students
2. Merit Pay Encourages Teaching to the Test
3. What About Teachers of Nontested Subjects?
4. Merit Pay Assumes Teachers Teach for the Money; They Don't!
5. Teacher Merit Is Just Too Hard to Measure
6. Merit Pay Ratings Are Based on a Secret Formula
7. Teachers Are Already Working as Hard as They Can
8. Merit Pay Bonuses Are Too Small to Matter
9. How Is Measuring Teacher Effectiveness Supposed to Improve Instruction?
10. Merit Pay Encourages Counterproductive Competition and Discourages Collegiality
11. States Can't Afford Merit Pay During Times of Fiscal Austerity
12. Merit Pay Is an Unproven Reform
5. Guiding Principles and Pesky Questions
Guiding Principles for Designing and Implementing a Merit Pay Plan
Principle 1: The Evaluation System Must Be Clear and Understandable
Principle 2: Consistent Communication Is Critical
Principle 3: Evaluations Should Be Based on Multiple and Thoughtful Measures of Effectiveness
Principle 4: Plans Should Actively Encourage Collaboration and Discourage Counterproductive Competition
Principle 5: Merit Pay Plans Should Be Part of a Comprehensive School Improvement Strategy
Principle 6: Merit Pay Bonuses Should Be Substantial and Meaningful
Identifying Program Participants
Measuring Teacher Effectiveness
6. Timelines for Program Development and Implementation
Program Implementation Timeline
Step 2: Organizing a Merit Pay Exploratory Committee
Step 3: First Meeting With the Exploratory Committee
Step 4: Introducing the Concept to the Full School Community
Step 5: Details, Details, Details
Step 6: Finalizing and Ratifying the Plan, or "Rocking the Vote"
Step 7: Getting Ready to Roll Out the Plan
Step 8: Gentlemen, Start Your Engines
Step 10: Show Me the Money
7. RAMP: Ramping Up Teacher Pay in Your School
Schoolwide Student Achievement
Individual Classroom Achievement
Translating the Ratings Into Dollars
Expectations for Your Program
Appendix A: Sample Teacher Survey
Appendix B: Project on Incentives in Teaching (POINT) Teacher Survey
Appendix C: Sample Report Card
RAMP: Applying the Principles