Jun 18, 2007

An idea whose time has come

Merit pay for teachers. Even union officials are signing on--in some places.
The positions of the two national teachers’ unions diverge on merit pay. The National Education Association, the larger of the two, has adopted a resolution that labels merit pay, or any other pay system based on an evaluation of teachers’ performance, as “inappropriate.”

The American Federation of Teachers says it opposes plans that allow administrators alone to decide which teachers get extra money or that pay individual teachers based solely on how students perform on standardized test scores, which they consider unreliable. But it encourages efforts to raise teaching quality and has endorsed arrangements that reward teams of teachers whose students show outstanding achievement growth.

Randi Weingarten, president of the United Federation of Teachers, which represents teachers in New York, said the union was willing to talk further with the city about “schoolwide bonuses for sustained growth in student achievement.”

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