Merit Pay for Teachers: A Review Page: 8
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(7) The selection team for each campus must be chaired by the principal and com-
posed of representatives from the central staff who are respected by the teacher
and who have worked with the teacher to the extent that the teacher accepts the
fact that these people know what is happening in his or her classroom.
(8) The teacher must be kept informed of detected and needed improvement all during
the year-with help provided for improvement-no surprises.
(9) Merit reward is made for one year at a time.
(10) Avenues for teacher appeal on rating must be provided.
(11) The basic salary schedule for the district should be competitive with neighboring
(12) Merit increments must be large enough to provide a real incentive for outstanding
(13) The school administration at all levels must provide enthusiastic support and strong
leadership for the plan.
Issue: Can Principals Make Objective, Valid, Distinctions in Performance?
Comment: Principals alone may not be able to make objective distinctions in perform-
ance, but almost no plan presently devised suggests that principals become the sole evaluators.
Moreover, the question of principal competency may be related to the fact that poor evalua-
tion systems have been designed and that researchers have not been provided with the
essential tools to make valid evaluations. Principals, given the proper evaluation tools and
the proper training, are as capable of making performance distinctions as are managers and
supervisors in business and industry. Evaluation instruments can be developed and princi-
pals and supervisors can be trained to make professional judgments about teacher performance.
Even with proper training and appropriate forms, many teachers fear bias and favoritism.
While this possibility should not be ignored, most employees in the world do operate under
some form of a hierarchical management system. In the military, the church, and in busi-
ness and industry, the concept has produced favorable results for years. Moreover, it is the
responsibility of the supervisors to make such judgments.
Issue: Do High Inflation Rates Minimize the Impact of Merit Increases?
Comment: This is an important point if one concentrates on the percentage amount rather
than the dollar increase. Any annual increase should include a salary range change plus a
Issue: Are Average Merit Increases Based on a Bell-Shaped Performance Population an
Improvement Over Lock-Step Raises?
Comment: Most teachers probably will not admit to being below average. However, this
concern returns to performance standards. When perception of performance is tied to per-
sonality traits, the results predictably will be poor. The obvious need is to develop good
objective standards, and to relate monetary awards to these standards.
Issue: Is Merit Pay for Teachers Costly and Difficult to Administer?
Comment: Fully operational merit plans could add 10 percent or more to most school
budgets. However, lock-step increases are also costly and provide few of the incentives of
merit systems. Effective systems must be kept as simple as possible to be effective.
Issue: Will Parents Demand That Their Children be Taught by Distinguished (Meritorious)
Comment: Plans will need to be developed that will expose each child to the same num-
ber of outstanding teachers during his or her school career. For example, a child who has an
outstanding teacher in grade three may be ineligible for one in grade four. It may also be
possible to have distinguished instructors become leaders of multi-teacher classrooms (Schrag,
1983, Breslin, 1980).
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Muro, James F. Merit Pay for Teachers: A Review, pamphlet, December 1983; [Denton, Texas]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc83299/m1/10/: accessed October 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Education.