Merit Pay for Teachers: A Review Page: 7
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accusations. If properly developed merit pay plans can be devised, they often will earn
Issue: Will Merit Pay Programs be Counterproductive by Creating Morale Problems?
Comment: This common criticism presupposes that presently there are no morale prob-
lems present in public schools. Teachers have never been nor ever will be "one happy
The issue of whether pay differential causes increased problems must also be examined
in relationship to other professions that have a wide-ranging salary scale. Hiring and pay
practices differ from research laboratory to research laboratory, but work teams of profes-
sional engineers and scientists do not receive the same salary. A plan, properly devised and
administered, should cause no more disruption and morale problems than presently exist in
Issue: Will People be Motivated by Money?
Comment: Money certainly must be considered as one of several motivators. The idea is
absurd that all teachers seek classroom careers simply for the satisfaction of helping other
people's children. While any dollar figure may not satisfy for long, it does motivate. As
previously noted in this report, to be successful the incentive value of the merit award must
be a significant fraction of the total salary.
In addition, if the connection between the incentive and specific performance measured
annually on a unidimensional scale fails to indicate what is rewarded, the system will break
down. The challenge is to provide a compensation scheme that makes money a respectable
incentive and integrates it into a total motivational program.
Issue: Can Objective Work Performance Standards be Developed to Evaluate Teaching?
Comment: The fact that objective performance standards do not now exist is hardly an
excuse for abandoning the effort. Any group that desires to be labeled professional must do
more to develop objective systems. The recent interest in merit pay has prompted the de-
velopment of innovative, if less than perfect, merit systems in the Round School System in
California (Burbe, 1982), the Catalina Foothills District in Tucson, Ariz., the Lebannon
School System in Connecticut (Kenny, 1978) and the Charlotte School System in North
Carolina. In Texas, the "Second Mile Plan" in Houston, and related efforts in the Alice,
Bryant and Garland Independent School Districts provide evidence that effective evaluation
programs can be initiated (Texas Association of School Boards, 1983).
Newton (1980) and Schray (1983) among others, have developed extensive evaluation
plans that focus on outcomes. The Plano, Texas, Superintendent of Schools, Wayne Hendrick
(1983), has researched the topic and has provided a series of guidelines for merit pay
programs to succeed:
(1) Carefully define the primary objectives of the plan, such as:
* To improve instruction by searching out and rewarding excellence in teaching.
* To increase the ability to retain the excellent teacher.
* To aid in the recruiting of highly capable teachers.
(2) Input for developing the plan must come from teachers, principals, central admin-
istrators, school board and taxpayers. (No plan can be transported from another
(3) Eligibility for the plan must be based on recognized, predetermined standards, not
on quotas or restricted percentages. These criteria must be clearly communicated
to the staff.
(4) Have a plan for continuous evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses; then make
(5) The plan must be properly funded each year (not to be discontinuec with budget
(6) The board adopts the policy plan. The administration must be authorized to oper-
ate the plan. The board must not become involved in determining who receives
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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/m1/9/: accessed May 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Education.