Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Not All Merit-Pay Plans are Bribes

Too often so-called merit-pay programs are nothing more than bribes to teachers so that they will work harder and produce higher student tests scores.  Most teachers are offended by these programs because:
A. We already work 50-60 hours a week
B. We got into teaching because we want to help students succeed.
C. We should have been given a professional-grade salary to start with.

Not all performance-based pay systems are teacher bribes.  One of the best alternative pay models is TAP.

First of all, TAP is based on the National Board for Professional Teacher Standards.  National Board certification is not only the gold-medal standard for teaching in all states, it is also considered by its participants as the best professional development they had ever experienced.

Second of all, TAP is not simply more pay for higher scores, or Mr. Gates newest version, more pay for teachers who get higher scores to take more students.  TAP is about teacher leaders, not unlike the hybrid teacherpreneurs Barnett Berry and the TeacherSolution 2030 team talk about in their new book.

TAP believes that school should be led by principals who see themselves less as administrators and more as instructional leaders.   Principals should work in partnership with highly paid Master Teachers to lead their school.  Highly paid Mentor Teachers work to train the next generation of great instructors.

TAP provides professional development to help all teachers grow in their expertise.

TAP believes that teacher evaluation is a difficult and complex activity and should never be based on the scores of a single high-stakes tests, but rather on a rubric that accommodates for subjective observations as well as evidence of student learning.

For these reason, even though I hate merit-pay-bribe systems...  TAP is an alternate to traditional salary schedules that has merit.

No comments: