Merit pay refers to the performance-based pay offered to the teachers. The first article “Merit Pay for a New Generation” describes that though merit pay was an old idea, it failed due to several reasons such as inadequate funding, union opposition, faulty evaluation systems and many others. However, in the present day, merit pay is gaining prominence as there are several standards-based assessments that help in judging a teacher’s performance. According to the article, replacing the single-scale pay with the merit pay involves three components, namely, four tiers of pay, learning and development fund, short term and local financial incentives. Merit pay rewards teachers for their effective instruction, successful leadership, ongoing learning and continual commitment. Tier I involves probationary teachers, while tier II involves the ongoing tenure. Tier III and tier IV comprises of excellent teachers. Implementation of the plan increases the number of prospective teachers looking for a steady income and long-term career interests.
On the other hand, the second article “Why Paying Teachers Based on Student
Results Is a Bad Idea” explains the drawbacks in implementing the merit pay. Surveys state that more than 70 percent of the teachers oppose the merit pay plan as they feel that imparting education merely depends on the commitment of the teachers rather than the achievement of the children. Also, merit pay based on student achievement reduces the teachers’ desire to carry out their jobs and professional responsibilities. There is no standard measurement as to how to measure a student’s performance. In addition to measuring academic achievement, it is equally important to consider other skills such as learning ability, citizenship skills and many others. The measurement criteria lead to errors as no single assessment best defines the performance. Merit pay plan fails to answer several questions related to teachers such as the type of teachers included, individual or group reward and many others.