My views on teacher merit pay, teamwork, and professional learning

Gallup Park, Ann Arbor, Michigan

The lack of evidence supporting merit pay efforts doesn’t mean that well-intentioned system leaders shouldn’t explore and even initiate merit pay programs when teachers, school leaders, and the community agree that such programs are a worthy experiment, when clear measures of success are agreed upon in advance, and when the program is subject to rigorous evaluation.

It’s essential, however, that leaders who initiate such ambitious work fully understand two important “realities.” First, implementing, and sustaining merit pay initiatives is far more complex and intellectually and interpersonally demanding than many leaders understand at their outset. And second, merit pay is not a substitute for the design and implementation of high-functioning educator teams and for sustained, meaningful professional learning within a culture of continuous improvement.

To read more of my AASA essay . . .

1 Response to “My views on teacher merit pay, teamwork, and professional learning”


  1. 1 Karen Anderson January 13, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    Daniel Pink’s book, Drive, calls for a new operating system – Motivation 3.0 based on the three elements of autonomy, mastery, and purpose. The experiments about pay for performance are extremely interesting b/c in most instances they reported a decline in performance when pay was introduced. Very thought provoking conversation. Thanks for surfacing it!


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