I am worried about all of this talk about merit pay. Kim Marshall's essay last month in edweek made some great points but I think one of the most interesting ones is that it will undermine team work in a school.
I have been in education for seventeen years and at least in the schools I have worked in during that time, team work has come a long way. It has been a long slog of change to get stubborn educators (definitely including me) to be more collaborative in our professional learning work. Could merit pay turn that back? The jury is obviously still out on that one but hopefully they take those things into consideration when developing these new policies.
The other thing that I worry about that Kim does not mention is just that it might be too damn hard for principals to enact. I share the supervision with my assistant principal of about seventy five people. The demands of the principalship are huge and now we will ask these already incredibly taxed people to spend countless more hours thoughtfully linking student test data to raises for teachers. I will need a lot of help with this one.
My other worry is that in the end, whatever version gets enacted, still has little to no effect on what happens in the classroom, but we have to spend even more time on it to justfify monetary raises.
What does have a strong effect on classroom learning (my belief at least): a positive professional culture in a school. Will merit pay help to develop that?