Bloomberg, union OK merit pay for teachers
, October 18, 2007
Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced yesterday that he
and United Federation of Teachers President Rand Weingarten have reached a
deal on a $20-million-a-year merit pay program for 200 of the city's
The bonuses would not be linked to individual student or
but to schoolwide gains as
measured by the city's new progress report system.
The specific criteria for winning extra funds still are being
the proposal needs state approval.
The concept of merit pay linking teacher compensation to
student achievement is
debated among many educators, labor
leaders and politicians. Labor unions,
including the National Education Association and the American
Teachers, oppose the idea of tying a teacher's paycheck to how well
students do on tests
Weingarten, who also is a vice president of the
1.4-million-member American Federation of Teachers, said she does not support
linking individual class or student performance to teacher compensation.
The deal outlined yesterday is different, she said.
"When a school works
as a team, when teacher voice is
respected, when people are
partnership, schools succeed - and that's how you use incentives,
to help make
schools succeed," she said at City Hall.
Bloomberg said he believes in using rewards to encourage individual employee
performance, but said schools are different because educators often share
"It's really hard to tell whether it is just you and your
whether it's other teachers in the school that
support you - may in fact have
the kids for parts of the day that you don't have them," he said.
"And so having a schoolwide
system does make some sense."
York City's education system has 1,450 schools, 80,000
teachers and more than 1 million students, with an annual budget of $17
Under the plan, each school would appoint its own four-person committee of two
UFT members and two principals as representatives who would decide how to
divide any money that is awarded.
Those compensation committees could choose to
spread funds evenly throughout
the school or to give more to
individual teachers who have shown particular progress.
Seniority cannot be a factor in handing out the extra
pay, the deal says.
Each qualifying school has a choice of whether to opt into the program. The
first year of bonuses will be paid with private money, followed by public
funding if it is deemed successful.