No more than 500 of the nation’s 14,000 school districts have implemented merit-pay plans for teachers, according to a study published this month in the journal Education Next.
The study authored by University of Arkansas scholars concludes that American teachers are less likely to receive merit-pay plans compared to teachers abroad and in the private sector. Even when implemented, the report adds, such plans are likely to be less rigorous and substantive than private-sector plans.
Merit pay based on outputs, such as test scores and graduation, rather than on inputs such as graduate degrees and achieving national certification, is unlikely because of state laws on teacher tenure, according to the authors. They argue that in some districts, such as Houston, merit pay has been defined too broadly so that an overwhelming majority of teachers receive pay increases.
A version of this article appeared in the March 09, 2011 edition of Education Week as Merit Pay