Teaching Profession

N.Y.C. Administrators To Receive Merit Pay for Boosting Scores

By Mark Stricherz — June 06, 2001 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

In a first for the New York City schools, the district will give bonuses of up to $15,000 to principals and other administrators whose schools posted major gains on test scores.

The rewards will go to leaders at 300 schools, which have yet to be announced. District officials grouped schools into three performance categories—low, middle, and high—taking into account students’ economic circumstances. Within each of those groups, they identified the top 25 percent of schools whose scores on city and state tests had improved the most between 1999 and 2000. For high schools, factors such as dropout rates were also used.

City officials depicted the bonuses as part of a broader accountability plan they are seeking to have implemented in the 1.1 million-student district, the nation’s largest.

“From [Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani’s] perspective, this is a real breakthrough for accountability, because principals will be held accountable for [improving] performance,” said Deputy Mayor Anthony P. Coles. “Merit pay is something that works in the private sector. “

He noted that school officials earlier had abolished tenure for the city’s principals.

Unions Concerned

Officials with the city’s principals’ union, the Council of Supervisors and Administrators, were less enthusiastic about the bonuses.

While the union agreed last year to merit pay in exchange for salary increases of more than 30 percent, spokesman David G. DeMond voiced concern about schools’ being arbitrarily selected. Schools Chancellor Harold O. Levy, he said, may “not use simple, across-the-board criteria.” (“Principals Approve New Contract in N.Y.C.,” Feb. 2, 2000.) Mr. DeMond added that the merit-pay plan might be forced on the teachers’ union, a worry shared by United Federation of Teachers.

In a statement, UFT President Randi Weingarten amplified the CSA’s reservations. “The union that negotiated this program is now questioning the objectivity, fairness, and integrity of its implementation,” she said. “This raises profound questions about how individual merit pay actually works for school and kids.”

Dick Riley, a spokesman for the teachers’ union, added that it opposes individual bonuses for teachers and is “more supportive of performance pay that is schoolwide.” Mr. Riley called test scores a poor gauge of student achievement.

The only types of schools that won’t receive the bonuses are ones judged to be failing by the state. Eligible supervisors must have been rated satisfactory by the system and have served in the school or district for three months.

In addition to benefiting principals and supervisors at the 300 schools, the bonuses also will be given to supervisors from eight district offices and the high school superintendency.

The bonuses will be awarded based on performance to administrators of schools in the top 25 percent of each cohort. Administrators at schools in the top 5 percent of their category will receive increases of between $7,500 and $15,000. The other bonuses will be between $2,750 and $10,000.

A range of additional factors went into ranking the high schools, said Marge Feinberg, a spokeswoman for Mr. Levy. They included the percentage of students receiving free or reduced-price lunches, the number of children who use mass transit, and attendance and suspension data.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the June 06, 2001 edition of Education Week as N.Y.C. Administrators To Receive Merit Pay for Boosting Scores

Events

English-Language Learners Webinar Helping English-Learners Through Improved Parent Outreach: Strategies That Work
Communicating with families is key to helping students thrive – and that’s become even more apparent during a pandemic that’s upended student well-being and forced constant logistical changes in schools. Educators should pay particular attention
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Mathematics Webinar
Addressing Unfinished Learning in Math: Providing Tutoring at Scale
Most states as well as the federal government have landed on tutoring as a key strategy to address unfinished learning from the pandemic. Take math, for example. Studies have found that students lost more ground
Content provided by Yup Math Tutoring
Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching Profession Teachers Who Refuse to Comply With Vaccine Mandates Won't Face Consequences in Many Places
Some districts and states aren't even keeping track of how many teachers are vaccinated.
8 min read
Teachers protest against COVID-19 vaccination mandates in New York on Aug. 25, 2021. On Friday, Oct. 1, 2021, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor denied an emergency appeal from a group of teachers to block New York City's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for public school teachers and other staff from going into effect.
Teachers protest against COVID-19 vaccination mandates in New York on Aug. 25.
Mary Altaffer/AP
Teaching Profession What New Teachers Need
Ideas from the real world on making teachers' first years less overwhelming and more fulfilling.
5 min read
Illustration of a classroom diorama sitting on a student desk.
Illustration by Laura Baker/Education Week (Images: iStock/Getty)
Teaching Profession Opinion This Year Almost Drove Me Out of Teaching. The Right Leader Made Me Stay
After seven years teaching and one class away from becoming an education specialist, I have seen the highs and lows of education leadership.
Samantha Richardson
4 min read
Illustration of woman sitting on a mountain top looking into the distant landscape.
iStock/Getty
Teaching Profession Maryland Teacher Wins $1 Million Global Prize
Keishia Thorpe received the prize for her work teaching immigrant and refugee students and helping them attend college.
2 min read
This photo provided by the Varkey Foundation shows Keishia Thorpe. The Maryland high school English teacher, who has worked to open up college education for her students, has won the $1 million Global Teacher Prize. The Varkey Foundation announced Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021, that Thorpe, who teaches at International High School at Langley Park in Prince George’s County in Maryland, was selected from more than 8,000 nominations and applications from 121 countries around the world.
Keishia Thorpe, who has worked to open up college education for her students, has won the $1 million Global Teacher Prize.
Varkey Foundation via AP