Policy Documents

Merit Pay

The Heartland Institute staff –
July 12, 2007

As an elected official, you know the level at which you perform your duties is the final point of judgment used in determining whether or not you keep your job. You may be well-intentioned, highly educated, and an excellent orator, but if you accomplish little for your district—or worse, somehow hold your district back through failure to act—you will be held accountable.

Accountability, as it translates into non-elected jobs, oftentimes means being rewarded financially for outstanding performance. So why does the principle of accountability sometimes get overlooked when discussing education?

A new Research & Commentary package from The Heartland Institute discusses innovative programs that reward teachers for outstanding performance, and that hold accountable teachers who continually underperform.

Inside, you will learn:

  • Most programs for merit pay operate independently of union contracts, which remain in force and are unaffected by systems of bonuses and other incentives;
  • Merit pay programs allow innovation in teaching methods and fresh ideas in the classroom, bypassing stagnation and tenure—focusing education policy on children, not teachers; and
  • Merit pay is not based just on test scores. In fact, most schools use a series of five or six benchmarks independent of test scores to measure teacher performance.