School teacher salaries should reflect their merit as educators, concludes a study released today by the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. Co-authored by Dr. Rod Clifton, a Professor of Sociology and Education at the University of Manitoba, and Frontier President Peter Holle, A Merit Pay Plan for Manitoba’s Teachers reviews payment methods in a number of other cities and recommends the adoption here of a hybrid plan with the potential to stimulate excellent teaching.
“It’s unfair to base teacher pay on just years of experience and academic credentials,” explained Holle. “That penalizes the highest achievers and skews the incentives for all teachers.” Holle said that Denver uses a merit pay regime worth emulating, and that a proposed plan for Cincinnati also showed promise.
The model set out by Clifton and Holle would lessen the importance of years on the job and replace the element of academic credentials with six merit pay levels. Calculating the weight of those levels on the new salary grid would depend on a combination of in-school evaluations and student performance. Remuneration levels for school principals would be based entirely on student performance.
“Of course, a corollary of merit pay is the requirement that students be tested regularly,” Holle added. “That gives you the information necessary to assess relative merit, and a chance for teachers to earn more financial recognition by improving their classroom effectiveness.”
After describing the pay system in use in Manitoba, the study presents evidence that no connection exists between teaching performance and the length of a teacher’s career or list of degrees. It offers case studies of merit pay plans in six other school districts and discusses current critiques of the concept.
For further information, please contact:
Peter Holle, President of the FCPP, (204) 957-1567
Professor Rodney Clifton, University of Manitoba