Teacher Quality Bulletin’s merit pay round-up includes a story on a privately funded plan at an elementary school in Little Rock, Arkansas. Each teacher got a bonus based on the percentage increase in her students’ test scores.
For each pupil who made up to a 4 percent gain on the May test when compared with the pre-test last August, the teacher was entitled to $100. For each pupil who made a gain of between 5 percent and 9 percent, the bonus was $200. If the pupil’s gain was between 10 percent and 14 percent, the bonus was $300 and if the gain exceeded 15 percent, the bonus was $400.
Bonuses ranged from $1,800 to $8,600, and cost $65,000. The entire cost was $145,000 including testing costs and bonuses — based on the overall 17 percent gain of students schoolwide — to 25 other employees, including math and literacy coaches, the media specialist and maintenance and cafeteria workers.
In Florida, some districts give merit pay to many teachers; others have plans that make it impossible to qualify. The union wants it that way.
The Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association was bitterly opposed to performance pay and helped set the eligibility bar so high that union chief Jade Moore said it would “make it nearly impossible” for any teachers to earn them.
Hillsborough is more flexible and leaves much of the bonus-granting power in the hands of principals.
Meanwhile Florida is having trouble with teacher certification scams (pdf). One 24-year-old claimed to have earned a bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate within three months.