Teachers strongly oppose linking pay to performance, concludes a survey of teachers in Washington state. Teachers were asked about higher pay based on working in a difficult school (“combat pay”), teaching in a high-demand subject area, student performance and National Board certification. From Teacher Quality Bulletin:
Combat pay ranks most favorably with teachers with support at 77 percent. In contrast, there is scant, almost nonexistent support for any pay plan that tries to assess a teacher’s performance: 14 percent of the teachers support performance pay “somewhat” with only 3 percent in “strong favor.”
. . . Support for merit pay is higher among teachers who have positive impressions of their principal and negative impressions of their colleagues.
Not surprisingly, math and science teachers strongly support subject area bonuses; teachers certified by the National Board support bonuses for certification.
Smaller class sizes were less important than higher pay.
A huge majority (82 percent) of the teachers said they’d rather get a $5,000 pay raise than teach two fewer students. Most would still take that raise (69 percent) over getting another prep period every week (69 percent). It could be that teachers would rather have the money, or it could also reflect the rampant distrust of teachers for districts following through on any promised improvements. When in doubt, take the cash; it’s a safer bet.
There’s more here on the “slender” evidence supporting the efficacy of performance pay.