NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Public Wants Merit Pay For Teachers, Teachers Don't

March 9, 2000

The teachers' union in Los Angeles is calling for a strike to oppose a 6 percent salary raise for teachers whose students show improvement. Teachers in Detroit walked out for 10 days at the beginning of this school year to protest a similar merit pay plan there.

  • Officials in Los Angeles are offering an overall 10 percent pay hike for teachers, including a 6 percent increase for teachers whose students show notable improvement on tests and those who develop their teaching skills.
  • But the teachers are demanding an across-the-board 15 percent raise, even though student performance in L.A. is poor, compared to other areas of the state.
  • They are fighting public opinion, because California's Public Policy Institute reports that 84 percent of the public wants teachers paid on the basis of merit.

"Education is perhaps the only profession, absent those in the former communist world, that has tried to succeed while totally delinking reward from performance," wrote retired school administrator Henry F. Cotton in Education Week last year. "The result is a system that undermines the work ethic and destroys productivity," he added.

Source: Editorial, "Teacher Unions and Merit Pay," Investor's Business Daily, March 8, 2000.


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