Merit pay in education

Charles Brown CharlesB at
Thu Sep 2 07:47:36 MDT 1999

>From another list on merit pay in education

(Merit pay is an issue in the Detroit Teachers' Strike)


Merit pay may be common in the university environment.  We used to have
merit pay at York University with each department deciding on how it would
be distributed.  In sociology we had a formula based on various components
such as types and quantity of publications, papers given, etc.  But the
amounts allocated to departments for merit became less and less, and
eventually our union traded off merit for a better deal for pay increase
based on "progress through the ranks."  So far I am not aware that the
administration wants to reinstitute merit pay.  In the York case the
discretion of deans and chairs was avoided by making the department the
decision-making unit and most departments are run collegially (chair
system rather than heads).  Still, many people were not particularly happy
with even departments making merit pay allocations, though there were
those that did argue for it.  I hope that my sense of the history of
merit pay at York is correct, but it is subject to correction.  I can
imagine that in some settings, were merit judgements might be made on
attitude and rendering a variety of free services (extra-curricular
activities), that merit pay at the discretion of a manager could be very
oppressive, like salary or wage increases in situations where there are
no unions and only the boss's pets get some additional scraps or perks.

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