Monday, October 22, 2007
Merit Pay - The Play's the Thing
Schoolwide Merit Pay is now playing in a school in New York City near you.
ACT 1 Scene 1
A Principal's Office in a school that will be dividing pay for performance. A meeting is taking place. Present: principal, Assistant Principal, two teachers elected by the staff which also voted to participate with 65% of the vote. The principal campaigned aggressively, going from room to room for 2 days to lobby.
When the vote came in at 45%, the principal called a "do-over," claiming the air conditioning wasn't working that day and teachers must have been addled. She told people the air would never be turned on again if she lost the vote. She also claimed irregularities. When the chapter leader complained, he received a visit from the AP that afternoon and was given an Unsatisfactory because his trash can was 4 inches away from the designated spot. He went to the UFT to complain he was being harassed for union activity. "Welllll, you can't grieve the letter because we gave up that right in the 2005 contract. Keep a log."
Some teachers went to the UFT to complain. "Ummmmm, file a grievance," said the UFT district rep. "But that will take a year and in the meantime the school will be divided over merit pay," the teachers responded. "Ummmmmmm," said the UFT rep.
Principal: Okay, I want Schmeril to get the bonus money.
Teacher 1: But Schmeril had nothing to do with the academic program. She hangs out in your office all day.
Principal: That's the point. She keeps my papers in order, does all the paperwork my incredible difficult job requires, and most importantly, takes care of all my responsibilities on the computer, which I still don't know how to turn on. Schmeril also dusts my shelves and gets me lunch and coffee. All this frees me to manage the school, which is why the scores went up and we are getting the bonus. You don't think our success is due to any teacher in the classroom, do you?
Teacher 2: But...
AP: Quiet. Don't you know Ms. Z has been empowered by the mayor and chancellor and the UFT to do whatever she wants?
TO BE CONTINUED