In an impressive
Jersey Jazzman pulls apart the numbers
associated with the Newark merit pay plan. He is no fan of merit
pay. Neither am I. Merit pay has been tried again and again for
nearly 100 years, and it has never made a significant difference,
nor have merit pay plans lasted. The Newark merit pay plan is
funded by Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg, and we may safely
assume that he will not make Newark’s teachers his lifetime
beneficiaries. He reports that only 20% of teachers with advanced
degrees opted into the merit pay plan. And here is the takeaway,
according to JJ’s analysis of the available data:
Remember: according to the Memorandum
of Agreement
between the NTU and the state-run
district, only teachers who were more senior and had earned
advanced degrees were eligible to opt out of the merit pay
system; teachers without
masters/doctorates and who were new to the district had to opt
. But one group was clearly more likely to earn a
rating of HE than the other.

Newark teachers who are more senior,
have advanced degrees, and who opted not to
compete for merit pay were more likely to get a rating of “Highly
Effective” than newer teachers without advanced degrees who were
competing for a merit pay bonus.

Unfortunately, not all the data are available. JJ ends with an
urgent plea to Chris Christie, Chris Cerf, and Cami Anderson:
Release all the data.