Washington DC Merit Pay, the Shape of Things to Come?

I can’t help but holler hooray for DC special-education teacher Tiffany Johnson, whose annual pay jumped from $63,000 to $87,000 because she was found to be a “highly effective” teacher.

Districts around the nation have been trying variations on merit pay, according to a recent NY Times article.

The article points out that teachers are evaluated mostly on improved test scores, although visits to the classroom bolster the highly-effective rating.

This brings up the unheard voice of the electives teachers–like me! I’m a wonderful art teacher. My principal knows it, and some folks in my district know it, and it’s “proven” because my junior-high students’ art is chosen for state-wide exhibits and wins other competitions.

But there are no test scores in art class. I welcome any and all visitors, but only my principal ever comes around, and I always enjoy his feedback and participation, but I doubt that his kind encouragement will determine that I am a highly-effective teacher.

I love it when my administrators acknowledge that I’m a splendid art teacher. I’d love it even more in the shape of merit pay.


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