Pay-for-Performance in Public Schools

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In the beginning, it should be stated that in order to provide an efficient pay-for-performance system, public schools are to invest substantial time, finances, and other resources. The mentioned aspects may be reached by making investments that go beyond a solely financial issue. Performance assessment may be considered as a basis of a pay-for-performance model. The latter connects employees’ pay to a specific measure of personal or pay organizational performance, mostly by formal performance appraisals. Hence, performance principles and measurements, as well as their implementation, have a significant value for both public schools and its employees. The former is to ensure the following: “(1) performance goals and measures are relevant, reasonable, and usable; (2) employees understand and participate in the performance evaluation process; and (3) performance is evaluated fairly and rigorously” (U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, xii). Thus, it seems apparent that public schools should be considerably devoted to pay-for-performance system assessment.

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The first crucial point within the described scope is that public schools’ management is to select a number of supervisors founded on their supervisory capabilities and qualities, create and arrange them to operate as notable supervisors rather than a technician or personnel expert. What is more, these supervisors should be themselves evaluated and paid based on their performances as specialists. The pivotal aspect here is that performance assessment models do not assess performance, but supervisors do. Despite the fact that public schools are to that action in order to determine and evaluate performances as surely as possible, the management needs to admit that all the critical aspects of personnel performance cannot be predetermined or quantified (Ballou, 2001). Hence, public schools should provide a supervisor with some space to utilize discretion and judgment while assessing employees’ accounts. Nevertheless, here, a certain extent of subjectivity takes place. Thus, public schools should give guidelines and train a supervisor so that the latter could exercise these judgments in a responsible manner – trust between the supervisor and staff is crucial to gain success.

The second important element of the assessment is that communication and transparency are the foundation of noticeable pay-for-performance systems. These systems tend to be most efficient when they encourage an employee to arrange and develop his or her own performance – when they contribute to the personnel’s realizing what they should do. If this requirement is met, then the system can be evaluated by obtaining teachers’ feedback, which results in a full-scale picture of the staff’s perception of and attitude to the ongoing pay-for-performance approach (Mintrop et al., 2017). This second element involves the description of how the system operates to an employee; informing him or her regarding the behavior and accomplishments that are awarded; complex performance feedback; all the necessary explanations to the staff on how they proceed in terms of the system and on the reasons for the outcomes.

It might be assumed that the third essential aspect is checks and balances. As mentioned above, pay-for-performance systems within public schools imply that the management provides a supervisor with the opportunity to exercise an exact extent of judgment in assessing employees’ performance. Nevertheless, these systems should be fair and allow the staff to control supervisors in some sense – by review panels and internal appeals possibilities. This is important to make sure that these supervisors are using their power properly.

Finally, the systems are to be assessed on a regular basis and adapted if there is such a need. They require ongoing attention in order to keep them operating appropriately. Performance targets may change; this performance may improve or aggravate (U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, 2006); supervisors may make an error during the evaluation process – all these aspects and even more imply that public schools – as employers – have to control the functioning and efficiency of their pay-for-performance models and update them properly. This approach is the only way to establish an effective system in the long term.

Then, it should be noted that a pay-for-performance system has some benefits for employees in public schools. First, it is engagement – teachers see how their significant performance (from student’s results to extra working hours) results in positive financial outcomes. Second, it is compensation – it was proved that the appropriately-developed system might increase employees’ salaries notably. However, there are some disadvantages as well; first, it is high stress – lower-paid teachers might feel inequity and injustice; then, the constant supervision is also stressful. Second, it is the inability to define long-term incentives, which contributes to the sense of uncertainty.

From the employer’s perspective, it seems that there are more crucial benefits. First, the public school management is able to attract and retain significantly working teachers while encouraging insignificant performers to voluntarily leaving. Second, pay-for-performance systems increase the productivity and motivation of the staff. Third, without such a model, employees may tend to shirk responsibilities and work without dedication. Critical disadvantages for the employer are as follows; first, this system may result in increased rates of turnover. Second, it can weed out significant teachers who keep away from risk in the financial framework. Overall, it might be assumed that the pay-for-performance model – within the public school scope – is preferable for the employer.

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References

Ballou, D. (2001). Pay for performance in public and private schools. Economics of Education Review, 20(1), 51–61. Web.

Mintrop, R., Ordenes, M., Coghlan, E., Pryor, L., & Madero, C. (2017). Teacher Evaluation, Pay for Performance, and Learning Around Instruction: Between Dissonant Incentives and Resonant Procedures. Educational Administration Quarterly, 54(1), 3–46. Web.

U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board. (2006). Designing an effective pay for performance compensation system. Web.

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