In hopes of boosting average pay for principals, earlier this year the legislature added $35 million to the state budget for performance pay for principals. Principals could earn more pay based on student performance on tests.
Last week Jim Martin, a member of the Wake County Board of Education, explained why he opposes performance pay for principals. Simply stated, Martin said performance pay does not work because principals perform complex – not performance-based – tasks. And because using EVAAS test scores as a metric for rewarding pay, disadvantages principals doing the hardest work in the most challenging schools.
I don’t accept Martin’s conclusion — or his logic. Martin, He lays out his reasoning why Wake County Schools should not adopt performance pay, yet he offers no reasoning for adopting a policy that offers principals across-the-board raises. Not adopting performance pay is not a logical argument for adopting across-the-board pay raises. Across-the-board pay raises reward both effective and ineffective principals. Doing so damages morale and de-couples pay and performance. How do such policies encourage excellence?
Martin pooh-poohs performance pay because he says principals are not involved with performance-based tasks. He also says principals have little impact on EVAAS scores. I couldn’t disagree more. Principals significantly impact and influence the variables that impact student achievement. Principals motivate teachers to teach, create a vision for education and manage people and processes to foster student achievement. The research linking principals and student achievement is significant and growing. And one with which Mr. Martin should become familiar.
It is interesting to note that after urging the Wake County Board of Education not to adopt performance pay for principals, the board considered across-the-board raises the only option. Martin seemed able to articulate all the shortcomings of performance pay, but unwilling to develop a new performance pay plan. This is telling. The actions certainly hurt WCPSS in the long run. It also raises the question: how does the board evaluate principals?