Date of Award

Spring 5-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Dr. Sherry DeVore

Second Advisor

Dr. Terry Reid

Third Advisor

Dr. Jason Anderson

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of Missouri educators and state education leaders toward merit pay. In addition, a secondary purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of educators on the impact of merit pay on recruiting and retaining highly-qualified teachers. Due to the current economic situation, districts are looking at ways to compensate teachers while recruiting and retaining highly-qualified teachers. Districts must continue to meet federal and state mandates to increase student achievement, and researchers have identified teacher quality as one such influence. Therefore, many believe the traditional salary schedule, which has been the predominate method of paying teachers for many years, is outdated and ineffective. In this study, the history of the traditional salary schedule, successful and unsuccessful merit pay programs, legislation, and alternatives to merit pay were examined. Utilizing a mixedmethods design, 219 surveys and 10 interviews were conducted. The survey return rate was 22% resulting from distributions of the surveys at the fall conferences of the MNEA and the MSTA. Additional surveys were distributed in two schools. A t-test was conducted to determine if perceptions of tenured and non-tenured teachers were different. The results of the surveys indicated Missouri educators and two educational organizations are overwhelmingly opposed to merit pay. Interviews revealed state education leaders are divided in their support of merit pay. The study disclosed a desire for all educators to be at the table as compensation plans are discussed, allowing for all parties to be involved in the decision process.

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