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Abstract

Concerns about the quality of the teacher workforce and the distribution of teacher quality among schools have led to calls to reform teacher compensation. The authors present the results of the 2006 Washington State Teacher Compensation survey on teachers’ attitudes about this issue. By linking survey results to detailed data on school and district characteristics, they analyze how teacher attitudes differ by individual characteristics such as subject area, school assignment, or experience, as well as workplace characteristics such as school performance and the level of trust among teachers and principals. The results suggest teachers’ attitudes toward reform are shaped by self-interest as well as by professional norms of collegiality—two factors that can push teachers’ attitudes toward compensation reform in opposite directions. For example, teachers with middle and high school assignments in mathematics and science are more supportive of subject-area bonuses; the more trust that exists among teachers, however, the less teachers support merit pay.

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