I am going to have difficult time expressing my thoughts in this post. So if you are looking for a well-organized post, this one isn't it.
I have supported, in principle, the idea of merit pay. I believe that some teachers are more valuable to a school than others and should receive compensation for that value. Many who oppose merit pay cite poor leadership as a reason for avoiding merit pay. The fear exists that a principal, for a host of reasons, may make bad decisions about who exactly deserves the monetary value.
In my naivete, it never struck me that principals would sacrifice a deserving individual based on the pressures of a strong central office or simple dislike of an individual. Perhaps my naivete is based on the profession I have chosen. When we receive our certificates, we are held to a high standard of ethics--and we should. When we stand in front of our classes, we face students who look to us for consistency and integrity.
If I were to make an uninformed decision about a student's grade, I wouldn't last long. If I were to violate protocol in dealing with a student, I wouldn't last long. Or, if I were to treat students with a lack of dignity and respect as human beings, I wouldn't last long.
These realities make me wonder why central offices and administrations get away with these behaviors. It isn't because they are bad people, is it? They have a mom and a dad; a brother and sister; a son or a daughter. I blame power. The same people who will point to our current President and claim that he has misused his power and authority, run school districts with little oversight of their actions. Power corrupts. And when educated people, ones who are in this expected ethical profession, fail to live up to those standard, I have a hard time wanting to be a part of it.