Joe Torre, Randi Weingarten and Al Shanker: Partners in Refocusing the Incentive/Bonus Debate

Joe Torre reached the post season playoffs the last twelve years …for Yankee management it wasn’t good enough.  Steinbrenner and company offered him a contract with a substantial pay cut with performance incentives for reaching the post season.

Torre turned it down!

He especially objected to the incentives – the assumption that somehow he could coach better in the playoffs for monetary incentives. Incentives were an insult.

Torre has a lot in common with teachers – will teachers teach “better” when offered incentives?

At least for teachers salary is based on years of service and the newly agreed upon “bonuses” are over and above base salaries.

Actually the NYC Agreement, to a degree, mirrors what happens with post season money for baseball players. The players themselves decide how to divvy up post season dollars. The players determine full shares and fractional shares – for players, for players who only play part of the season, coaches and other staff.

Schools themselves will have to vote whether to participate in the program and elected representatives of the UFT Chapter, and Management, will have to agree upon the division of the bonus cash, i.e., shares.

There is a certain irony that the Randi Weingarten negotiated the bonus agreement as the Shanker biography, “Tough Liberal” is rolled out. The bonus plan is truly Shankeresque.

The drumbeat for merit pay, aka, pay for performance is resonating across the country, from the draft NCLB legislation, the foundations, the blogs and the NYC school leadership.

The NYC bonus plan moves the focus from individual teacher bonuses to school wide bonuses.

The individual pay for performance ideologues ignore the reams of research that point to collaboration as the key to increasing performance.

Perhaps, just perhaps school systems will begin to provide supports for teacher collaboration – the key to school improvement.


3 responses to “Joe Torre, Randi Weingarten and Al Shanker: Partners in Refocusing the Incentive/Bonus Debate

  1. peter, a major difference between the average teacher and torre is that joe had the financial independence to walk away. b.


  2. michael ashcroft

    Make sure you say “Thanks Joe Torre” at


  3. Pingback: Refocusing the Incentive/Bonus Debate | Edwize

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