First of all, let me ask my standard question: if every teacher needs to be a great teacher, and you believe more pay will attract better teachers, doesn't that mean that eventually the payroll of the entire teaching corps needs to rise? If so, let's just raise it now - at least for teachers entering the field - and let the market do its work.More importantly, however, these sobering findings from two short-term programs provide no insight into the potential benefits that the broader adoption of merit pay might foster for the overall composition of the teaching force. In our current non-merit-pay world, newly entering teachers can expect very high levels of job security, but very few rewards for high performance. This recipe may not be appealing to talented young people confident that they would flourish in a more differentiated system. The data agree: unfortunately, our most talented college graduates do not aspire to be teachers (Teach For America is one notable exception). However, if teacher salaries were related to effectiveness, talented and self-assured individuals might be more likely to enter the profession and turn into excellent classroom teachers.Indeed, the widespread use of merit pay has the potential to enhance the composition of the teaching corps at the front end and beyond. Over time, a well-designed merit pay system would send the right signals and foster a sort of “natural selection” whereby effective teachers, encouraged by annual recognition and rewards, would eagerly return to the classroom each year. At the same time, their less-effective peers would find teaching to be less financially rewarding and would thus work to improve their skills or seek out other career options.
Second: where's your proof?!?! You want to implement merit pay because it "might" improve the teaching corps? Don't you think you should have a little more evidence before you make such a radical adjustment?
Third: merit pay only works if teachers perceive it as fair. Teachers know that if you base it on secretive standardized tests, it will be anything but fair.
But, yes, by all means, let's keep believing in the Merit Pay Fairy. She'll wave her magic wand and all of the problems of childhood poverty and racism and language and learning disabilities and income inequity and unequal resources will be magically wiped away...
How's it goin'? I'm the Merit Pay Fairy, here to magically make your school better! Sweet, huh?