Why merit pay

Linda Perlstein wonders whether reformers should make arguments about the student achievement effects of imposing merit pay schemes when, really, the argument should be: “because it’s right.”

First, yes, it’s right.  Second, no profession – except for maybe sales – employs a purely merit-based compensation scheme.   Teaching needs to be more competitive on merit, yes, but average entry level compensation needs to be more competitive with other knowledge jobs as well.

That said, I don’t think merit pay is about driving results at the margins.  Rather it’s probably about creating a culture of professionalism and attracting the human capital that responds positively to such professionalism.  That actually will have transformational effects on the profession.

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