On the Bridging Differences blog, Diane Ravitch addresses the idea of merit pay plans in education and makes this simple point on why they consistently fail.
Note that they assume that most people–in this case, teachers–are lazy and need a promise of dollars to be incentivized to get higher scores for their students. It never seems to occur to them that many people are doing their best (think people who play sports, always striving to do their best without any expectation of payment) and continue to do so because of intrinsic rewards or because of an innate desire to serve others.
Over the past eight years, No Child Left Behind has clearly demonstrated that the carrot-and-stick-approach (NCLB is 90% stick) did nothing to improve American education.
Merit pay, like charter schools and standardized testing, is popular with many politicians and other education “experts” because it’s simple, relatively cheap, and easy to implement.
It starts with a premise that is easy to sound bite and seems logical. Â Or it seems logical if you don’t think about the concept for more than a minute or so.
In other words, these are education reform proposals tailor made for our shoot from the gut, short attention span, simplistic approach to governing this country.