The term “merit pay” has gained a prominent place in the debate over education reform. First it was D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee trumpeting it as a key to fixing the D.C.’s ailing public schools. Then a handful of other cities gave it a go, including Denver, New York City, and Nashville. Merit pay is a big plank of Education Secretary Arne Duncan‘s reform platform. Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel has just launched his own version of merit pay that focuses incentives toward principals. There’s just one problem: educators almost universally hate merit pay, and have been adamantly opposed to it from day one. Simply, teachers say merit pay won’t work.
In the last year, there’s been some pretty damning evidence proving them right; research showing that merit pay, in a variety of shapes and sizes, fails to raise student performance. In the worst of cases, such as the scandal in Atlanta, it’s contributed to flat-out cheating on the part of teachers and administrators. So, are we surprised that educators don’t respond to monetary incentives? Is that even the right conclusion to draw?
[readon2 url="http://www.freakonomics.com/2011/09/20/the-debate-over-teacher-merit-pay-a-freakonomics-quorum/"]Continue reading...[/readon2]