Over at the Washington Monthly, Kevin Drum is proposing that merit pay for teachers might improve educational outcomes. Nevermind that nobody enters teaching for the pay. Also, when I think about what’s wrong with education in this country, “no merit pay” doesn’t jump out at me: how about changing the culture of schools so that learning is valued (particularly by boys). Anyway, here’s what I posted in response:
I think bonus pay for teachers is beside the point. As long as colleges and universities are willing to accept ignorant, poorly educated students (because colleges need the tuition dollars), the high schools are under no pressure to improve. If students from upper- and middle-class public schools were unable to get into college due to a poor education, we would see a rapid improvement in our schools. Those that hold the power won’t change the educational system until their children fail to rise in the meritocracy. I would add that I’m a college educator who’s tired of seeing poorly educated students in the classroom-we shouldn’t be teaching de facto remedial courses.