The Paradox of Merit Pay

A recent study from The American Enterprise Institute and The Heritage Foundation compared teacher salaries to their counterparts in the private sector and concluded that teachers deserve even less than what they get.  The study has only added to conservatives' clamor for merit pay, and it is understandable to believe that education can be improved by establishing a system of merit pay for teachers.  Those who seek to institute such a policy, though, need to consider that merit pay, as it is currently conceived, is not likely to usher in true reform. Andrew G. Briggs, coauthor of the aforementioned study, suggests that one reason why teachers should not be considered underpaid is the relative lack of rigor of education majors compared to other subjects of study and the relatively low SAT scores of education majors.  It would be tempting to simply raise teacher pay and anticipate a similar elevation in the qualifications of those who enter the profession, along with...(Read Full Article)