Support for Merit Pay Spreading
Following on the heels of Barack Obama’s declaration earlier this month that he would support some form of merit pay for teachers in public schools, Michael Bloomberg has voiced his support as well:
Supporters, like Bloomberg, say bonuses for teachers who improve student achievement would reward effective work and attract strong people to the job. But some opponents, including many teachers unions, worry about the idea of gauging teachers based on a narrow factor like standardized tests.
U.S. teachers are typically paid on a system that rewards seniority, with an average starting salary of around $31,000.
Bloomberg said some critics believe that offering financial incentives to teachers somehow diminishes their altruistic motives — an idea he denounced as "ridiculous."
"We should be offering teachers and principals incentives not only to take the toughest assignments, and to fill special needs, but also to get the best possible results from their students," he said.
Support by politicians like Obama and Bloomberg helps demonstrate that using market mechanisms to improve public schools isn’t a party- or ideology-based issue. People simply want the schools to work, so their kids can learn. Ignoring market-based solutions is a recipe for continued failure.