North Carolina is instituting merit pay for all public-school teachers in place of experience-based pay (“The Merit Pay Zombie Rises Again in North Carolina,” the progressive.org, Jul. 28). I understand why merit pay has such great intuitive appeal. After all, why shouldn’t teachers be compensated for what their students learn.
The problem is that so much of a teacher’s effectiveness is the direct result of the students the teacher happens to be assigned. If a teacher is given a class of Talmudic scholars, he or she is going to post outstanding results regardless of what is taught. In contrast, if a teacher is given a class of future felons, he or she is going to flop.
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