Just when I thought we had a winner for the loss aversion contest–the proposal that the teacher threaten to kill the children’s favorite pet–another reader sent this magazine cover from 1973.

How ever will we motivate teachers now, if neither incentives nor threats work?

We might try reading Daniel Pink or Edward Deci or Dan Ariely. They say that professionals work best when they are allowed to exercise autonomy, when they are driven by a sense of professionalism and idealism.

But don’t expect our policymakers in Washington and the state capitols to listen to wisdom.