Hardly a day goes by without another politician or businessman calling for merit pay, performance pay, incentivize those lazy teachers to produce higher scores!

The Obama administration put $1 billion into merit pay, without a shred of evidence that it would make a difference.

Merit pay schemes have recently failed in New York City, Chicago, and Nashville, but who cares?

The Florida legislature passed legislation mandating merit pay but didn’t appropriate any money to pay for it. That was left to cash-strapped districts.

So here is the secret trick.

There is no money to pay for merit pay!

In a time of fiscal austerity, the money appropriated for merit pay (when it is appropriated) is money that should have been spent on reducing class size, preserving libraries or school nurses, or maintaining arts programs or other school-based services.

Instead, districts will lay off some teachers so that other teachers get bonuses. That leads to larger classes for the remaining teachers.

That is ridiculous, but that is the way of thinking that is now prevalent among our nation’s policymakers.

A reader knows this:

 I find the whole premise behind merit pay insulting.  If the districts have extra money, let’s use it to improve teaching conditions such as providing class sets of reading books, pencil sharpeners, science materials, or any of the hundreds of items teachers end up paying for out of pocket.