Merit pay is a zombie idea. It fails and fails and fails again, but legislators just want more of it.

This teacher explains why he doesn’t want it.

There are many reasons to oppose merit pay.

1. It doesn’t work. It failed just in the past few years in Nashville, where the bonus for higher scores was $15,000. It failed in New York City, it failed in Chicago.

2. It has never worked. It has been tried and failed repeatedly for nearly 100 years.

3. Modern social science says that it will never work, that when you pay people a bonus to do what they want to do you actually decrease their motivation.

A short reading list:

Dan Ariely, Predictably Irrational

Edward Deci, Why We Do What We Do

Daniel Pink, Drive

The National Research Council, Incentives and Test-Based Accountability