Merit pay’s cons outweigh its pros in education

Those who put forth their best effort deserve to be rewarded, or at least, such is the logic behind merit pay. Actually implementing performance based pay, however, is not as straightforward as it seems, especially when it comes to teachers.

This article from seems to discredit any argument against merit pay, but it fails to account for a couple key factors, like the need for evenly outlined evaluations and bottomless budgets.

Determining who the best teachers are falls to in-person evaluations, which are subject to bias, and student performance. If schools use test scores to determine a teacher’s effectiveness, they place all accountability for the teacher on their students. In doing so, they turn students into tools for profit rather than children to nurture. Using evaluations based on scores also punishes teachers who work with higher risk students.

Moreover, schools’ funds only go so far, which restricts the ways in which districts can spend their money. With a limit on the budget for teacher salaries, not every teacher who meets the requirements would be eligible to receive the bonus, thus creating a small, elite group of teachers who receive the raise and excluding those who fall just short of the criteria.

This restriction could cause teacher cohesiveness to crumble. When teachers fail to work together in creating the best possible learning environment, schools fall apart and students suffer.

Overall, teachers deserve more than what they currently earn, but merit pay is not the best way to make a change. Though supporters argue its incentive would enhance teacher performance, the lack of a solid evaluation method combined with the risk of pitting teachers against each other makes the merit pay’s costs greater than its rewards.



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