I am tired of hearing that teachers should leap to embrace pay-for-(student)-performance schemes. The fact that there is no reliable method for linking teacher pay to student performance - no testing instrument, no data collection scheme, etc. - should end the conversation, but it doesn't. The amount of additional testing this would require also gets forgotten; I think we test enough as it is, and no matter how much it might add to my pay, I will destroy every #2 pencil in the world before my Kindergarten students take a standardized test.
Not to mention: pay for performance doesn't work. Study after study after study demonstrates that it doesn't lead to increased performance in any domain, and ancedata suggest increased cheating under pay for performance schemes.
The argument that really gets me is the claim that CEOs and other corporate types are paid by performance, so teachers should be, too. This is so entirely false that it leads me to question a claimant's intentions.
Blue and pink collar workers are generally employed by performance. Doctors and lawyers are not. Service industry employees are paid by performance; investment bankers are not. Hedge fund managers make out just fine even when their investors don't. Elected officials are not paid by performance.
CEOs are most emphatically not paid by performance. CEOs make out just fine even when they are forced out; Mark Hurd is leaving Hewlett Packard with a cool twenty eight million dollars. Let's see that in numbers:
Maybe teachers should agree to bizarre compensation plans if and only if our pensions are as generous as Mr. Hurd's package, here. The average state pensioner gets a whopping $24,000 annually - not too impressive, given that teachers pay into their pensions and get no earned Social Security benefits.