A Phillie Teacher

I was a starry-eyed teacher from New Jersey. Now I work for Philadelphia Public Schools.

Why merit pay isn’t a motivater

Posted by aphillieteacher on March 20, 2011

I present two good examples of why merit pay for teachers isn’t a good idea.

First – A real quote by student taking her benchmark math test:

Miss, I don’t pay attention in class so I don’t know how they expect me to know this.*

Based on that statement and her less than wonderful score on benchmark tests, this girl’s math teacher should  be denied salary increments and/or bonus. She doesn’t pay attention in class. This is his fault. (yes of course I’m kidding)

Second: If notes from the field aren’t enough, how about some actual MIT research on rewards and human motivation:


Summary:  there will always be a few things standing in the way of teachers earning merit pay rewards

  • kids who have no intention of learning and are offended when held accountable
  • teachers being human, they react like other humans when it comes to high stake rewards (massively more bananas do not = massively better performance)

* I’m thinking of getting a tshirt saying that


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