From an economic standpoint, merit pay is generally regarded as a pretty effective tool to enhance worker performance. But it isn't easy to apply it in all settings. Case in point: education. Teachers' unions argue that basing pay on standardized testing will just cause teachers to gear lessons to the tests rather than aim for general knowledge and deeper learning. Yet, a new Gallup poll shows that parents overwhelming support merit pay for teachers. Here are the results:

teacher pay gallup 2010-08 - 4.jpg

It's pretty hard to get 70+% of Americans to agree about pretty much anything, so this is a rather staggering result. Of course, the powerful teachers unions won't likely be swayed. But if a better framework can be developed that doesn't rely on standardized tests, proponents of merit pay might be able to make more progress.

Read the full story at Gallup.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.