Obama and Merit Pay For Teachers

His break from liberal orthodoxy is already making waves. The WSJ casts partisan scorn:

So far Mr. Obama has been shrewd in setting himself off from left-wing orthodoxy, though perhaps mainly as a matter of style. But if he is going to ask voters to consider the Presidency an entry-level position, he'll need to do more than dress up liberal commonplaces as bold truth-telling.

Nice open mind there, eh? Left Coast blogger Darren thinks it's a very shrewd move. Is the NEA going to endorse a Republican anyway? Lewis Solomon sees Obama catching a wave:

[I]n one national program, the number of teachers who support performance pay has almost doubled in many states after a few years of trying it.

No matter. Many critics remain unconvinced - offended, it seems, by the very notion of connecting teacher pay to student achievement. We have to ask these naysayers this question: if adults (teachers) should never be affected by how well children (students) do in school, does that mean that teachers are not responsible for student learning?

Performance-pay opponents are running out of arguments and allies. School reformers must seize the moment.

For the record, I've long believed teachers should get better pay for better exam results, and bad ones should be fired. Eduwonk is not as convinced that teachers are ready for the move though. Some are already whining.