A Prince George's Country merit pay plan for teachers seems to have gained support among the local union, which will certainly make the experiment noteworthy. I'll be interested to see how it turns out. You can mark me down as a skeptic, though, since it seems very likely to me that linking teacher compensation to test scores this directly mostly creates incentives for teachers to help their students cheat on tests.

However, given that this is a pretty obvious idea and we have a whole lot of school districts in this country, I think it's essentially inevitable that this will be tried out in some places and we'll see what the results are. I think, however, that there are probably more promising ways of caching out the idea of "merit pay" that would focus more on the idea of giving administrators flexibility with teacher salaries and then holding them accountable for getting results.

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