A heated debate surrounding merit pay for teachers has existed for decades in the United States, where since the 1920s public schools began awarding compensation primarily according to title and years of experience rather than performance.
Political leaders such as President Barack Obama and US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan have recently expressed support for the notion of merit pay for teachers. In March 2009, Obama said that teachers should be treated “like the professionals they are while also being held more accountable. Good teachers will be rewarded with more money for improved student achievement, and asked to accept more responsibilities for lifting up their schools.”
This has reinvigorated the debate, with many groups staking out positions on either side. The National Education Association, for example, has opposed merit pay, while the United Federation of Teachers, at least in part, seems to support the idea.
Here is a summary of questions and pro and con responses within the debate.