Moe money for performance

"Makes no sense at all.... A truly dumb idea." A commentary on Mike Tyson's recent announcement that he wants to fight women? Nope. It's Koret Task Force member (and Stanford political science professor) Terry Moe's assessment of paying teachers based on tenure rather than merit. In a recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Moe dismisses the idea that schools should "hire employees for life and pay them without regard for their performance." According to Moe, in a school, "like any organization, the key to effective performance lies in getting the incentives right... This is Management 101: elementary, fundamental, essential." So why don't more schools adopt these basic managerial practices? Moe says teachers unions present the biggest obstacle, although he optimistically claims that they "are surrounded by more incentive-pay brush fires than they can put out" (see here, here, here, and here). We think he's right. It's ridiculous to pay teachers of gym and physics the same wage, and to ignore teacher performance when calculating salaries and raises. The unions can't forever get away with denying the obvious.

"Management 101 for Our Public Schools," by Terry M. Moe, Wall Street Journal, October 31, 2006