Again, Merit Pay Is Incurably Flawed! Tell Us What You Think…


Again, Merit Pay Is Incurably Flawed!

By John R. Alston Trotter, EdD, JD

   Do advocates of Merit Pay think that we should pay lawyers only if the juries find their clients “not guilty”?  What if the evidence against the client is overwhelming and the entire jury is fully convinced that the lawyer’s client is guilty?  So, the “performance” of the client should determine the lawyer’s pay?  This court-appointed lawyer (who had rather not represent this client) will get the lowest pay possible from the State because of Mikie’s (the client’s) “performance” in the CRCT Courtroom.  Hmm.  It just doesn’t seem right.  Why?  Because it isn’t right.

   What about the physician who is forced to take on a client who overeats each day (and eats all of the wrong food, by the way)?  This patient also refuses to exercise. The patient is 120 pounds overweight and smokes three packs of unfiltered Camel cigarettes each day also.  He takes no vitamins and drinks two pints of Vodka and Wal-mart brand O. J. each night while he watches TNT movies until four in the morning.  He goes to the physician who really doesn’t like being his primary care physician because Bubba (the patient’s nick name) refuses to do anything that he suggests to him.  Oh, by the way, Bubba is also diabetic, but he refuses to take his insulin also.  Well, it’s just too bad for the physician because he is going to get paid from the State based on Bubba’s health performance.                                                                                                     

    Merit pay does seem ludicrous when you have no choice about the performance of those entrusted (mandated) to you.  For this reason alone, Merit Pay does not work in the public schooling process.  I will not even go into the way that the process will be used in a manipulative, retributive, and punitive manner.  Only the kiss-ups will profit from such a flawed system.  It will not improve education; it will further destroy the public schooling process. (c) MACE, March 7, 2010.

[This article by Dr. John Trotter also appeared in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and on TheTeachersAdvocate.Com.]

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1 Response to Again, Merit Pay Is Incurably Flawed! Tell Us What You Think…

  1. Mitch White says:

    Dr. Trotter,

    Your comparisons are interesting and you make a very valid point, although I do not agree that merit pay is fatally flawed in all circumstances. (By the way, many civil lawyers are paid for performance under contingency agreements.)

    My question is, “What pay system do you propose?” The current seniority-based system is as flawed in many ways as a “pure” merit system would be. Imagine you have to pay the surgeon with 30 years of experience more than the surgeon with 10 years of experience, even if she has a worse track record and there is evidence she is burned out. Something in the middle that takes into account the type of students teachers are assigned, improvement versus where students started, and feedback from parents, students and administration seems appealing to me.


    A second year teacher

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