Every profession accepts merit pay. All people in the Real Working World accept having their income tied to their job performance. Why should teachers be any different?
That's the standard line. Only it isn't true.
Here's a quick report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This particular piece only covers 2006-2009, but it's unlikely that the stats we're looking at have changed dramatically.
What percentage of the private workforce-- you know, that private sector where "everybody" accepts having their pay tied to their results-- how much of that private work-force is composed of workers whose earnings are tied to sales or output?
Additionally, of those identified as sales workers, only 20% were incentive-based. In other words, even in the sales world, the one sector where we might have legitimately assumed "everyone" works strictly on merit pay, only one in five workers has his earnings tied to his job performance.
We could get into the other lie here-- that merit pay actually gets better work out of people in general or teachers in particular-- but let's leave that for another day so that we can let these cold, hard statistics sink in.
Everybody in the private sector does not work for incentive or merit pay.