There is a relatively new blog around called the Test Pattern, that gets a few individuals together to debate specific public policy issues in written essays.
The current debate on the blog is around performance pay for teachers, one such discussion around its merit (or lack of) is given by Robbie Allan here.
What do I think? I have no problem with performance pay in of itself, but it relies on low cost measures of performance. In an area like primary and secondary school education, how observable are outcomes? If we can’t observe actual outcomes well, performance related pay may in fact make outcomes worse – not just by leading teachers to fake results, but by convincing teachers to invest in the “wrong parts” of education.
Hell, when it comes to education do we objectively even know what areas provide the most value? Until we really face the issue of what performance really is, the entire concept of “performance” related pay is relatively redundant.