Across the nation, a debate continues to rage over teacher quality. Questions abound. Should we abolish tenure? How can we make it easier to fire poor teachers? Should we eliminate seniority-based rules for dismissing teachers? Don't we have to increase pay to attract better teachers?
Some people defend the current system, arguing that it will be even harder to attract people to the teacher profession if we reduce job security substantially. They argue that the job security helps to offset the low compensation. I think these defenders of the status quo miss a very important point. People do not only put forth effort based on extrinsic motivation (pay, benefits, etc.). Clearly, intrinsic motivation also drives people. Ask yourself this question then: If a high quality teacher watches as a system protects incompetence around them, would it decrease their intrinsic motivation? Of course it would! Thus, I would argue that creating a system that is more meritocratic will help attract, retain, and motivate high quality teachers better than a system that protects those who aren't doing their job well.