A Chicago Sun Times article discusses the fact that higher pay doesn't cause better results. That is exactly what we've been saying. You don't pay teachers a lot because you think that they will magically become better teachers. You pay good teachers well so that you can retain them in the teaching profession.
There are two well known facts in the teaching world. One is that it's really hard to get rid of lousy teachers. The second is that teacher attrition, especially among good teachers, it really high.
Teaching is a tough profession. Not everyone is cut out to teach and not everyone can be taught to be a good teacher. Just as with any profession there has to be a way to distinguish the good teachers from the bad teachers. Strategically paying teachers according to their worth and abilities is one part of an overall reward system that can help keep better teachers in the system, and help adequate teachers decide if they want to become better teachers.
A strategic pay system can't be the only element. A good work environment with a competent (or better) principal is also essential. Loosening or eliminating the current tenure system is another element. Just like any other profession, teachers have to be susceptible to being fired or put on corrective action plans.
It should be no surprise that paying people more doesn't make them a better teacher. That would be to ignore the other variables and confuse the cause with the effect. The cause should be great teaching. The effect should be better pay.
See our earlier post, "Performance pay may not work..."