The replies (well, about the first 20) to Matt Yglesias's Why Is Paying Effective Teachers More A Form of “Teacher-Bashing”? are excellent, which is actually a good sign that more teachers are starting to get engaged in this discussion and on-point. Hopefully this trend will develop over summer vacation.
I particularly like this paragraph from Cyrus's comment:
No sane commentator would say “unless we first eradicate poverty we can’t improve schools”. Obviously, perfection is impossible. However, improvement certainly is possible, and improvement in poverty issues would do a hell of a lot more to help school performance (and everything else) than firing teachers who don’t make their quotas. If you dug up an insane commentator saying what you imputed to critics of merit-based pay, you’re probably nutpicking; if you didn’t even bother to that much, it’s just a strawman. Really, Matt, you have talked about this issue before, but apparently didn’t learn anything.