It's a fair point; allow me to elaborate:
From article I referenced about the program:
"Large numbers." How large? Why even ask? Trust me - they don't know, because they don't even have numbers for the vast majority of those teachers. And they want to "help" their senior teachers? More like "help" them find the door.
See what's happened? Gates gave Memphis the money to start the merit pay program, then took it away. Now, to make up the difference, the district is cutting programs that would have lifted the salaries of many, if not all, of the teachers.
And they're shifting the blame on to experienced teachers, who are paid more. By firing senior teachers, and institutionalizing a churn at the entry level of the profession (where half of teachers leave after five years already), the districts are clearly aiming to reduce their overall payroll. The merit pay bonuses they are offering are a small price to pay for the greater savings that come from turning teaching into an entry-level stepping stone to another profession.
This is from the same playbook corporate reformers have used to get rid of pensions: short-term fiscal gains at the expense of long-term savings. Because districts, until now, haven't had to pay teachers much at the start of their careers: the younger teachers knew if they hung in there, they'd be rewarded later. That has saved districts money, but those savings came only if the schools upheld their end of the bargain and paid teachers more at the end of their careers. Like the pensions, that promise is now being broken.
And just like the pensions, this destruction of the current arrangement is only to give the current political class a short-term fix to their fiscal problems. The real price will be paid when young people decide that they really aren't interested in a profession where pay fluctuates wildly based on error-prone measures, and they won't make more than they made starting out. Of course, by then, the billionaires who are funding "reform" and their lackeys who push this nonsense will have moved on to destroying another one of this county's institutions.
Merit pay is the tool the corporate reformers are using to cur teacher pay. They are doing damage that will haunt us for years.
They must be stopped.