"Merit pay for teachers increases student performance."
Really? How are you going to measure that? In my opinion it's an excuse for lawmakers and states not to pay teachers. Decoys are always clever for awhile. You want accountability? You want excellence on the job from your teachers in the United States of America? Here's an idea: Pay them what they're worth. Stop disrespecting them with subtle and not-so-subtle punitive measures if the students they're charged with don't perform to a certain standard. How many of you would survive the proposed accountability model?
It will surprise the pencil skirt out of me if there’s a decent teacher left in this country within ten years.
Here’s the problem with this school of thought if you’ll pardon the pun.
On any given day there are at least 6,000 reasons why little Johnny cannot learn. And 6,000 more why he may never pass that end-of-grade test. Maybe he had no breakfast, maybe his dad got fired last night, maybe he has to face a bully in the hallway every 45 minutes, maybe his parents told him he didn't have to listen to the teacher, maybe he's on antidepressants ….maybe he’s just having a bad day. Maybe his mother’s on crack. Maybe she's even in jail. Maybe he’s embarrassed about his clothes. Maybe he has to babysit his little brothers and sisters when he goes home and can’t do his homework. Maybe no adult at home speaks English and he has to go to the clinic, the hospital or the court to interpret for his family. Little Johnny has bigger fish to fry than answering twenty math questions and reading chapter 10 in the Social Studies book. Maybe, just maybe, there is no parent in the house at all. Maybe there is no house and he is homeless. And sometimes even when there are two people sitting at the dinner table who call themselves parents, there is no parent!
You want teachers to be held accountable for all that?
And then punish them financially and professionally when little Johnny cannot read?
We're just talking about one little Johnny on any given day.
There are 30 other little Johnnies in the same class with their own set of 6,000 reasons.
Excuse me while I apply some good ole' common sense to this argument.
If the surgeon taking out your gallbladder brings his best skill to the table but you slip into a coma and die after surgery, the surgeon still gets paid.
With this accountability model in the operating room that the States want to impose on teachers, he’ll be required to forfeit his fee or at the very least return some to the family of the deceased. He should be fired from the hospital because his standards are obviously too low and publicly humiliated on the News.
Doesn’t matter that the patient was obese, had been smoking a-pack-a-day for 30 years and was diabetic. The surgeon should still be held responsible for the health of that patient. We know in our brightly colored crayola-schooled minds that he has no control over those factors. Don‘t we? How many doctors do you know (sans the malpractice nightmares) who would continue to attempt to practice medicine if they had to work under that much pressure?
Why not demote and punish police officers if the crime rate goes up in your city? If they can’t keep the criminals in check on the streets then they must not be doing their jobs. Shouldn’t they be accountable for souls and morals too? Isn’t that fair? And BTW, PAY them.
Firemen should not be let off scot-free if a house burns to the ground before they get there. If they don't arrive within ten minutes, well, that's just not acceptable. I say let's require them to build the owners a new one. Out of their own pocket. Buy the materials themselves even. That's what teachers do. It's only fair. Never mind that someone left a pot burning on the stove, flicked a cigarette butt off the patio or the wiring in the house failed. It is the fire department's fault.
Are college professors going to be axed if their students don’t get jobs upon graduation? Who is going to measure that? Does it matter they may have to work at McDonald’s for 2 years before finding a better job because of the economy in the United States? Who is going to measure that?
Why not hold our elected officials responsible for every dollar that is misspent, misappropriated or just plain lost and make them pay it back via payroll deduction until they find it? Why not? I’m sure they won’t mind a little accountability.
Mental health workers should have to prove that all their patients are psychologically sound before re-entering society. If one falls off the wagon, commits suicide, or slips back into depression, I’d say the doctor and nurse in charge of that patient should be knocked down the pay scale a notch or two. Don’t you think that makes perfect sense? How well their patients perform in society for the next year should determine whether or not they get to keep their job. Are you going to measure that?
Here's a thought:
I think every member of the House and Senate, every Mayor, Governor, and Presidential candidate in this country should be required to spend three consecutive weeks in a public school classroom. Not one day. Not a photo-op visit. Not a campaign trail stop. Their day will begin at 6:30 am riding the big yellow school bus and end around 8pm after all the papers are graded, duty is done, and the school football game is over - if they're lucky. Maybe, just maybe, after that they'll be qualified to give an opinion on how teachers should teach. After observing the classroom and the students he/she is charged with with all of them - right down to the kid with 13 modifications to the brightest and most bored child in the class, they should march back to their appointed stations and submit a dissertation to be read to their colleagues entitled Why Johnny Can't Read In The United States of America.
Don't worry. This won't take long on the Senate floor. Not a one of them will bring back the same account. They'll all be sent out for revision after revision until the eyewitness truth fades and one square peg fits into the round hole of compromise.
No one will even remember where they've been.
When did it become sport and folly to punish teachers? Why have they become the modern day scapegoat for every ill of society? We all know there are incompetent educators just like there are incompetent employees in all other forms of enterprise, but the vast majority of educators went into teaching for love of learning and kids. Nobody expected to get rich. But I doubt they realized teaching would be the beginning of bankruptcies and foreclosure letters either. Most of all, they are tired of being constantly worn down by unreasonable expectations to prove and reprove that they know what they're doing. And more than anything, even though they might want to be Little Johnny's parent, godparent, grandparent and teacher...they can't go home with him.
Dear Congress...Don't talk to me about merit pay, No Child Left Behind, or a million other programs that sound good politically but fail miserably in reality unless you've spent some time in the fantasy land we call Public Education. Every manner of society walks through a schoolhouse door when the bell rings. There is one teacher to a hodgepodge of undone homework, possible weapons and hunger pangs in every backpack. No love of learning and kids can cure all that. No one human being should be expected to try.
It doesn't surprise me that some little Johnnies can't read. It surprises me that so many can.
School is a stressful place to be for most kids. Until those in power are willing to see what it's really like in a public school classroom day-by-day from the teacher's point of view, they'll just keep passing out band-aids and threats.
You want to fix public education? Get a bulldozer and start over.
Okay. I think I'm finished.