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What about special education? Students with learning and cognitive disabilities do not learn as fast or as much as students without disabilities. Students with sensory and physical disabilities need alternate input sources that are often slow to use so they take longer to learn. Students with moderate severe, and profound cognitive disabilities do not even take the same tests and most mildly retarded cannot succeed on them. Special ed is not just mild learning disabilities and fairly simple behavior problems and smart kids with Aspergers who drive teachers crazy with their obsessions.
Do you leave the teachers out? Include them automatically and base achievement on the IEP, which can be manipulated for success (or failure)?
Until the inclusion of real special education, those who need special settings---resource and small group with special educators teaching them is addressed there is no way to make performance based rewards fair.
In my experience as a teacher, the students that perform poorly choose to do so. They choose not to come to school, choose not to complete classwork/homework, refuse to participate, and choose not to take their education seriously. There is only so much a teacher can do to try to help students succeed. If the community, family, and students do not hold education to be of great importance, it is apparent in test scores and student achievement. Teachers cannot force students to do their work, come to school, or believe in the importance of education. We need to stop using teachers as scapegoats and start getting to the root of the problem.
Teachers should be supported in every way
Low performing students ? extra money should go with that group of students so the teacher who teaches them gets more support-
We need to assess students in a way that reflects more that how they perform on a multiple choice test
More teacher inservice days always the first cut to be made we need MORE !
There are many variables that account for achievement. Teachers are just one variable. Teacher success depends on type of school community, role of and understanding of social community, teacher education, attitude, social/ethical values, the role of testing, the role of assessment, the nature of the curriculum, post graduate support, career path availability (teacher leadership, shared leadership), collaborative possibilities and support, school budget, etc. This list is not comprehensive by no means.
SO...how do you simplify teacher success to tests that are almost always poorly constructed, not creative nor requires students to interpret, differentiate, design, formulate, apply, analyze, synthesize, argue, assess, defend, predict, and evaluate...just to name a few mental actions that are not required by most tests. Thus when teachers are required to 'teach to the test' learning goes out the window.
On top of those two points, is the fact that many states asks teachers to grade the tests. Often the background knowledge required to grade the test is so mismatched that the thinking that is recorded is not understood. Tests are then often scored based on whether the student dotted the i, not on content.
So I hope that the Obama administration will consider multiple variables, not just the teacher's role in the process of teaching and learning.
As soon as someone will legislate good parenting -and enforce it, I'll be happy to vote for teacher rewards or penalties!
Why do I want to support the idea that a 15-18 yr HS student should have the opportunity to determine my pay? This person has no responsibilities, is in the process of hopefully gaining an education, no family to support, hopefully, no loans to pay, etc., etc. and I'm supposed to be in favor of this proposal?
Why would anyone want to be come a teacher, or stay in teaching after the first time their pay was lowered because some of their students decided to be unmotivated?
Teachers are not making widgets whose quality control can be easily measured and guaranteed.
Proposals like this represent the point of view that students are not responsible for their education and are mere receptacles for what the teacher does to them. I thought that this idea went out of fashion a 100 yrs ago.
The concept of punishing or rewarding teachers based on student performance is so subjective that it can't fairly be addressed across the boards so simply. What do you do about students who refuse to work? They know they are holding the teacher's feet to the fire and don't care. Yes, there are teachers who are not performing at their best as well as those who are riding the crest of the wave, but measuring everyone based on one variable alone is ridiculously unfair. Almost as unfair as expecting one test to be able to measure every student's abilities.
In my city teachers are being penalized for youth truancy, poor grades, etc, but not being rewarded for success. Teachers are not the problem! Classism, poverty, marginalization, generations of teenage parenting, absent parents - - these are the problems. Holding teachers accountable to the degree that it is done in my city is obscene. Voters have no control because the job of superintendent is a mayoral appointment. Some citizens, me included, are working to change this system so that the superintendent is also voted on and can be removed.
More work needs to be done to support families with few resources, get people working, help mentor young people outside of school, provide other opportunities for youth to be supported by caring adults who will help them navigate their school years and plan for career.