Education Reform and Teacher Tenure
Run Education Like a Business
The rallying cry of school reformers: "End Teacher Tenure! Run our education system like private corporations and the cream of the teaching profession will rise to the top. They believe that once all the incompetent teachers are removed from the teaching profession our children will start learning and graduation rates will increase. If we link fifty percent of a teacher's pay to student performance, the excellent teachers will shine and the mediocre teachers will leave the profession. These are solutions that are so obvious why are the teachers and the teachers’ unions fighting it if they also believe in quality education? The answer to that question is not as simple as the proposed solutions.
Education cannot be run like a business, in the business of manufacturing you begin with quality raw materials you end with a finish product that people want to buy. In education we start off with the raw material of a child’s undeveloped mind that needs to be developed and trained to think, to learn then by high school teach these young mines how to think about how they learn. In business if the raw material is defective the company rejects the material there is no question of trying to make do. The batch of defective material is sent back to the supplier. In education we do not have that option, we must fix the defect as best we can as we try to educate the student.
The Teacher Must be no Good The Class Average is Low
In business, if production falls the supervisor takes steps to remove the employee or employees who are not producing. No more money is wasted on interventions. In education, if students are not producing we begin the long process of intervention. They stay in the classroom becoming more and more disruptive. Resources are poured into that student which could better be used helping students who have a chance. The disruptive student takes away more time from classroom learning than professionals are willing to admit. So “production falls”----the class average declines, the standards are lowered, if a student submits work you should not fail him /her even if it is wrong at least they tried--- and the teachers are to blame.
The teacher does not have the option of firing that student. On rare occasion a student can be removed from class for being disruptive to the learning environment; however teachers are reluctant to use this option. Administrators don’t like it when a disruptive student is removed. It hurts the school grade. So the disruptive student(s) stay in class and require more and more of the teacher’s time. Time which could be better spent on students who are ready to learn.
What the “experts” refuse to acknowledge is that these disruptive students need to be removed from the general education environment and placed on a track that teaches them useful skill sets which will allow them to become productive members of society. Not every one is cut out for college. I am not advocating kicking these students to the curb. However, it is beyond the scope of this article to discuss how these students can be successfully educated.
Excellent teachers will be paid what their worth: didn't I see that tacked to a phone pole "Earn $5000 a week at home call now!"
Linking teacher pay to student performance sounds like a great idea. The good teachers will shine and the bad teachers will leave. Ok, let us forget about test scores for a moment and look at how this evaluation will be done. If teacher pay is linked to standardized test scores then English, math, social studies, and science teacher will be paid based upon their students success or lack of success.
What about gym teachers, media center specialist, art teachers, music teachers, shop teachers, VE specialist and guidance counselors how would their pay be determined? How do you determine the pay of these certified teachers? They do not directly teach the skills that are needed to pass the standardized test. They help reinforce those skills, but they do not teach those skills directly. How would their pay be determined?
What about the teacher that is given the lowest level of learners, the hardcore discipline problem students, these are the students whose problems outside of school are so devastating that grades are not important to them. This teacher’s class average will be in the 40 percent range. How will that teacher’s pay be affected?
What about the lack of parent involvement? There are more parents out there than we are willing to admit that do not get involved with their child’s education. They do not want to hear from the school that their child is misbehaving or not learning. As far as their concerned, it is the school’s problem not theirs. If the school doesn’t have the help of the parent, the disruptive student will not learn.
They're not Experts. They are just Classroom Teachers
Ask the reform expert; When was the last time you were in a classroom.
Even with tenure an incompetent administrator can make the work environment unbearable for the classroom teacher. The only thing keeping that type of administrator from forcing an unjust termination of a teacher is the teacher’s membership in the Teachers’ Union and tenure. As in any profession, there are incompetent workers, the profession of education is no exception; however the incompetent teachers are few and they are removed after due process if they haven't already left. Incompetent teachers leave the profession everyday on their accord because they cannot hack it in a classroom.
The expert reformers who have the magic bullet to cure the problems of education have not been in a classroom for years sometimes decades if they have been in one at all. The reforms they are pushing for can do more harm to students then any group of incompetent teachers. The next time an Education Expert talks about what needs to be done in school reform ask him/her what actual classroom experience he / she has. Then ask why their reforms will work. The chances are he / she will respond with: “Well, we need to run our schools like a business. Extensive studies have shown…”
What other licensed profession has non-licensed people telling its members how to perform their job? What would happen if the medical profession became micro managed by non-medical people? We would be back in the dark ages of medicine were home remedies and spells would be used to treat the sick. Well, education is entering a new dark age due to the fact that too many well meaning but uninformed people have control over the education policy of this country.
In Florida, the teacher tenure / pay for performance bill has been resurrected by Governor Scott and this time unfortunately it will pass.
Blueberries and the Students: You will laugh. Trust me.
- The Blueberry story: the teacher gives the businessman a lesson - Front Burner | Catholic New Times
The Blueberry story: the teacher gives the businessman a lesson - Front Burner from Catholic New Times provided by Find Articles at BNET
Florida Govenor Rick Scott businessman, never taught in a classroom
Education Reform Books
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