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Blame the Teachers

Updated on May 14, 2011

Another dumb idea bought to you by politicians

What is he thinking: Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan
What is he thinking: Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan

Come Teach in my shoes

We need to reform our education system. Most Americans would say this is true, but as a teacher, I am really tired of Washington elite trying to blame me for poor test scores. Obama wants to pay me based on my students' test scores. Mind you, that this year over 75% of the 10th graders that had my classes passed the California High School Exit Exam. I had several students who do not speak English pass it. So, I would not suffer with merit pay. I just think it is wrong.

Let's take my school as an example of why merit pay based on test scores is wrong. I work in western San Bernardino. We have three active gangs at our school. Over 90% of our students get free or reduced lunches and 78% spoke another language as their primary language. We have a population that works out to be about 70% hispanic, 18% African American and about 12% other populations.

I get students in 10th grade whom:

Cannot write a sentence

Do not know how to use end punctuation

Do not know that sentences are to be capitalized

Come to school 3 days a week

Go on vacation for a month at a time

Pregnant girls. This year I ad a 9th grader who had one child and another on the way. (we have a daycare on campus)

Abused (One kid's father broke his arm and three of his fingers.)

Emotionally disturbed

Attention deficit, hyper-activity disorder

Have not ever read a book

Refuse to do homework

Don't take standardized testing seriously (they make patterns on the test)

Threaten violence

Drug problems

Alcohol problems

Not to mention that I have classes with 35 to 40 students in them on a daily basis. So, I may see all of the above problems in one classroom. If not for excellent classroom management skills, I would spend most of my days being a referee. For some teachers, there is little time for instruction.

Now, my question is how are you going to blame me for low test scores? If I do my job, prepare interesting lessons, give homework, stay after school to tutor students, and show improvement every year as a teacher, I should be paid. To pay me based on students scores with a population like ours would be criminal.

I would love to have a couple of these egg heads come to my classroom and teach for a day. How can schools be better reformed? Do away with top heavy districts where most of the money is put into administrations that run by people who are completely out of touch with the students they serve. Give the money to the school principals who have their fingers on the pulse of their school and know what the real needs are. This would reform how things are done. Not paying me based on Joe's test scores when: he didn't come to class, didn't complete his homework, thinks the test is a joke, and is distracted by simply trying to survive.


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      Cynthia P. 

      8 years ago

      I am urrently doing research on the topic merit pay and of all the research i've done, I really enjoy what you say. Everything is so very true. I also object the idea of merit pay because as you say there are other factors that come along, that might impede you to get the raise. It wouldn't be your fault it's just reality not every student will have school supplies, will like school. I am an 11th grader and I honestly admire you, keep doing your best just like you've been doing, and hopefully merit pay does not pass. :)

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      9 years ago

      I am spending a lot of time researching this topic, and I think that this point of view is very interesting and true. It is not fair to link a teachers pay based on test-taking. The ideas expressed here are spot on.

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      Greta Blalock 

      9 years ago

      This is horrible. It's a good hub, as are all of yours, but a horrible situation. I admire your patience. I don't even know where we'd start to solve this problem.


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