Blame the Teachers
Another dumb idea bought to you by politicians
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.)
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)
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.