Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Bushies Love Education

There was an article in the Washington Post describing a new policy in Florida linking teacher pay to student performance on tests. More specifically, rewards will go to teachers that increase student scores on standardized tests compared to scores from the previous year. In this way it resembles the movie Summer School, where most of the class failed but showed major improvements – thus demonstrating that the teacher had a big impact on the students and deserved to keep his job.

My problem with this isn’t that it shows an expectation for teachers to perform and reach their students – I think that is a good idea. Instead, I think it goes about this the wrong way. Proponents of this bold new policy try to link it to the private sector, but I don’t think this type of bonus plan is as widely used as they make it out to be. As far as I know, the private sector is more efficient because it can fire poor-performing employees. Therefore, the better option might be to remove tenure for teachers. Teachers unions would obviosly oppose this - although I don't think I will ever understand why unions work so hard to protect poor employees (teachers or otherwise).