My Education
My Weekends
My Religion
My Information
My Guilty Pleasure
My Role Model
For Your Eyes
For Your Ears
For Your Palate
For Your Touch
For Your Gag Reflex
For The Love of God

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Teachers can make $100,000 a year in Minnisota... but they have to give up their union membership and tenure. At first, this seems like a good idea - teacher's unions are probably the single most destructive force to education in the past fifty years. It's bred the most apathetic and ornery types of teachers, a job which for many sucks the life out of them when they realize they are not going to make students care, or make a huge difference in anyone's life by teaching 10th grade chemistry. So on that level, I support this - it gives teachers a huge incentive to be innovative and the like, as well as attracting much more qualified personnel to the job. When high schools start outpaying many associate professorships at state universities, they'll start getting people who are as good or better.

The real catch comes when they mention what the criteria for getting the extra cash is:

The "super teacher" bonuses would kick in when students improved their scores on standardized tests. Pawlenty is proposing that these "super teachers" replace the entire teaching staff at selected schools where students are under-achieving.

Why do people put ANY stock WHATSOEVER in standardized tests? They don't actually measure anything, certainly not the quality of teacher. All this sort of program would do is make teachers just drill people on the various tests instead of actually teaching them so they can get the bonus. What is being incentivized is showing kids tricks to figuring out silly little problems and questions on tests which have no relation to anything else any more. When are people going to realize that standardized tests are supposed to be used as guides as to what areas kids are good at and what they are not? They are not some end in and of themselves, and they never will be, and having schools geared specifically towards passing a test is idiotic. Tying teacher salary and job security to how kids do on tests is ALSO idiotic. If everyone in the country is scoring highly on one of these, that test is adjusted to where there's an acceptable range of scores. Moreover, many of the tests are based on relative scores - that is, it's done based on the percentage of people one is higher than - so it's not even really possible on the aggregate to do this in any meaningful way.

Why does the government always do smart things in stupid, stupid ways?

cranked out at 11:01 AM | |

template © elementopia 2003
Chicken and/or Waffles
Be Objective
Be Qualitative
Be Mindless
Be Heartless
Be Confused
Be Aware
The Lounge
Appellate Blog