A horrible idea, tying teacher compensation to student performance

We all want to see students do better in school. But this idea of tying a teachers compensation to how well their students do is just stupid. On the surface it may seem like a good idea, but when you really look at the reasons students are not doing well you soon see that its not only a bad idea but completely shortsighted and a stupid idea.

Holding students back - Kindergarten to 5th grade students are rarely held back anymore when they are unable to perform the basic skill expected of their grade level. It's ultimately the parents decision to hold them back to repeat a grade, and most of them will not do it. So, you end up with a kid that is promoted to the next grade even though they are not capable of performing at the next level. To put this in perspective, imaging being a teacher and needing to teach a student 4th grade level work when they can only read at a 1st or 2nd grade level. Is that the teacher's fault and responsibility now to get that student up to par? It's not realistic.

ELL Non-English speaking students - In a lot of places across the United States there are becoming a lot more Spanish speaking young students. Imagine how they feel coming into a public school at 4th grade, and not speaking more than a few words of English. Yeah, a lot of these students exist, and the teacher in that class is expected to make that student perform, even though that teacher speaks no Spanish. The student may well be very capable, but not in an English speaking class. When that student is not able to perform, should the teacher be responsible for that too? Should that affect their pay? Seems unreasonable to me.

ADHD and ADD Students - There are an increasing number of students in school that have ADHD or ADD. I don't remember this even being a thing when I was a kid, but it's rampant now. Whatever the cause is, there are students that cannot focus their attention on something for more than 30 seconds. A young student like this cannot take instruction, focus on reading, listen to a story, take a test, etc. Often teachers have conferences with parents of these students because they are disruptive during class, distracting the rest of the students from focusing or getting their work done. Is this also the responsibility of the teacher? Its up to the parents to decide to medicate them, but if they choose not to... nothing can be done. That student is in that teachers class weather they like it or not. Should a teachers pay be affected by that student?

Disrespectful, Uncaring, and Un-Engaged Students - Yeah, they exist at all levels. If you have a student that refuses to do the work, takes a test by answering all the same letter or just selecting anything because they just don't care. Sometimes you talk to the parents and they do what they can to help get the student on track, but sometimes you learn why the student is that way to begin with and get no help at all. Sometimes a teacher will learn that a student is withdrawn because of a bad home-life or having been abused. How is a teacher supposed to be held responsible for a student like that?

Homelessness and Poverty - Some students are foster kids, living with a relative or even living at a shelter and you wont know it. They are unable to easily do their homework or have bigger things to worry about than school. There are more than 30k of these kids just in Washington state. These kids are going through a lot, and may not know where they are sleeping tonight, so excuse them if their first priority is not getting a good grade on a test. Again, I ask if this is the responsibility of a teacher?

I think that this could go on and on, the point is that there are a lot of reasons that students don't do well in class or at school. Tying a teacher's salary to how well students do on test or other performance evaluations is simply stupid. 

Teaching for the Pay -  I don't think that there's a teacher that teaches for the great salary, so when you threaten to tie the little that they do get to how well their hugely diverse class of students does? It's understandable that they're reluctant to let you take more away from them. Especially when it's been more than 7 years here in Washington since they've had a raise. The only way to make more money is time in service and to gain a higher degree or become National Board Certified.

I often wonder why some people want to teach... my wife is a teacher and sometimes she wonders why she puts herself through it too. I've put in plenty of hours grading papers and helping my wife get other things for her class done. And so have our kids. Our kids have a respect for teachers that a lot of other kids and parents don't. I've heard the arguments that teachers get summers off and they have short work days... 

These kinds of comments are made by people that haven't spent a single day with or in a teachers shoes. They don't see that it takes 2 or 3 weeks to setup the classroom for the year, or an equal amount of time taking it down. How about the countless hours of after school cleaning and setting up for the next day, or paper grading and evaluations. How about the phone calls to the students parents and conferences, or report cards, they don't do themselves. What about the professional training that a teacher is required to take throughout the year and yeah even some in the summer? 

My wife is paid 7.5 hours a day for her professional salary. That's 37.5 hours a week, I've asked my wife to track a couple weeks to see what she actually works, but she refuses to do it. She doesn't want to know, it'd be depressing. But I can tell you that she works MUCH more than that. And don't forget that my kids and I are putting in lots of hours helping out that we get nothing for. Summers off, thats a joke, it only makes up for all the late nights during the year, and nearly every night is a late night. 

If you think that teachers have it easy, I challenge you to help your teacher out for a week, or even a day. And I mean a full week or day from start to finish. See if you still think that its easy and something that you would want to do. I already know that its not something that I would want to do.

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