A recent news story quoted President Obama as saying that we should offer “bad” teachers the help they need to become “good” teachers. [By the way, good teachers are defined as those whose students obtain high test scores.]
If those bad teachers don’t turn into good teachers–if the test scores don’t rise–well, then, our President says we should fire those bad ones. We should close down inadequate schools as well.
Oh, by the way, in the same article, President Obama says he wants to swell the ranks of teachers by 20,000 in the near future.
Does anyone see the irony here? The President wants to thin the ranks of teachers by eliminating those whose students don’t achieve high enough on the tests. Excuse me: does anyone see the illogic here? Who is TAKING tests? It’s students! Not teachers!
Already many teachers are modifying their instruction–to the detriment of students in many cases–to “teach to the test.” Many schools are truncating or eliminating PE and arts programs, electives, so that more time can be spent preparing for the tests.
Even when offered rich merit pay, teachers are not achieving different results than those who do not receive pay. And why?
TEACHERS are not taking these tests. STUDENTS are. In our little school, we didn’t make AYP because two students figured this out. They deliberately set out to do badly on the tests, and sure enough, they did. Thus was punished the whole school.
Of course, there are bad teachers in this world, but not very many, I think. Certainly high test scores do not a bad teacher make.
I would hope that those high in government can see the logical flaws in this punitive thinking and find a better way to imagine and plan for excellent education.