For those who aren't familiar with the bill, here are the highlights:
- Teacher pay will be based on students' scores on standardized tests.
- When considering pay, silly little things like experience, advanced degrees and certifications will not be taken into account.
- New teachers will only receive one-year contracts with renewal hinging on student test scores.
Well, for one, how would you like it if you didn't know what your salary was going to be next year? If you didn't know whether or not you'll be able to pay that mortgage payment anymore? Sure, none of us know for sure but you usually have a determined salary. And if you knew you could get a more steady salary if you just moved to another state?
Also, what motivation would you have for pursuing a higher-level degree - for increasing your knowledge in your area of expertise - if it had no effect on your job position or salary? Hmmm, probably NONE.
Second, most students don't have anything invested in these test scores. If students don't like a teacher because they are strict or give a lot of homework, they can purposely fail the test with the intent of effecting the teacher's pay (or to get said teacher fired). It's already happening at a local high school that uses test scores to determine teacher bonuses. Don't tell me it won't happen; I don't know if y'all remember high school or not, but kids are mean.
Another complication one of my teacher friends pointed out to me is this: some of these tests also determine what level of class the child will be in the following year. This teacher once had an entire class purposely fail a test because they didn't want to take the "advanced" track. How is that the teacher's fault?
This bill holds teachers responsible for so many factors completely out of their control. Say there's a 16 year old boy who has to work 40 hours a week at Publix to help support his family. He doesn't have time for homework or to study so he doesn't do well on the tests. Is this the teacher's fault?
This is just another instance of people trying to hold schools/TV/video games/the church/whatever responsible for raising their children. (The link will take you to an Onion article, which is only funny because it's TRUE)
If (currently undecided) Governor Crist signs this bill into law, don't be surprised when all our experienced teachers leave the state in droves. If you have kids in public school in Florida, you should probably follow them.
Please contact Governor Crist to let him know how you feel about Senate Bill 6. I'm upset about it and I don't even plan to have any children any time soon.