Sarah's Scribbles

The Year of Months

Florida Senate Bill 6 = Idiocy

I interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to bring you some breaking news: The Republicans in the Florida House are idiots. Just to be clear, I am a political moderate who usually votes to the right of center. But passing Senate Bill 6 is nothing short of idiotic.

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.
On the surface, this sounds kinda good doesn't it? The teachers get paid more if students do better on tests. What could be wrong with that?

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.

4 comments:

Already in Florida, the letter grade of the school is based on FCAT scores, and that determines school budget. Also, principals at F schools are moved out and not given time to improve the school, and A school principals are moved to the F schools to improve them instead of continuous improvement at their current school.

I've heard that teachers will get kids to take the tests for the students that would normally get lower scores in order to raise the letter grade of the school.

If teacher pay is based only on these test scores, then more fraudulent practices like that will occur.

Teaching kids how to pass a test does not equate to children learning anything.

I am reminded of the movie Stand and Deliver (the teacher who the story was based on just died recently). When he helped turn around those underachieving students, they were investigated because they administration thought the only way the kids could do well on the test was to cheat...

Craziness.

 

First, the language means that teachers will not get pay increases if students fail, not that their pay gets slashed from the base level. But really, that means cost of living raises are being determined by evil children.

Because you are right. Children (especially 5th grade up) and teens purposefully fail, purposefully play the Xbox instead of doing the science worksheet, purposefully LIE about what they are doing.

My mother is a teacher. Luckily, she will retire before 2012/2014 when said bill is to go into full effect. But she is not happy. Her principal, NOT HER, determined that kids fresh out of South America do not get ESOL. They get her instruction when they don't even know English. Her contract never required her to be bilingual. They have to take the test even if they show up on Day 1 of FCAT. Additionally, said principal got rid of ESE, meaning she gets an aide and other challenges, but *those stores still count* which makes me grate my teeth.

Further, there is concern that the language could affect whether school social workers or guidance counselors or lunch ladies get pay increases as well. Now that will definitely affect my sister, and she is already fearful of her job every year because of budget cuts. Hello...people screw up their children and they need MORE social workers to handle the caseload, not fewer.

Join Stop SB 6 on Facebook. They have lots of ideas for trying to get Crist to veto it .

 

Seriously? Why the hell are there still people in this world who think a standardized test score has any sort of merit?

I love how politicians make decisions like this having no experience in the classroom and most likely no background in education.

You know why? Because the people who SHOULD be making the decisions are actually IN THE CLASSROOM MAKING A DIFFERENCE!

Politicians need to go around talking to teachers and principals before making stupid decisions like this.

 

I like what Beth S. said so much that I want to quote it. but I don't know where.... haha.