If you live in Texas, no doubt you have heard a new commercial aired on televisions. It’s a rather suspicious ad that starts out with “Experts are now calling the high school dropout rate in Texas a crisis . . .“ It announces the fact that Texas legislators “now considering a bill that will give Texas teachers the training incentives and tools to keep our kids in schools”. If finishes by urging viewers to “Take a stand” and to contact “Texans for Excellence in Classrooms”.
I’ll bite. What bill are we talking about?
So I went to the website and looked around. No bill mentioned. But the group seems to be behind a report called Excellence in the Classroom authored by “The Governor’s Business Council”.
So I started reading the report and came to a halt on the 3rd paragraph . . . uh oh. “Pay for performance and differentiated pay for teachers will now be utilized more in Texas than in any other state.”
So I browsed through their research and reports and got angrier and angrier. They decried the fact that fewer and fewer college graduates are electing to go into education, and proposed raising the starting salaries of new teachers. Where do they get the money to do this? Do away with the old salary schedules, and stop paying teachers based on their years of experience and level of education. Their studies show that while new teachers are not effective, they undergo about 5 years of continuous improvement. After 5 years they level off, and toward retirement, even decline in effectiveness. So they want a system in place that rewards highly effective teachers and punishes ineffective teachers.
The reports liken the current pay schedules to that of pay schedules from union negotiations. And we all know that unions are bad.
So what we are going to have thrust down our throats is pay for performance, and that performance will be based on, you guessed it, student achievement on standardized tests.
Pay for performance works well in the private sector. I’ve been there, I know. But these people have spent zero time in the public sector where it’s just different.
Guaranteed, all this will do is drive effective teachers to other states or into other lines of work.