Thursday, November 03, 2005

Gov. Perry's Latest Education Ruling By Fiat

While Gov. Perry's task force continues to do nothing. In am attempt to make it look like he's doing something he throws some scraps to a few teachers. This article, Teachers in high-achieving poor schools to get pay raise from the El Paso Times has reaction from some local teachers:
El Paso schools serve a large number of economically disadvantaged students and would probably stand to gain from Perry's program.

But local teachers said a better plan would be to raise teacher pay across the board. A recent study, which did not consider cost of living, ranked Texas teachers 30th in pay nationally.

Yolanda Nieto, who teaches first grade at Robert R. Rojas Elementary School, said rewarding teachers based on student performance doesn't consider the diverse and usually unevenly distributed challenges teachers face.

"Sometimes as hard as you work, it's just with the classes you seem to get, it does not work out the way you hope," she said.

Tate said that if standardized test scores are used as the basis for merit pay, the high-stakes nature of the exams will increase and could push some teachers to cheat.

"I don't think it's a good idea at all," she said.
I've heard this exact same thing from teachers. The incentive system for teachers based on standardized test results is not what a teacher's performance should be based on. Here is another problem from standardized testing, Some see TAKS as failing gifted kids:
Since President Bush's federal education law took hold of American schools five years ago, educators have been forced to focus on those students most likely to fall through the cracks.

So the casualties of emphasis on standardized testing may be the best and brightest students, advocates for high-achieving students say.
Keep in mind that Gov. Perry's latest executive order does nothing to address the issue of overall teacher pay in Texas being way too low. All it does is make him look like he's doing something and is it legal?
While some experts doubt whether the governor has authority to implement new education programs and state requirements on his own, no one has challenged his first order in court.

Teacher organizations, however, said Mr. Perry is on thin ice with his latest action.

"By dictating that the Texas Education Agency must create a merit pay plan for teachers, the governor has once against chosen to ignore the will of the Legislature and impose his whim on the public schools of Texas," said Donna New Haschke, president of the Texas State Teachers Association.
Here is what Chris Bell had to day, Statement by Chris Bell on Teacher Incentive Proposal:
"“All teachers need an incentive to stay in classrooms, whether they are in poor, rich or middle-class neighborhoods. Rick Perry has been ignoring a legitimate crisis in teacher retention for five years, and this gimmick would do little to address that. Six out of every 10 teachers quit the profession within the first five years on the job and consequently, we have more certified teachers no longer in the profession than we have in the classrooms. We can’t treat teachers like glorified test monitors and pay them accordingly if we want to have any hope of keeping teachers in classrooms. We need to bring all teachers up to the national average, put them in charge of their own classrooms, and then we might see some different results."

Ohter reactions:
Statesman, Perry orders pay boost for some teachers (supposed liberal paper left out reaction from Democratic candidate for governor).
The Dallas Morning News, Perry creates merit pay plan for teachersb
Chronicle, Gov. Perry institutes teacher merit pay
Express News, Perry slots $10 million for teachers
Burnt Orange Report, Perry Issues Executive Order on Teacher Pay


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