Monday, January 18, 2016

Just when you thought using tests couldn't get any dumber...

Sometimes states do things that are just so stupid; I need to start with a disclaimer.   I am not making this up.
Most readers of this blog know I am no fan of unions, but they do occasionally get it right. 

Florida, not known for its great education program has put 44 million dollars in its budget to create a bonus program for its teachers.  The stupidity comes next.  Education Week ranks Florida 37th and a grade of C in the category of a student’s chance for success in learning.  The system decided to earmark some money for teacher bonuses to reward great teaching. Maybe even improve outcomes.   OK, so far so good.

Bonuses will be awarded based on the teacher effectiveness ratings, which include the test scores of students being taught.  Here comes the craziness.  Also thrown into the mix are the ACT and /or SAT scores of the teachers themselves.  For some of the more experienced teachers these scores could be DECADES old.   Many teachers had a hard time accessing the scores. 

In the union’s complaint with the U.S. Employment Opportunity Commission and the Florida Commission on Human Rights, the union alleged that the program discriminated against older teachers who might not be able to find the scores and/or against teachers of color who historically do worse on standardized tests.  The union probably should have also mentioned it discriminated against teachers who were poorly educated in Florida themselves.

All of which is completely off the point.  Has anyone ever shown a correlation between “get into college” standardized tests and the ability to teach school?!  If Florida does not want teachers with low SAT and/or ACT test scores why were these people hired in the first place. 

Given Florida’s rankings in national rankings of public schools, there are lots more places the State can spend its money.  Perhaps Florida might want to go back even further and discover how many times current teachers were on the honor roll when THEY were students.   Can’t be too careful, all this stuff could wind up in your permanent record.

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