The Oct. 9 article by Dr. Marcus Winters of the University of Colorado, “Just rewards for teachers,” is a good example of the saying “Figures don’t lie, but liars figure.”
Winters, who holds a doctorate in economics and a bachelor’s degree in political science, not education, argues that teacher pay should be assessed based on student performance, since “the ubiquity of standardized testing in public schools, coupled with modern statistical techniques, has provided us the necessary tools to do this.”
Really? Is student performance truly the result of teacher performance?
Let us take a look at Southeast High School. Many students at that school do poorly on the FCAT. Southeast is a Title I school. That means many students — the majority of the student body, actually — come from impoverished homes as evidenced by the high percentage of students receiving free and reduced lunches. Many speak a language other than English at home.
Yet recently Southeast students exhibited the best SAT scores in this school district. How can that be?
Arguably, failing students and excelling students have the same teachers. Could it be that student performance is correlated to intelligence? Southeast also has the highest number of gifted students.
Remember what Forest Gump’s mom had to go through to keep him in school? His IQ was 85. Presently, an IQ below 70 is required by Social Security to receive assistance.
Yet in Manatee County, many students with measured IQs below 70 are in regular classes taking the FCAT, which is statistically virtually impossible for them to pass. These students perform lower than one percent of the general population. Nevertheless, teachers are expected to get them to pass standards made for the majority of students.
How fair is it to assess these teachers’ pay on their student performance? What about those teachers who teach gifted and remedial students?
Annette Maddox, Ed.D.