Thursday, October 16, 2008

My Big Education Idea

As I watch my DVRed version of the 3rd and final presidential debate, I'm coming up with a fantastic idea regarding encouraging success in students and rewarding great teachers. As I think back to my school days, or at least to the days on which I chose to attend, I recall a great deal of apathy from my teachers toward their jobs. I don't think that many of them were there for success. I think that most of them were just there.

McCain and Obama both talked about rewarding good teachers but they didn't really specify how, which makes me believe that neither of them have really been able to outline that detail. Almost every business of which I'm aware revolves around a bottom line of numbers. Guidelines, plans, and mission statements are all fine and dandy, but everything leads to the objective and measurable bottom line. So what is the bottom line for teachers? How can one quantify a "good job" done by a teacher? To me, the end result of a good teacher is the acquired knowledge and understanding of his or her students. Knowledge and understanding is fairly easy to quantify through use of standardized testing.

So here's the solution: Base salaries and raises for math teachers off of the standardized testing scores of their students, and English teachers in turn, and science teachers in turn, etc.

This is a plan that I'm sure most teachers will despise. It's often hard for individuals to accept accountability where it has previously been absent. But I guarantee that a plan that structures teachers' pay based on performance will throw us to the front of the pack on education and will ensure the success of our students.

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Fort Smith, Arkansas
...just narcissistic enough to own a blog.