So many factors go into a good education. In recent years, the light shed on what is needed is like a giant flood light that points out EVERY fault in the system – ALL OF THEM! Teachers! Parents! Community! Poverty! Hunger! and On and On….Let’s take it’s the teachers – so let’s make the teachers better. There is no doubt that great instruction is paramount to students getting a good education. How can we expect them to do this without guidance and facilitators?
So then, the battle over “pay for performance” ensues. I think few understand this process. It is assumed this is an extrinsic reward for a job well done. A cookie for a right answer. That is not true pay for performance. This system has an intricate rubric of measurements for teacher evaluation. There are numerous observations and then mentorships and professional development for instructional improvement. It is not, ” You are bad so forget it.” Teachers who want to work hard, who have passion to educate kids and are willing to put int the time and think a bit out of the box and get out of the old “this is the way we do it” are welcome. They can be young or experienced. The object is to rethink the way things are presented in the classroom so that a logical sequence that is fairly simple, focusing on instruction, modeled then guided, and assessed in a formative and summative process, is first-rate.
The problem is that often curriculum and the way it is implemented is haphazard rather than guaranteed, viable and attainable. Students need to know that what they get at any school from any teacher will be the same and enable them to move ahead and that they will be prepared to do this. Yes, we need to get creative and add imagination to the way curriculum is implemented and the way knowledge attained is assessed, but first things first. Let’s get the “what you need to know and be able to do” right. And let’s get the teachers to be specific and organized about how they implement.
Money and funding continues to be a problem. I think a good plan, such as in business, will warrant support from the government and community. Everyone is talking about it. Politicians and other community leaders daily tout the need for a great education. We all have to work together to make this happen. Many under performing schools with many at-risk students are still in need of help. Can’t we collaborate to make replicable programs to make this happen? Share? Is that too much involvement through government?
Let’s get this done. It is getting better in places. Teacher merit pay programs are helping-go ahead blast me-but it will work if you realize what “Pay for Performance” really is.