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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Junior G Wade Taylor IV (4) covers his face after a missed point during Texas A&Ms game against Arkansas on Feb. 20, 2024 at Reed Arena. (Jaime Rowe/The Battalion)
When it rains, it pours
February 24, 2024
Ali Camarillo (2) waiting to see if he got the out during Texas A&Ms game against UIW on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 at Olsen Field. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
Four for four
February 20, 2024
Dr. Weston Porter (top left) and researchers from the breast cancer lab. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Weston Porter)
New A&M research initiative provides cutting-edge cancer treatments
J.M. Wise, News Reporter • April 8, 2024

It has been 20 months since Michelle Pozzi, Ph.D, of Texas A&M’s Biochemistry and Biophysics department was diagnosed with cancer. However,...

Light Middleweight boxers Francis Cristal and Frank Chiu throw crosses during Farmers Fight Night on Thursday, April 4th, 2024, at Reed Arena.
‘One day there’s going to be a ring in the middle of Kyle Field’
Zoe May, Editor in Chief • April 11, 2024

“Throw the 1, follow with the 2!” “Keep your hands up!” “Tie him up!” It was the sixth fight of the night. The crowd was either...

Students, residents commemorates Eid Al-Fitr
Lasan Ukwatta Liyanage, Life & Arts Writer • April 11, 2024

This year's Eid Al-Fitr celebration, hosted by Texas A&M’s Muslim Student Association, or MSA, drew over 1,500 attendees on Wednesday,...

Student housing located right outside off campus boundaries on George Bush Drive. 
Guest Commentary: An open letter to City Hall
Ben Crockett, Guest Contributor • April 11, 2024

City Council, As representatives of the Texas Aggie Classes of 2024, 2025, 2026 and 2027, we write to you today to urge a reconsideration...

Performance-based pay not ideal for teachers

There has been much debate recently over whether or not teachers’ salaries should be partially based on their students’ progress in standardized tests. Many teachers are rightfully outraged by the idea that their incomes may be affected by standardized test scores and childrens’ opinions of their classes.
Currently, teacher salaries are based on experience and education. Though it may seem natural to base a salary increase on the performance of a given teacher, student grades may not be directly related to their teacher’s ability. This could hurt certain teachers more than others – regardless of their teaching ability – by giving an insufficient raise to some of them, and more than what is deserved to others.
“You have to be convinced that you can, in fact, measure the progress that students make in a year, and that you can fairly tie it to the teacher,” said Michael Allen of the Education Commission.
One of the main problems with the argument Allen presents and the proposal for teacher salary increase is whether the progress of the students really be measured accurately and effectively by the standardized tests now in place. While it may seem that standardized tests are efficient and a practical means for knowledge comparison, they are not particularly standardized from state to state, nor are they fair for students from lower income areas and schools.
If this new pay scale is indeed going to be set in place, the school districts and their locations need to be taken into account when the teachers are being observed and the final scores are being calculated.
If the teacher is in a lower income area, the test scores of their students may not, historically speaking, be as high as the scores of those students residing in more affluent school districts. One cannot help but wonder if the teachers who took on a challenge by trying to bring quality education to a poorer area are going to be penalized for doing so. If teachers’ pay is based on student performance, this scenario seems feasible.
If that is the case, teachers will not want to work in these specific regions, knowing that their pay will be significantly less than it would be in other areas. It will then become even harder to staff these districts, which only hurts the children in these areas in the end.
The National Education Association, the country’s largest teachers’ union, does not support tying teacher pay to student scores, said Tom Blanford, associate director for teacher quality. Such a plan could ignore the kind of performance that doesn’t show up in test scores, such as a teacher who prevents a child from dropping out or one who inspires excellence in poetry.
With the teachers’ increase in pay being primarily based on test scores, it would give them no reason to interact with the students in any other way than to just cram basic material into their heads in preparation for a standardized test. This is not the type of education that is helpful for children in schools now and in the future. The teacher who is able to reach the child, and unlock his or her imagination or a dream is more worthy of a pay raise than one who can make students retain point-specific information.
On the other side of the argument is the idea that many other professions are in the same boat as teachers, and their pay is based solely on their performance.
“Lawyers do it, engineers do it, business people do it,” said Louis Gerstner Jr., the Teaching Commission chairman. “All professional people ultimately come up with methodology to judge the difference between great performance and mediocre performance. Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean we can’t do it.”
Although Gerstner makes a point for pay-based performance, judging such performance and the pay that would accompany it would be subjective and arbitrary.
According to the Teacher Quality Bulletin, a survey done by Public Agenda found that 51 percent of parents want teachers in their district to receive monetary rewards if their students consistently perform well on the tests.
Would the parents also want the teachers’ pay to be docked if their students did not perform on a standardized test at a level that they chose?
It comes down to the fact that if the students put forth a sufficient amount of effort, their teachers would receive a raise at the end of the year because, in theory, the students will then do well on their standardized test and demonstrate the ability of the teachers at their school. But even if the students do score well, and the teacher is able to get a raise, there really is much more to rating a “quality” teacher than a few standardized test scores, and that should be taken into consideration.

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