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Wrong to reward good test scores

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I’m calling the Optic out on their misleading headline of last week, “Governor wants to reward good teachers.” She does not want to reward good teachers; she wants to reward good test scores. What the former district attorney (our Governor) and our never-been-a-teacher, for-profit-education-industry representative (our Secretary of Education) don’t understand is that a good teacher and a good data producer are two different things.

Good teachers inspire children. Good teachers sometimes let students take charge of their own learning, even if they stray from the “Common Core.”  

They let children build on their own knowledge, and provide opportunities for kids to experience the satisfaction of constructing their very own understanding of the world around them. To make this happen, teachers use a variety of venues, materials, subject matters and paths; not just reading and  math.

All good teachers are interested in student “achievement.” When a student who hasn’t done any homework for three years suddenly starts talking about and turning in the work he’s done and learned from, that’s achievement, but not measured by the corporate model.

When a student learns to deal with his anger and sadness without hurting himself or the people around him, that’s student achievement — but not measured by the corporate model. When a student takes a particular interest in a historical event, which spurns him to learn more about it, maybe watch a PBS Special on television instead of “Dancing with the Stars,” that’s achievement — but not measured by the corporate model of education reform.

When a student learns two languages and broadens her perspective and becomes a better citizen of the world, that’s student achievement — but not measured by the corporate model. These are all things good teachers facilitate every day in New Mexico and all over the United States.

Google the disaster that happened in Atlanta after they instituted the corporate reform, test-scores-are-everything model for public schools. Look up the now-recognized failure of the Jeb Bush model in Florida and Texas.  

Best of all, get a hold of a copy of the Frontline episode, “The Education of Michelle Rhee” and watch what happened in Washington, DC.

Good teachers should be rewarded, but not just for manipulating a statistic.  

There’s a difference.

David Chester