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Argument: Student performance does not demonstrate teacher performance

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Extended argument

"Pay for Performance" Illusion. If stockbrokers and corporate executives whose businesses are literally being bailed out by tax payers (including teachers) continue to get bonus pay in millions of dollars, it is hard to argue that performance and pay are correlative. Teachers who have classes with students who are academically apathetic, who do not receive support or academic guidance from home, whose attendance is erratic, who do not do their homework, must still teach and attempt to keep their students engaged when they are there (mentally and physically) as well as when they are not there. But for all "success" of the student to be gauged on the teacher's performance is like blaming a wife whose husband has been having an affair for the failure of the marriage. Education of a child involves multiple factors. By the time a student is in high school, it is very difficult to turn around undisciplined behavior patterns or work with students who are unwilling to meet the teacher half-way. This is a portrait of many of the "failing" schools. I know that I teach Advanced Placement Literature classes where students are highly motivated, and I teach classes where students are significantly less motivated. I work just as hard for each class. I attempt daily to keep those who almost have to be seduced to learn in the game. I would like to add that many of my best and brightest students do not perform well in timed writings. Brilliant writers require time and re-drafting. Hemingway did not write with someone glancing at a clock and saying "begin." There are a multitude of intelligences, and testing as a reflection of the teacher's "merit" or "effort" is as irrelevant a measure of a person as looking at someone in a more expensive car and assuming "there goes a good man."

Supporting quotations

"Top Ten Reasons Why Merit Pay for Teachers Is a Terrible Idea". Education Portal. July 10th, 2007: "There are several problems with basing how much a teacher should make on student performance. The most important: there are too many other variables besides teacher effort that determine an individual's and a class' performance."

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