So says our new Iowa Department of Education Director, Jason Glass (@jasonglassbfk), who recently wrote on his blog:
We need to do whatever we can to introduce more risk-taking, experimentation, and use of technology in schools. We should expect some failures, applaud those who fail in pursuit of bold dreams, and help them get up to try again.Our schools are in trouble, and we need to do a better job of preparing students for their futures. I'm not opposed to performance pay for teachers. I'm opposed to the simplistic idea that we can measure teacher performance based largely on students' standardized test scores. That's how the general public and too many politicians seem to interpret it. Doing so completely ignores the realities of socioeconomic and demographic disparities between schools, not to mention individual motivational factors. What incentivises students (or their families) to perform well on those standardized tests? What incentivises a good teacher to work in an inner-city, impoverished, or otherwise struggling school?
Tying salaries to arbitrary test scores will encourage teachers to focus less on children and more on tests. Let's come up with more sophisticated and accurate ways to measure how well teachers teach and students learn.