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All Things Being Equal
As a progressive minded educator there are many changes in education that I hope come to pass–making creativity the core around which all subjects revolve; a restructuring of the school day and year; variable credit systems in high schools; the elimination of all standardized testing; the elimination of all No Child Left Behind mandates; and most of all a completely new way to train, hire, evaluate and reward teachers.
I would like to see traditional teacher training programs scrapped for new and innovative “performance” training. Teaching is, after all, a performance art, not a spectator sport. Additionally, instead of a traditional interview, teachers should be given “auditions”–show what you can do, demonstrate how you get your students engaged, motivate the interviewer to want to learn!
Evaluations should include feedback from students–they are, after all, our “clients.” Lastly, the best of us should be paid more than the worst of us. Equal pay for all educators no matter how stellar or substandard is about as antiquated as inkwells. Merit pay based on student test performance, however, is suspect. What happens to teachers, like those of us in the arts, whose discipline is not included on any standardized test? What happens to electives when schools start focusing only on core academic subjects to hike up test scores? I ‘d rather see merit pay based on exemplary teacher and student performance measured from a yearly baseline of various forms of data and not linked to any test scores.