I can't believe this. State Senator John Thrasher of St. Augustine is pushing a couple of bills through the state senate about schools and teaching. One of the bills links teacher salaries to student scores on a standardized test. Another bill takes away teacher tenure based upon experience. Teachers will be on annual contracts and will only receive continuing contracts if their students excel on this standardized test.
Let me point out a couple of things. While on the surface these bills make sense if you think about it a moment the flaws are apparent. In my teaching blog I kept harping about pressure being placed upon teachers to "teach for the test". What do you think this is going to do to finish driving them in that direction? A teacher would be crazy to not teach for the test if this passes. Their job will depend upon it. True education and creative teaching will be a thing of the past. Another thing is the potential for abuse of this by principals and superintendents. I have already talked about the pressure placed upon me by my old principal Brennan Asplen of Bartram Trail High School when I dared to say anything contrary to the party line. Imagine the pressure he could bring to bear upon teachers like me if their job depends upon a standardized test! Just change the teaching assignment and give that teacher poor classes and they will be certain to fail and be kicked out. It really frightens me to think that someone would have that amount of power over the lives of people they control, able to wipe out their lives on a whim just because the teacher doesn't always strive to make the principal look good. Under those circumstances I can't blame teachers if they all acted like sheep and blandly followed whatever lead the principal dictated.
The Bartram teachers already had been told about this proposed legislation. Could that have anything to do with why they suddenly cut off all communication with me?
I would also like to point out that Thrasher is good buddies with our superintendent
Joseph Joyner, the same guy who was behind the pressure for me to not say anything negative about the school system's policies in my blog. What would the passing of these laws do to increase the power of people like Joyner to coerce people into his "image is everything" model of education? Frankly I think it would mean the end of true learning. All the teachers would simply become shills (many already are to a great degree) who struggle daily to make the administration look good by having students excel on one silly test at the expense of true learning. Scary, isn't it?