Mike Thomas of the Orlando Sentinel
Perhaps you leave out the most important piece of information from your article on purpose.
You stated; "And quality matters. You can give the same kids — even problem kids — different teachers and you get drastically different results." This is not exactly the truth. This is the same as saying I can write the exact same article as you have penned with the same information. Your ignorance and arrogance in this comment astounds me, an educator. I thought you had a clue as to the true aspect of what it takes to teach, yet it seems you do not.
"The proof is in the tests, which is why some merit pay would be based on them. Tests pinpoint weaknesses and reveal progress." Again, there is no proof in the tests. I work hard every day of the week, and I teach anybody the school sees fit, placing into my classroom. I do not choose who I get to teach, and when students stop trying, I do not get to ask them out, so that my scores seem better. My students come from all walks of life, and regardless of the day they have had prior to seeing me, I have to try and teach them. When the test arrives, and some of the students are 100% ready, they will pass.
Although I will agree that perhaps 5% of the teaching force is worthy of finding a new career, I do not believe that the blame is on the teachers. This is the same in any career field.
Unions also do a valid job in helping maintain a fair balance between school based administration, the county contract and the State Legislature.
I know you are aware of all this information, so I urge you to write a fair and productive article, which tells the truth. It is not the Unions who are at fault in the failure of students, and nor is it the teachers.
The problem is systemic and without a fair and just option of change, then nothing will happen.
The Republicans are asking to send students who are in an unfair situation, with vouchers, to a private school. Why? There is no accountability in a private school, and you are aware of that. So why send them to Private school. Teachers there are paid less, and do not need to be highly qualified. Why? My answer is that they graduate.
Florida graduated students last year, and 55% of them needed remediation in college. This is the fault of the system. Teachers are not allowed to let students fail. Parents refuse to believe their child is not good enough. This is not the teachers fault. Do your due diligence and call out the lawyers, and the lobbyists and the congress people who only care for statistics and numbers. As a system of education, we need to consider the importance of our future, and destroying a teachers credibility based on someone else taking a test is not a valid way. Teachers do no pick their students; we get to work with all students.
Teachers do a lot more than teach today, and I urge you to enter a classroom for a whole semester and learn to truly know the system before you write what you did today.
This is no way to treat the people who do work hard to educate the future congress people of tomorrow.