Feb 9, 2012

ARTICLE: Money and Scores

Michigan Education Funding: Gov. Rick Snyder's Budget Ties School Money To Test Scores 

"The education money would be divvied up based on district performance, not individual schools. Districts would get a share of the money if their third- through eighth-graders have shown a year's worth of learning in reading or math, or have acquired above-average knowledge in several subjects over a four-year period... 'Putting a fraction of that $1 billion back into schools doesn't fix the problems that such a massive cut caused last year. It only continues to enrich the corporate special interests who benefited from the $1.8 billion tax cut that the education cuts enabled,' Michigan Education Association President Steven Cook said in a statement."

To me, this illustrates three things. First, the decision-makers have no idea how to fix education. None. They make decisions based on their flawed theories and dice-rolls. Unfortunately, they're crippled by a lack of imagination, idiot advisers, or the inability to read--they truly believe that money is the answer. You're not doing well--we take money. You're doing well--we give money.

Second, if a teacher or school or district shows improvement or success, why do they need the money? If the money goes into the pockets of the teachers, I say, great. But it won't. This is highly disrespectful. Teachers and district, you're not doing very well, so we'll bribe you to do better. Your students won't find success because of your hard work or love of children or personal goals. It's going to take cold hard cash and greed.

Finally, I think low-performing schools need money. Not money that the teachers can waste on floor chairs, personal iPads, or incentives. They should hire more teachers or teacher assistants. Small classes would allow the teachers to spend more time with each student and  teacher assistants could handle the grunt work, allowing teachers to focus on teaching. They need the money now. I've worked at a low-performing school--how stupid of them to think that teachers are just horsing-around and need this kind of incentive to work harder.

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