The Seattle Times published an unsigned editorial Tuesday making incorrect statements and accusing Representative Tomiko Santos of cowardice. Quite a load of rubbish for one editorial.
The corporate ed reform gang who support the discredited and failed policy of tethering teacher evaluations to standardized test scores (known as “performance pay” or “merit pay”) are apparently all in a tizzy because House Bill 1443 — reincarnated once again as HB 2111 — a mess of legislative sausage-making, is on the ropes. Teachers and parents and any intelligent person who reads the research (Vanderbilt University has conducted multiple studies on merit pay) and others realize that this is failed concept and its inaccurate “value-added” measures misjudges teachers and only leads to teaching to the test, cheating — as amply evidenced by Michelle Rhee’s reign of error in Washington D.C. — narrowing of curriculum (standardized tests only cover math and reading, so other subjects are dropped or de-emphasized), and hurts our kids.
I am a parent. I am not a teacher. I have no ties to the teacher’s union and I oppose performance and merit pay.
I oppose using budget induced RIFs as an excuse to address failing teachers — I want my kids’ principals to maintain a strong teaching force at all times, not just when there is a budget crisis. I believe we should reward teachers for their commitment to the profession, so I do not oppose seniority. I recognize that laying off the most recent hire during a fiscal crisis is not a policy that is unique to the teaching profession. It is applied in other fields as well. Yet the corporate ed reformers would have us all believe that “last in, first out” is some bizarre concept invented by the teacher’s union. It isn’t.
So Rep. Tomiko Santos and all the other legislators the Times calls out — Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane and House Speaker Frank Chopp, D-Seattle — should hang tough against the bullying anonymous editorial writers of the Seattle Times, and the giant wallets of the Gates Foundation and Broad Foundation whose merit pay, anti-seniority, union-bashing, and kid-harming policies do not belong in our state laws.
Read the research. Vanderbilt University and other major studies show that performance pay does not improve student or teaching outcomes. Washington DC and Atlanta, GA — centers of cheating, the predictable human reaction to high-stakes testing. When a teacher is told that a student test score will put your job on the line — no matter what else you do for that child as a teacher — what message does that send?
The Times is wrong in implying that the unions alone oppose this seriously flawed bill. Representative Tomiko Santos and the others are also hearing from parents.
It is a common line from the corporate ed reformers to demonize the teachers’ union and declare that “standing up” to it is somehow a mark of courage. This conveniently makes those who attack the union feel like some kind of brave warrior of ed reform. Arguably it takes more courage to stand up against the slings and arrows of anonymous newspaper editorial writers or the clout and influence of billionaires like Gates and Broad and their posse.
Apparently it takes a lot of courage in this country right now to simply stand up for teachers.
And apparently, it takes courage to listen to parents.
These ed reforms are also opposed by parents who realize where they lead. These reforms are bad for teaching, bad for learning, bad for our kids.
Any conscientious lawmaker would read the real research, talk to parents — not lobbyists and foundation-funded Astroturf groups — and vote accordingly.
Rep. Santos should stand by her principles and vote NO to HB 1443/2111 or whatever it’s been rehashed into today.