Tying teacher pay to student performance has some appeal. A bill that would directly tie the two through creation of a statewide evaluation system, however, stalled in the state House.
It is an intriguing concept, one that actually mirrors a rather standard business model in which executives are paid based on the company's performance; i.e., bottom line results.
Michelle Rhee, who served as the District of Columbia schools chancellor and is the founder of Students First, with a chapter in the Palmetto State, is pushing for the system. She said tying students' progress to teachers' evaluations is a win-win in that students succeed under teachers who are highly effective and are, in turn, compensated based on their effectiveness.
Again, an intriguing concept. The bill faced immediate opposition from teacher advocacy groups who argue there are already teacher performance evaluation programs being tested in the state. They make a good point.
There is one other point, however, that needs to be made. How effective can teachers be when they are saddled by written and unwritten rules? Some of those rules — and they are applied right here in the Lakelands — make it extremely difficult for teachers to do much more than pass some students along to the next poor soul's classroom. A pay-for-performance system of any sort is probably doomed when it comes without administrative support to fail students when a failing grade is warranted, without the support to truly discipline unruly and disruptive students who do nothing but pull down the teacher's ability to teach and fellow students' ability to learn.
FOR MORE SEE TODAY'S INDEX-JOURNAL