A reader sent me a link to this petition from parents in the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. The parents oppose the use of test scores to determine teacher pay, saying the scores are an unreliable and unfair measure of teacher performance and the practice will only increase testing and test prep in the schools.
The parents belong to a group called Mecklenburg Acts. The name stands for Mecklenburg Area Coming Together for Schools.
I thought this was interesting as most of the criticisms of teacher accountability models that incorporate student test scores have been coming from within the profession. I have seen few organized parents groups take an official position.
Here is the petition:
We oppose the use of standardized test scores as an integral part of any teacher pay system developed by Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools (CMS).
The last thing we want for our children is more standardized tests and more pressure surrounding these tests. If test scores figure into even part of a salary scale, the number of standardized tests, the time spent on test preparation and the anxiety that surrounds test taking will dramatically increase. This will not be good for schools or children.
In addition, the tremendous variation among students, classrooms, and schools makes it impossible for test results to fairly assess all teachers, even with the creation of value-added scores. Instead of fostering the creativity and cooperation that builds great schools, the use of test scores in salaries is far more likely to fuel competition and resentment.
Rather than attracting top talent to our schools, this strategy will drive both teachers and families away from CMS.
Qualitative assessments of teacher performance take more time and require more administrative fortitude, but will prove more effective in the end. We need to treat our teachers like the multifaceted professionals they are.
This does not mean that test scores should not be used in certain narrowly targeted situations, such as to reward teachers who show exceptional success in bringing up below-grade readers or to dismiss teachers whose students consistently fail to show acceptable progress. But test scores should play no role in across-the-board role pay calculations.
We call on the CMS board and staff to stop wasting time and money on a strategy that is not supported by parents and is likely to damage rather than improve our children’s education. Remove standardized test scores from pay for performance calculations.
Petition sponsored by Mecklenburg ACTS, an affiliate of Parents Across America.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog