Education is a complex system that involves the cumulative work of teachers, staff, mentors, family, friends, parents, and especially the students themselves. To treat it otherwise is to demonstrate a total lack of understanding as to how systems function and a complete disregard for the future of our children. Tying teacher compensation to the performance of individual students over a limited time frame completely ignores the role of past educators, parents, family support systems, external activities, and myriad other factors.
Continuously improving our educational system is important, but making teachers the scapegoat for our societal failings is pathetic. Those who engage in such behavior should pause and think about the appropriate role of educators in a global economy.
Standardized testing is just plain stupid. It does nothing to ensure children are well equipped for life in the 21st century. Basing our entire educational system on something of so little value is at best foolish and at worst fatal to our future. Critical thinking, problem solving, and applied creativity are the skills that will be in high demand. Teaching to the test so that everyone is average at everything makes no sense.
I have so much respect for my many friends and family members who have chosen the noble profession of teaching. Thank you for giving a damn about our children. We owe it to you to return the favor.