Teacher Bonuses and Test Scores in K-12 Schools
It’s always been a struggle on how to improve students test score and grades and how to effectively create incentives for teachers to really work and try their best to help the students. You would think, this is their job, shouldn’t they already want to help the students get better score on tests and in class? The sad thing is, most teachers that go into the teaching profession aren’t effective teachers and they aren’t taught how to be effective teachers. They are merely taught about the subject they are learning in college and aren’t taught “how” to effectively teach.
School officials and the government wave been trying to figure out a way to “bribe” the teachers to get the students to do better on tests and in school. One way they thought would give the teachers incentive was to offer a $15,000 dollar bonus per year is the teachers improved the test score of the students. On top of their salary they would get this large bonus if their class did better than the previous years on standardized test score. They did this test over a period of three years and found that it did not improve overall the students test scores by offering this bonus. In Georgia, this $15,000 dollar incentive to teachers was not passed through as a stable bonus because it didn’t show significant improvement. The only way to really get teachers teaching effectively is to put them through training courses and teach them how to do that. If you tell someone to swim ten miles in the ocean and bribe them with money, of any amount, unless they have had the proper training, they wont be able to do it regardless of how much incentive they are given.
Other plans that were implemented to help boost student test scores were giving teachers merit pay. Instead of giving all teachers the same amount of money the teachers regular pay is based off how well their students score in the tests. This is lie a commission type of pay and it did not fly with the union. The union protects the teachers and a lot of programs the school or government try to test, the unions reject. It does seem fair to base a teacher pay based on how well they are teaching their students, its their job right? Instead, the union protects the teacher regardless if they are actually teaching our children and giving them a good start to life outside the educational system. The union protects teacher’s that have been in the system for a long time and protects them from being fired. If a teacher is at a school for a longtime, its doesn’t mean they are better teachers, sometime it can actually make them worse teachers because they get lazy and stop caring. Unfortunately they are protected and there is nothing that the schools can do. Its important for schools to also stop blaming the union for everything and blaming them for the restriction that they put on the schools. The schools also need to step up and start to offer and require mandatory trainings, classes and workshops for the teachers to help improve their skills and encourage them to step up.
Patricia Hawke is a staff writer for Schools K-12, providing free, in-depth reports on all U.S. public and private K-12 schools. For more information please visit Georgia School Ratings and Public Schools