Mr. Benjamin left the Delegate Assembly early this evening. I left before motions were even voted upon.
I am pleased that 25/55 has been approved (pending NYS legislative and executive approval).
I am NOT pleased with the ridiculous agreement that cash incentives (merit pay) be offered to "high needs" schools. Yes, I know the arguments - merit pay will become a reality in some form given the current reauthorization act.
But really, as a "union" that states that it objects to NCLB, all we have done is dangle a carrot in front of the faces of teachers with the bizarre hope that it will increase student scores, decrease school closings, and attract teachers to schools in danger of persistent failure.
Teachers are done teaching to the test. The effort, stress, and strain of these ludicrous assessments has taxed the best and brightest teachers and students. And the emotional toll that it has taken on students with disabilities and English language learners is unconscionable. Good lord, how will these schools' faculties behave when these monetary incentives are offered?
I think the ultimate insult came from a "delegate" claiming that those of "us" at the assembly who were opposed to the measure were "short sighted." I let out a "BOO!" I'm not that kind of person at public gatherings to be vocal in an unprofessional manner, but NCLB is a train wreck. And the inability of the educational unions to force meaningful change to NCLB is wholly unforgivable.
Please. Are we a "Union of Professionals?" Or just money-hungry thugs implicitly furthering the damaging effects of unnecessary and excessive testing.
My school closed due to poor performance. No amount of "here's a reward, you're a good doogie" money would have altered its course of persistent failure. It would, however, throw the school's faculty into a monotonous and daily routine of test prep to children. That's NOT teaching.
Moreover, teachers that DO work in difficult schools, yet manage to keep scores high, will never be the beneficiaries of such a reward. Nonsense!
Rant over. Either re-haul NCLB in a manner that is acceptable to education "professionals" (Yes! And with the money to fund it), or stand in opposition to it.
Okay, rant over. Really.