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Teacher merit pay bill heads to Daniels' desk

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A bill linking teacher pay with student performance has won final legislative approval and now heads to Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels for his signature.

The Senate voted 36-13 Monday for the merit pay bill, which is part of Daniels' expansive education agenda. Under the bill, teachers would be evaluated annually. Only those in the top two of four evaluation categories would be eligible for certain pay raises. Local districts would create their own evaluations, but would have to include objective measures of student achievement, such as test scores.

Districts wouldn't be able to place a student for two years in a row with teachers rated in the lowest category without notifying parents.

Supporters say it's right to reward the best teachers, while opponents say teachers aren't in the profession for the money.

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  • It's not a business
    As a teacher for the last 11 years, no doubt reform is needed. But until PARENTS are tied to the same exacting standards as teachers, this is bound to fail. Start tying kids test scores to their parents income and see how much they improve.
  • Um, and teaching to a standardized test is
    BAD? When that test measures exactly what will be needed as the student enters the workforce in a few years? That's the problem NOW - teachers do "touchy-feely" instead of the three "R"s... So, I say - SIGN THE BILL, MITCH!
  • About Time!!!!
    It's about time someone has the guts to try to make significant and positive changes in our Public Education system. Way to long for the Status Quo. This isn't about lowering salaries for the good educators. It's about rewarding those who deserve to be rewarded and not rewarding those who should find another profession.
  • Teacher Pay Tied to Student Test Scores
    The whole point of tying teacher salaries to student performance is to lower the cost of teachers to the state. Mitch must look at the teacher tab and throw up. So set up a system that teachers can't win and start paying them half what they make now, both good and bad teachers. It's so obvious.
  • Variables
    I tend to agree with Scott. As children learn differently and at different rates so do they test differently. There are so many variables it is hard to come up with an evaluation system fair to all teachers, but we must start somewhere. If teachers aren't in the teaching profession for the money, lets see if they are willing to teach for minimum wage. (That will be the day...)
  • Good intent, but...
    I like the intent of this bill to get teachers to focus on their skills as educators; however, using a standardized test as one of the forms of evaluation just sets the system up for failure. As other commenters have noted, a student can do bad on standardized tests for any number of reasons that have nothing to do with the teacher. There are better ways to evaluate teachers objectively than using a 20-year old test that measures little more than whether the teacher taught those subjects during the year.

    This issue really brings a much greater issue to light: are we even teaching the things that kids need to be learning? Measuring teachers by a standardized test that tests on irrelevant material just exacerbates the problem. Instead of teachers using creative energy to come up with unique lesson plans that teach fresh material, they'll instead focus creative energy on how to game the system to make sure their students get high test scores (including changing test answers after students have turned in their answer sheet).
  • It means...
    ...that little Tommy, who gang-bangs and gets wasted with his friends because Mom and Dad are too busy watching Jerry Springer and spending their welfare checks on meth to worry about teaching him right from wrong, will now cause teachers who are not allowed to discipline him not to get a pay raise when he fails the ISTEP because he was high on test day.
  • More lazy big govt lege
    So now the teacher is at fault if the kid didn't have breakfast or has a cold on test day? If the kid can't focus because of home or social issues? Or if the kid just doesn't test well? As usual, Republicans are looking for the easy scapegoat instead of a creative solution to a complex problem.
  • Brent You Rock!
    I have been saying it for years-these tests do not show the intelligence of a student. These standardized tests do not and are not flexible with the many different ways a child learns and comprehends the material and most of the time the whole school year seems to cater to these tests so the kids are learning to take a test not learning what they need.
  • Disastrous
    A test score should not predict how intelligent a kid is or how well he is doing in a class. Nor should it be the determining factor of pay for a teacher. Our government is slowly but surely creeping into our homes and dictating our lives. I would hate to be a teacher right now. Whatever happened to the responsibility of the kid ? I'm sure many of grew up sitting in a class where the teacher was absolutely boring ! However, we sat our butts down in a seat and dealt with it. Does that make them any less of a teacher or less effective ? Every teacher can't be teacher of the year or incredibly engaging. Much like sports, not everyone is an allstar or mvp, but they all play a role. This is going to be a disaster !
    • Big Mistake
      Yes teachers will teach to the test and this is a big mistake. Who is going to want to teach the low achievers?
    • ISTEP
      So let me understand. If a teacher is in charge of the ISTEP tests and her ability to get a raise is based on the performace of that test. Doesn't that mean she will concentrate on the area of ISTEP or equivelent so she will be sure the students do well. And let other parts of the education fail.

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      1. These liberals are out of control. They want to drive our economy into the ground and double and triple our electric bills. Sierra Club, stay out of Indy!

      2. These activist liberal judges have gotten out of control. Thankfully we have a sensible supreme court that overturns their absurd rulings!

      3. Maybe they shouldn't be throwing money at the IRL or whatever they call it now. Probably should save that money for actual operations.

      4. For you central Indiana folks that don't know what a good pizza is, Aurelio's will take care of that. There are some good pizza places in central Indiana but nothing like this!!!

      5. I am troubled with this whole string of comments as I am not sure anyone pointed out that many of the "high paying" positions have been eliminated identified by asterisks as of fiscal year 2012. That indicates to me that the hospitals are making responsible yet difficult decisions and eliminating heavy paying positions. To make this more problematic, we have created a society of "entitlement" where individuals believe they should receive free services at no cost to them. I have yet to get a house repair done at no cost nor have I taken my car that is out of warranty for repair for free repair expecting the government to pay for it even though it is the second largest investment one makes in their life besides purchasing a home. Yet, we continue to hear verbal and aggressive abuse from the consumer who expects free services and have to reward them as a result of HCAHPS surveys which we have no influence over as it is 3rd party required by CMS. Peel the onion and get to the root of the problem...you will find that society has created the problem and our current political landscape and not the people who were fortunate to lead healthcare in the right direction before becoming distorted. As a side note, I had a friend sit in an ED in Canada for nearly two days prior to being evaluated and then finally...3 months later got a CT of the head. You pay for what you get...

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