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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. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

      2. Boston.com has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2010/07/interactions_banks_63_million.html The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

      3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

      4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

      5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.

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