The Daily Gamecock

Grade-based teacher salary system unfair

Marks not determinant of teaching quality


For educators, No Child Left Behind might as well be “The Law That Must Not Be Named,” and for good reason. Because of it, standardized test scores became the sole judge of a school’s well-being. Thousands of teachers have lamented its ineffectiveness and shown how it forces teachers to “teach for the test,” thereby favoring regurgitation of facts instead of critical thinking and comprehension.

Bypassing the congressional gridlock, President Barack Obama has allowed states to request waivers to the largely opposed NCLB standards, so it was with a sigh of relief that many South Carolina teachers discovered State Education Superintendent Mick Zais sent one such request to the U.S. Department of Education.

This sigh of relief became a gasp of horror as teachers discovered that the request included a proposal to grade teachers using student performance, and then basing a teacher’s pay and employment on the grade. 

There are truly bad teachers and truly good teachers, and it’s important to reward or chastise them accordingly. Holding teachers solely accountable for a student’s performance, though, without considering environmental factors or a student’s natural interest to learn, is not the way to go.

While many think running schools like a business will make them more efficient, it is important to remember that efficiency is often created through quick and cheap methods taking precedence over quality. With the minds of future generations at stake, the last thing our schools need to be is quick and cheap.