Merit Pay: Forget Learning… Just Start Learn’en’ Them More!


Welcome to a reflection based on the happenings in Florida and its dealings with merit pay and standardized testing. I have tried to present a little message I call “Forget Learning… Just Start Learn’en’ Them More!”.  Please take a moment to read and I encourage your reply and thoughts!  Remember, I also invite you to subscribe by email or RSS .  As always, please give a follow on twitter (@mjgormans) and I will return the favor. Check out the video link  provided at the bottom… it relates with this post!  Have a great read and wonderful week! – Mike

For those watching the educational news stories this week,  Florida had to be a major place of interest. Governor Charles Crist crossed party lines and put the veto on controversial Senate Bill 6  that promoted a form of merit pay for teachers. While all could argue the assets and liabilities of merit pay for teachers, what  stood out to me was the direct link of teacher pay to student standardized  test scores. I am a  believer in necessary educational transformation that puts students at the center of their learning, employs rigorous real world applications to facilitate curricular standards, integrates appropriate and engaging technology, and facilitates those important 21st Century skills. It is very difficult to comprehend how linking teacher effectiveness exclusively to standardized testing achieves results that prepare today’s students for their future.

For this reason, I have started a list that I call Forget Learning… Just Start Learn’en Them More!  Since “Learn’en Them” is my own phrase, I will define it as putting information in students’ heads. This process of teaching can be successfully spot measured on some standardized tests, but Learn’en Them is on the opposite end of the spectrum from Real Learning.  While some may see my list as a tribute to Standardized Testing, I call it a look into the future…  if all merits are based on the results of Standardized Testing.

My List: Forget Learning, Just Start Learn’en Them More

Forget about inquiry, problem solving, and reflection, it is not efficient…  just start learn’en them more.

Relationship building, where on the test is that?…  just start learn’en them more.

A “Whole New Mind”,  the right brain takes too much time…  just start learn’en them more.

Children at the center of their learning, way too confusing and inexperienced…  just start learn’en them more.

Making connections with the real world,  it’s all in the textbook…  just start learn’en them more.

Networking with parents and community, where are they on the test?…  just start learn’en them more.

Collaboration with other students, the teacher has the test knowledge…  just start learn’en them more.

Technology integration, a worksheet will do and it’s a lot easier..  just start learn’en them more.

Listening to a student, takes valuable lecture time away…  just start learn’en them more.

No Bloom’s Taxonomy, Pavlov’s conditioning will do just fine…  just start learn’en them more.

Their future?  what’s the  matter with our past?…  just start learn’en them more.

I could continue on… but I invite you to join me with at least one reply. It would sure help my own learn’en!  Merit pay based on standardized testing… Where’s the Merit?  To me it seems like the easy way out. We can reward teachers for filling kids heads with stuff, and as more stuff is found we find ways to fill their heads even more. After stuffing their cognitive functions with all this stuff, we can then check our success by testing a fraction of a percent of that stuff.

Or… we can transform education by providing professional development that puts students at the center of their learning, employs rigorous real world applications to facilitate curricular standards, integrates appropriate and engaging technology, and facilitates those important 21st Century skills. It will not be an easy way out, but our students may just pass the test of providing a successful and rewarding future for themselves and their own children.

Thanks for joining me on yet another journey towards transforming education for the 21st Century!  I also invite you to take a moment to view this video.  It provides a great reflection on Standardized Testing!  Please take a moment to share with others and if you are on twitter, give it an RT.  Remember, I invite you to subscribe to this blog by RSS or email, and don’t forget to follow me on twitter at (@mjgormans). Feel free to explore  the wealth of resources I have for you at my 21centuryedtech Wiki.  Now take a moment to reply/share and then…  forget learn’en them more, and just start learning! – Have a great week! – Mike

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Merit Pay: Forget Learning… Just Start Learn’en’ Them More!

  1. greentea

    You know I could agree to merit pay if you would add a few provisos.

    First all parents would also have to sign an agreement that they would come to all report card and teacher conferences. They would also have to volunteer for at least 3 hours during the school year in another class.

    Next, student attendance could not be less than 90% for at least 85% of my students. And finally 100% of students would have to sign a agreement to come to school willing to work cooperatively at education. The admin part I’ll leave alone for a minute.

    Merit pay is like going to a game and only one side has to play! Would you want to even watch?

    All stakeholders need incentives it seems!

    • Thanks for pointing out that for Merit Pay to be considered much more thought has to go into it then basing it on standardized testing. Another movement toward standardized testing is a blow to real educational transformation. The points you bring out are very valuable and need to be considered.
      I never went into teaching because I would get rich, and regardless of merit pay I want all students to succeed to their fullest potential. I will do what I can do to make that happen but must also understand I am only part of the picture. Others must also understand this to.
      I still feel, lets put more money into professional development and support teachers in the hard yet rewarding work they do. Thanks so much for your reply and please continue to return and share. – Have a wonderful week! – Mike

  2. Jim Kowalski

    Wow! Great Post! This could be made into a rockin’ song! “Fostering good character and life skills not so easy to test for. . . just start learn’en them more.”

  3. Jim,

    Got to luv that additional phrase you have given! Life and character skills are invaluable! I fear that another incentive that forces teachers to teach to the test stands in the way of real education reform! It is awesome to find people that understand ! Keep up your efforts at making a contribution to real learning! You have a wonderful week and thanks so much for the share! – Mike

  4. Pingback: Standardized Testing – Merit Pay « Social Media and Education

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