Please Pass that Test, Johnny!

Pass Or Fail Keys To Show Exam Or Test ResultDespite consistent criticism from educators around the state to tying compensation and certification to student growth as measured by standardized tests (SBAC), the Tiered Licensure Committee continues to insist that compensation and teacher certification be tied to student test scores.

A refresher, I emailed every member of both the technical advisory committee as well as the subcomittee about a month ago.  To some members credit, including IEA President Penni Cyr and Superintendent Luna, I received a legitimate concerned response.  However, it seems the bulk of the members declined to open a dialogue, and little (if any) of my concern–particularly to special education and English language learner students–made it into the discussion.

A quick scan of recent meeting minutes makes it clear that the committee (Ms. Cyr the exception) continues to insist that teacher certification and compensation be tied to standardized tests assessing student achievement for tiered certification.  A few brief comments from the committee as recorded in the minutes:

Ms. Bent [Commenting if a teacher was not able to meet the new requirements which include student growth]: If they still are not able to meet the criteria after two years there is no renewal and they are not able to be a teacher.

Ms. Willits confirmed that the group feels comfortable about adding the two components to
pathway 1, student achievement and the yet-to-be-determined number of distinguished

Ms. Bent: It would be nice if there was a way to quantify that it is a higher level of student achievement being required than at the Professional level.

Candidates for Tier 3 must also meet the below stipulations:
-student achievement – three consecutive years of student achievement/growth, as defined by the local school district

Ms. Kellerer pointed out that she felt it is important to note that this proposal exceeds all the other states Tier 3 structures. We are the only ones who include student achievement [emphasis added).

There you have it; teachers who work with the hardest populations including special education, English language learners, alternative/academy schools, migrants, and low socio/economic students be forewarned: this plan targets you and your students.

Again, what is the incentive of working with vulnerable student populations if they are not likely to see as large of academic growth as typical peers when not only a teacher’s compensation, but teaching certification is also at stake!

Ms. Kellerer’s comment was especially apt: Idaho is the only state considering including student achievement in tiered licensure.  Perhaps  this is because other states recognized the fallacy of expecting every student to make a predetermined set of academic progress despite individualized needs such as IEPs, limited English proficiency, migration, etc?

Cheers to IEA President Penny Cyr; she was the only member to dissent from the proposed plan and was explicit in her rationale for doing so:

Ms. Cyr requested that the record show that her concern is evaluations being part of licensure.

This teacher, for one, agrees fully in that statement.




2 thoughts on “Please Pass that Test, Johnny!

  1. Jake Wren

    Absolutely insane! As a teacher with 53 years in the classroom, I am sick and tired of people who know nothing about the profession trying to “improve” it
    with stupid, and I do mean, STUPID suggestions like this! They never understand
    that teacher success definitely has much to do with the students they are assigned,
    and the students assigned are a reflection of good or poor parents and homelife!
    ANYONE can teach the best gifted, and NO ONE can make a successful student
    out of some kids who simply are not students, or who have had a totally disrupted
    home life. I have many awards and “best teacher ever” letters from former students, but also have had classes that CANNOT BE CAUGHT! PERIOD!!

    PJW (Patrick “Jerry” or “Jake” Wren



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