You know how “educational” trends come and go every few years, sparking massive levels of devotion, construction, and deconstruction? If you’re in Minnesota, the latest one down the pike is “Q-Comp“–Quality Compensation–one of Governor Pawlenty’s babies.
The basic idea is that if teachers will only work harder to raise test scores, the State will pay them a little bit extra and everyone’s happy.
Yeah, so that’s the idea.
My lack of enthusiasm would explain why, when it was first tossed out to districts, my own voted to not even look into it because it sounded like a bunch of hooey. However, now it’s nearly necessary, and it will soon be mandatory, so this year we’re starting. Perhaps you can feel my joy; or perhaps that’s only snark…
I shouldn’t be so cynical; part of it makes sense. It does, indeed, promote more staff development time (mandates an hour a week, actually), that could be a great thing and exactly what’s needed for overworked, flying-solo teachers existing in little separate boxes. Of course, in our district that means showing up an hour early every Tuesday, but that’s okay. We need this time. (The great news about these meetings is that it’s not, thank God, some touchy-feely encounter group, even if having to work on process more than outcomes right now is annoying. The only thing Dr. Laura and I have in common is that I, too, don’t want anyone to ask me how I feel about a topic–who truly cares, ugh–but I do like to be asked what I think about it. Relational, I’m NOT.)
However, what turns me off (and doesn’t surprise me in the least, as it’s coming from Minnesota’s Department of Education, which like in most states seems to be run mainly by people who’ve never taught, never met a spreadsheet they didn’t like, and who haven’t spoken to a child in fifty years) is the bureaucracy and nitpicking micromanaging. Ugh. I don’t want to work in the corporate world. I don’t want to be controlled by data. I don’t want to have meeting minutes taken and sent in to prove I’m freaking worthy of that extra $300 (or whatever it is–I honestly don’t know and don’t care) so they’re willing to pay for 36 hours of meetings outside my already long day.
Pretty soon, we’ll have to file a department form in triplicate to bring up a topic of discussion at any random faculty meeting. Bullshit.
Our–and by this I mean our PLC (don’t even ask me, I couldn’t tell you the acronym) which is the group that meets every week, and will be observing each other and whatnot–current problem is that it seems MDE (see above re: bureaucratic idiocy) doesn’t think anything that happens in a school outside of reading, math, and science counts for diddly squat. We’re supposed to come up with SMART (no, I’m not kidding, and yes, laugh with me, please–stands for something else that boils down to measurable*) goals, but the only ones the state seems to want to approve are those based on raising test scores in the above three subjects.
Which is fine, if public schools didn’t have Phys Ed teachers. And guidance counselors. And teachers of health, shop, and FACS.
My PLC has a Health/Phys Ed teacher and a guidance counselor; the latter doesn’t teach classes, and it’s as if her education, her bona fides, her contribution to the school’s climate and the growth of *people* (you know, the kids) is worthless in the eyes of the boneheads who came up with Q-Comp (T-Paw, you listening yet?!?).
Are we managing figures in Excel, or are we forming well-educated, capable human beings that can contribute to the world?
Color me terribly unimpressed. I’d much rather the State keep their paltry 30 pieces of silver and let us actually do things that matter and include all of us.
Addendum (later same date): Just got this in the news. Only one study, true, but it also reflects many other things I’ve been reading. Sigh. Will they ever learn?!?
* Anyone else notice that in the world, acronyms seem to usually start with a cute word and have the elements match that, instead of the other way around? Annoys me to no end. Waaaay too cutesy.