I respond in this way; I support a policy that uses student success as the measure of a teacher's ability ONLY if the following factors are considered:
1) ALL teachers have equitable - not equal - access to technology;
2) ALL of our students are fed, clothed, have a roof over their head and financial support at home;
3) ALL of our children have equitable access to counseling in light of the rampant, epidemic nature of their exposure to violence;
4) ALL teachers have equitable access to teaching materials: paper, pencils, scissors, for goodness sakes, a DESK or table spot for ALL the children enrolled in a school:
5) less than 20 children per teacher and language support for all children whose first language is other than English;
6) the physical state of the school site is modern, safe and equipped with modern facilities and the condition of the neighborhood surrounding the school is safe, secure, positive and clean.
If we can provide equitable access to education then I am happy to endorse a teacher incentive plan that uses student success as the barometer for teacher performance. Until that time, creating a national set of standards for all children to meet and then base a teacher's pay on their ability to get their students to perform to those standards are ill-timed and off the point. Furthermore, children arent robots - they have lives and minds of their own and pains and joys, they are individuals with their own direction in life - teachers cant be held accountable for children's performance because they cant control the lives outside the classroom that their students live. I am against a national set of standards and merit pay based on students' ability to meet those national standards. The status quo that the editorial suggests we are trying to keep is that the same group of kids are going to win the "Race to the Top."