Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Merit Pay/Pay for Test Scores & the Ice Storm

I drove through the Oklahoma City metro area to get a good look at the damage from the ice storm. It reminds me of the destruction I saw in northeastern Oklahoma around Muskogee. There are trees and utility lines down all over the place. Some neighborhoods have power, others don't. Oklahoma Gas and Electric says there are over 643,000 people without power. My wife and I are very lucky--we still have power.

There are a number of schools that are closed. Some of them may be closed for a number of days. Even if they do open, some of the patrons may not have power at their own homes. While this is still in the early stages of reconstruction, one has to wonder what type of impact on student learning this will have on children.

What will happen to the testing that will take place later in the school year? Since we are so committed to testing our kids, they can fall behind when teachers lose a week of quality teaching and learning. Will the state decide to move the testing back so that teachers will have a chance to catch up? And what impact will no heat and power have on kids when they do get back? Will this adversely impact their learning ability and put them further behind?

These are examples of "challenges" in which teachers and kids have no control over. How do you measure the effect of this storm on children's learning and testing? How do you reward teachers
with a pay for test score/merit pay plans when events like this happen?

Does anyone have something to say besides soundbites to sell to Oklahoma parents and teachers?

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