KCEA opposes proposal to link teacher pay with test scores

KCEA opposes proposal to link teacher pay with test scores

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Teacher pay in Tennessee is currently based on experience and the level of advanced degrees. Teacher pay in Tennessee is currently based on experience and the level of advanced degrees.

By SAMANTHA MANNING

6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Tennessee education officials are looking at linking teachers' salaries to how well their students perform on state tests.

The Department of Education is backing up the idea with research showing student performance does not change much whether teachers are paid more, better educated or more experienced.

Teacher pay in Tennessee is currently based on experience and the level of advanced degrees.

The Knox County Education Association is against the proposal, saying it's unfair to judge a teacher strictly on test scores.

"Some students actually test better than others," KCEA President Sherry Morgan said.

Morgan said she worries that such a change would force teachers to prioritize teaching for the test.

"Are they just going to become little robots where they just learn how to fill in the test?"

Morgan said it could also cause some teachers to leave the state or retire early.

The Department of Education said a study shows that on average, there's no difference between teachers with a Bachelor's degree or a Doctoral degree when it comes to bringing up student test scores.

It also shows little difference between teachers with less than five years and more than 20 years.

Retired Knoxville teacher Emily Guade told 6 News the change could be positive, especially for newer teachers.

"I feel this is a good incentive for young teachers to have a way to earn more money,  Guade said. "This happens in the business world."

Some Knoxville parents said they want to see teacher performances based on one statewide standardized test.

"I think that both the teachers and the state our state leaders should be able to come up with standardized testing that would please everyone," Greg Headrick said.

But other parents said test scores are only one piece of the puzzle.

"Whatever the score is, it is," Starr Patterson said. "It shouldn't have anything to do with the teacher's pay."

Only 35 percent of teachers in the state were included in the study because others do not teach subjects that are measured by standardized tests.

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