In spite of what some folks in Alabama think, there really is life outside our state and they really do notice things we do.  And they are not hindered by the blinders so many in Alabama wear, consequently they offer a perspective from a broader view, one that does not see us in isolation, but as just one small part of a much bigger picture.

Peter Greene has taught high school for three decades in northwest Pennsylvania.  He frequently puts forth his thoughts about the pitfalls of today’s money driven effort to undermine public education in his blog titled Curmudgucation.  His antenna recently turned to the proposed RAISE Act our super majority is proposing.

He does a great job of dissecting the bill and pointing out its many shortcomings.

Here are some his remarks.  To see his entire post, go here.

Would you be willing to bet your entire teaching career that you will never have students who score low on the Big Standardized Test? Would you take the bet for a little bit more money?

The big bet that I opened with– that’s the choice that RAISE presents teachers with. You can have a traditional tenure track or a performance track. The performance track is supposed to bring you the big bucks, with huge money on the table. The starting salary on this schedule must be $2,500 more than the lowest traditional starting schedule, so maybe not so huge in some districts. All you have to do is get your students to produce big time test scores– in fact, once your students aren’t producing those scores, your career is done. In other words, on this track, your job is literally only to prepare students for the test. 

There are many reasons to hate this proposal, including but not limited to the way in which it reduces Alabama schools to nothing but test prep facilities. For teachers who aren’t directly prepping for the ACT, it will be a crap shoot as far as what test they’ll be prepping their students for. But all these tests will be tests that are given strictly to determine the pay and job standing of the teacher in the classroom.

Are there problems with the bill (I mean, you know, other than gutting the teaching profession and replacing actual education with test prep). Well, there seems to be some question about where all the extra money to pay all those performance-based raises will come from. And  has looked at the bill and thinks it is right on track to draw the same kind of lawsuits that New Mexico is currently wrestling with (and paying for). 

You can read the draft version of the bill here, and you can say a little prayer for education in Alabama. You can prepare to add Alabama to the list of states in which actual teachers aren’t really welcome (no reason for North Carolina to be lonely). And I suppose if you like the idea of betting your career against a thousand dollars or so, you can pack your bags and be Alabammy bound.