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Grading Teachers

April 17, 2014
Joe Kent - Teacher for Congress , Maui Weekly

Imagine if teachers gave grades in the same way they were paid. In kindergarten, all the kids would get F's. By the first grade, the entire class would get a D-minus. Fifth graders would all get C's, and so on, until in the 12th grade, when every student would receive an A-plus.

It seems silly, but that's exactly how we pay teachers. New teachers are paid the least, and old teachers are paid the most--no matter how they perform in the classroom.

Bad teachers feel safe with that kind of job security: Survive for two years, and you've got tenure.

But what about the really good teachers? Good teachers are underpaid.

Bad teachers deserve to be paid less, but good teachers deserve to be paid more.

Imagine a new teacher who is really great. Perhaps she made learning fun and the kids in her class were dying to come to school! Maybe she helped to bring students' scores up two or three grade levels. Maybe she taught the kids to think for themselves--to think creatively. Teachers like that deserve to be paid double, or even more! Perhaps a teacher like that should make $100,000. Unfortunately, in our current system, a teacher like that is paid the lowest amount a teacher can make.

My name is Joe Kent, and I'm running for Congress, because I believe our educational system is broken. As a teacher for seven years, I've seen the monster of government invading the classroom. Government ties teacher's hands behind their backs. It traps principals at every turn. And it allows bullies to harass good kids in the classroom.

I want to get rid of all the bureaucracy in education. Stop boring teachers and students with all these new regulations, and just give teachers the freedom to teach. Get government out of the classroom. Give principals the power and freedom to adjust pay, and you would see a new market for excellence in education. Teachers would strive hard to please principals. Principals would demand only the best teachers in the schools. And parents would be banging the principal's door down to get their kids in that school. And our keiki would benefit with an outstanding classroom and a brighter future.

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