Paying for test scores: bad idea

Bernardo Vigil, A&E Editor

I haven’t been paid for grades since 3rd grade. Part of this may be because I haven’t had grades worth paying for since the 3rd grade, but the point still stands: it’s a bad idea. It takes away the joy of learning and replaces it with an arbitrary goal that really has nothing to do with education.

When the government does it, it’s even worse. Basing funding on how schools do on a standardized test (or even basing bonuses on this, as a Republican state senator, Pam Myhra is proposing) is not only an oversimplification of a school’s progress, but italso hurts the poorest schools that need the most help.

First of all, we need to look at how this will mainly help the schools that already have the richest districts. According to the Star Tribune, “In terms of proficiency across the state, you can literally line it up with a correlation between wealth and good test scores,” meaning the schools that need the least extra help, will be getting the most.

While helping the richest schools in our state isn’t inherently a bad thing, hurting poorer schools is. When we allocate extra funds to schools that already are doing well, the schools hire more teachers to get small class sizes (a good thing); then, parents wanting to give their students the best public education possible pull their kids out of the poorer schools and into the richer one (not necessarily a bad thing); and, poor schools are left with the kids whose parents don’t care about their education enough to put them in a better school and probably won’t be doing too well on state tests (definitely a bad thing).

Now, arguments against tying funding to test scores also include the problem of teaching to the test (something that already happens with No Child left behind); but, let’s forget the educational detriments that this causes, be the greedy capitalists that we are and focus on the most important thing––the money, because that’s where our schools are going to get hurt the most.