I have reservations about the wisdom of implementing the well-intended Teacher Advancement Program here on the Central Coast. I thought our school districts and the federal and state governments were broke. The TAP program is a very expensive program to administer. The start-up costs for the Lucia Mar Unified School District are more than $7 million. I suspect the TAP program will generate more competition than collaboration among our public school teachers. Determining who is a good teacher, and which teachers should get bonuses, is difficult, as student test scores do not tell a complete story. Perceived bias and favoritism can raise their ugly heads and promote poor morale among a faculty.
I believe well motivated students can learn well even from mediocre teachers. The best source of such motivation is from the parental home. I realize sadly that the American family is largely dysfunctional and broken by various societal traumas. Still, high achieving students sometimes come from mediocre parenting, and poor students can be the product of good parenting. School systems and the federal and state governments have a limited ability to raise student test scores, especially when the classroom size ratio typically is 30 to one. Students, and to a lesser degree their parents, are largely responsible for their own academic destinies.
Such money, when available, would be better spent when poured into the classrooms where it would directly benefit students and teachers, and not used to pay for more administrators to oversee dubious and controversial programs.
-- Steve Riehle - Santa Maria