Perdue wants to reward teachers for hard work - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Perdue wants to reward teachers for hard work

By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – Governor Sonny Perdue says he stands behind his plan to pay teachers based on student performance despite an audit that showed the possibility of wide-spread tampering with standardized tests.

More than 10% of the schools statewide listed in the "severe concern" category for possible cheating are in Dougherty County. Perdue says offering pay for performance shouldn't be an incentive to cheat, rather an incentive to perform.

Currently, the state rewards teachers based upon their level of education, instead of how successful their classrooms, and students are. Perdue says his plan would reward all-star teachers.

Governor Sonny Perdue says teachers and administrators who played a role in cheating on CRCTs around the state and Dougherty County, don't need to be in our schools.  He said, "I think if it is determined beyond reasonable doubt that adults cheated their students by changing and erasing answers, I don't think they belong in the educational system."

But he says there are many people who do belong. "I find no passionate, hardworking teacher really shrinks back from the opportunity to succeed."

And success is what he wants to use as a basis for teacher pay.  Perdue said, "To teach and to perform well. We're measuring progress. We're not trying to put everyone on the same level."

But critics say Perdue's plan only incentivizes teachers to cheat more.  The Governor said, "I don't think so, I think the profession Is honorable."

And he believes that when teachers cheat, students are the ones who get hurt. "We want student achievement," he said.  "We're getting student achievement all over the state, but we have a few people who insist on trying to improve their scores to grades the wrong way, that impedes everyone."

And students most of all. That's why Perdue says teachers who teach the right way, and have students succeed on their own merits, should be rewarded for their hard work.

In addition to removing cheating teachers and administrators from schools, there are also efforts underway to criminalize those who falsify test documents. The Governors proposal for performance pay is centered around "race to the Top". That's a federal program that could provide a $400 Million grant to the state.

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