The ruthless politics of “education reform” takes no prisoners. Lawmakers and lobbyists have joined hands with vendors and ROI philanthropists to dismantle public schools and discredit teaching.  Their millions of victims range from hopeful kindergartners to wise veterans who still feel the spiritual calling to teach.

Teachers think nothing of spending their own money to help feed students or devote extra hours to inspire struggling kids to try reading one more time. Education “reform” stupidly squanders the importance of this rich human interaction, in favor of tying teacher pay to standardized test scores. In doing so, they’ve missed the whole mission of teaching.

In this poignant post, Kansas City teacher Sarah Starforth reminds us that the most precious commodity teachers bring to the classroom is love.

Merit pay?

Today in my 2nd grade class I had 1 student crying because her father is in jail and she is confused and scared, 2 students ask for food for their families for the weekend, 1 student sent to the office for a belt because their multi-generational hand-me down pants are too big, 1 student say they are moving because their landlord is raising the rent without warning, and this doesn’t count the students that are put into my class because I am a former special education teacher that doesn’t care if they are multiple grade levels behind.

Where’s my merit pay for the food I buy to keep in my class for hungry students? Where’s my merit pay for the clothes and chap stick I buy? Where’s my merit pay for getting a student to read that hasn’t read until the age of 8? Where’s my merit pay for the blood, snot and tears I wipe on a daily basis?

I am a teacher. I chose to be a teacher. I LOVE being a teacher. But don’t base my salary on how a 7 or 8 year old does one day on one biased test. No salary will ever be able to take the place of the love and care teachers provide for their students.