When I brought home a bad report card, it never occurred to me, or my parents, to blame my teacher... I also hated and did badly in anything involving writing of any kind. Which is kind of like wicked ironic since I then grew up to be a writer. That just points to the unpredictable ways we learn things.As I have argued here before: failure IS an option. It can be a very powerful motivator for a student (or a parent). I know some of you who think you know what goes on in schools will misinterpret what I say here, but the fact is that great teachers regularly let their students fail; sometimes, it's exactly what they need.
When you tie a standardized test result to a teacher's livelihood, however, you remove that option for the student. You encourage the teacher to drill-and-kill, to sacrifice intrinsic motivation, to take short-cuts around higher-order thinking: all so the student "passes," and the teacher can keep her job.
That isn't education; it's training. We may as well give the merit pay bonuses to the kids. What do you think, Merit Pay Fairy?
Dat ain't no bad idea.