Matteo: Teachers get paid to fail

Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

In 1986, I took the Florida teacher certification exam, which was supposed to be several hours, but I completed it in approximately one hour. As I left the test, I remember thinking that the test insulted my intelligence and there was no way anyone could fail it. There were questions like: “I went to the __________ to purchase milk” and the choices were A) house   B) park   C) door   D) store  

I thought that anyone who could not pass this test should not be a teacher. I was teaching at a 7th-grade center as my first teaching job, and a Black PE teacher revealed to me at lunch that she had failed the exam and needed to take it again. I was shocked.

Recently New York has agreed to pay a settlement of 1.8 billion dollars to minority teachers who failed the liberal arts and science teacher exams between 1994 and 2014 because the exam violated civil rights laws and was culturally biased. Evidence for this claim is that 90% of white people passed the exam, but the pass rate for Hispanics was 50% and for blacks 53%. The message here is that it literally pays to fail. According to one report, over 5,000 people will receive money as part of the settlement, and 225 people will receive over 1 million dollars each as they will collect money based on the amount of money they would have earned if they had been allowed to collect salaries for teaching.

This is not really surprising given the embracing of the victim culture by leftists who wear failure as a badge of honor as if it was a Nobel Prize. It complements the idea that you can make any excuse for failure and turn it into a payday, which is what liberal admissions officers do every time they ignore students’ GPAs and SAT/ACT scores (which are objective) and, instead, use personality scoring (which is completely subjective) to decide who will be admitted to their universities.  

I wonder if those individuals who failed their teacher exams would like it if they were sued by students on the basis of cultural bias when students fail their tests. The socialists have completely taken over education, and the results aren’t pretty. According to a study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the US ranked 27th in the world for education and healthcare. The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), from 2015, ranked US students 38th out of 71 countries in math and the science scores weren’t much better 24th in science.   

For years, teacher unions in many states have fought against things like paying better teachers extra (merit pay), and instead pay all teachers the same based on years of service instead of the effectiveness of teachers. They have supported tenure, which makes it very difficult to fire incompetent teachers. They have infused social justice into classrooms and shoved things like critical race theory and gender ideology down the throats of students despite parental objections. They have spent valuable classroom time on political issues at the expense of teaching students skills in math, reading and writing. Some so-called educators have made claims that math and grammar are racist. I actually saw an interview with one woke advocate who made the insane claim that 2 + 2 could equal 5 because math is a “construct of Eurocentric whiteness.” I wonder how doing math this way helps them at the checkout stand when they are given back change at the grocery store. As all of this insanity unfolds, US students’ proficiency as compared to students in other countries, that don’t waste time on nonsense, continues to decline.

The continued attack on merit and qualifications weakens the country and the only thing that America is excelling in is making excuses for lack of achievement. An educational system is supposed to prepare students to compete in the future. However, the obsession with diversity, equity and inclusion are not showing positive results in education. The dropout rate for college freshman is 30%, so tell me again how it helps anyone to admit students without the requisite skills for college courses. 

There was a time in America when competition led to achievement. Individuals of all races studied and struggled to do well on tests, but now the tests are considered to be an evil tool of white supremacists according to many people whose homes obviously lack mirrors. There was a time when people worked hard to build their skills to get jobs and actually studied for tests, but with the advent of marginalization as an excuse, merit became vilified. In today’s twisted view, all a person of color has to do is to make the claim that they didn’t fail the test; the test was culturally biased and they will be compensated for failing.  

The New York decision to pay teachers who failed competency exams is a microcosm of what has become a plague far worse than COVID, but there are no protective masks or vaccines to alleviate this disease.  The educational system is the most important determinant of a country’s future, and the front-line troops in this battle are teachers. Exams are the way teachers determine whether or not students have developed competence in the subjects that they teach, however, if teachers cannot pass exams to prove their own proficiency, why should they be allowed to teach? Shouldn’t a teacher possess the requisite skills that are measured by teaching exams, which are created by supposedly competent educators who know what is required to be a teacher?  

The woke world is an alternative universe where left is right, and right is wrong, and logic and common sense are substituted by delusions and fantasies, so it is no surprise that incompetent people can get paid for incompetence. Unfortunately, the big losers are the students who may end up with teachers who are grossly unqualified because they are faced with teachers who couldn’t pass a test.


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