Teacher allegedly disciplined because her students' scores are too high


Coyle, who was reassigned from her classroom to a clerical job at the end of April, said her students have consistently scored above average on state tests, winning her the highest possible rating on the pupil performance section of the state’s Annual Professional Performance Review.

But her students’ solid work has become a problem for Rhame Avenue School teachers at the next grade level and for the school as a whole, according to White.

The New York State Education Department’s performance rating system is designed to reward instructors and schools when students show academic improvement from one grade to the next, White said.

But Coyle’s students’ scores either don’t improve or get worse while they are in fifth grade. As a result a few fifth grade teachers have been rated as less than effective and the school’s entire score has been pulled down, which could pose a threat to state funding, according to Coyle.

The instructor said her superiors have regularly encouraged her and her colleagues to avoid overachieving and to keep their scores from exceeding the state rating of “effective.”

‘Let’s rate teachers and punish the ones who do badly’ they said. ‘It will be good for the students’ they said. Link.


“One faculty member said our job is not to be optimal, but to be adequate. That underlying message of mediocrity was promoted,” Coyle said. Teachers were also told to accept that a third of their students would understand the material, another third would be average and the rest would fail, she said.

Does that sound like a union teacher or a non-union teacher?

We had a few teachers in Indiana who were disciplined when their students’ test papers showed a large numbers of erasures, always changing a wrong answer to a correct one. We also had teachers accused of leaking the answers ahead of time. If the high scores are the result of cheating, punishment is well deserved. If the scores are really the result of better teaching, the superior teachers should be sharing their methods with the low performing teachers, not punished. The administrators who prevent it shoud be replaced.


Sounds to me like a problem with government funding of education.


Are you suggesting that we shouldn’t have public schools?


That’s a whole different discussion and not the point of this thread.

The point I was making is thus: When you tie government funding of schools to student performance, then of course you get scenarios like that in the OP. The same thing happened with No Child Left Behind.


Lord have mercy on these people,

God help us


:banghead: Only in America.


It is too bad Unions have caused the education system to work as it does.

Any other company, if there is a worker not pulling their weight, they would be replaced.



Seriously? How on earth do teacher unions have anything to do with whether or not the state/district has opted for so-called “performance pay?”

The problem with performance pay, in my opinion only, is that the primary measure of whether or not a teacher is rated effective or exceptional, etc., is standardized test scores. I’ve taught at schools that had very high scores (one was the highest scoring Title 1 school in the state at the time) and schools that had very low scores (one was in the bottom 5% of all schools in the state). So was I an exceptional teacher at one school – one of the best teachers in the state! – and then the very next year a complete incompetent – one of the worst in the state?

Unless the state intends to require all children to be enrolled in public boarding schools, wherein the school staffs have complete control over all aspects of a child’s life, then performance pay is not only unfair, it also leads to all kinds of ethical problems. For example, just a couple:

  • The best teachers will flock to the highest-performing schools in the most desirable demographics. Who’s going to risk their careers and income (and family’s welfare) on something as unpredictable (and beyond schools’ control) as, for example, inner-city dynamics?

  • Rather than creating a positive work environment where all teachers are working for student achievement, performance pay may set professionals against each other. No one will want to work with slower learners, or students who come to school behind grade level, or students whose families just can’t seem to get them to school on time (or at all), etc.

While I think it is completely unethical ever to hold children back intentionally (and I’m one of those teachers who spend hundreds of dollars of my own money each year), I can also see the pressures that are causing this sort of mentality. Without God’s grace, and a firm rooting in the Sacraments and prayer, I’m fearful what my own reaction would be if I thought my family’s security and my career were on the line (single mom, sole source of income).

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a public school teacher, and a union member. We don’t have performance pay in my district at this time, and I doubt we will before I retire (15+ years from now). Personally, I’d love see our culture, and our government, start viewing teachers as an asset, rather than a liability. Just saying…

God bless you!




It bothers me that this does not surprise me at all. In today’s world this makes perfect sense.

If anyone had any sense at ABC, NBC, or CBS she would be on the morning show circuit for the next month.


Please, no facts. Anti-union conservative talking points only.

You really should watch more FOX. :wink:


In the interest of full disclosure, I am a public school teacher. I am not a union member (unions are prohibited for govt employees in North Carolina. I am also not a member of the NEA’s so-called professional association.
Yes. It’s called Race to the Top, or better, Race to a Flop, or Race to a Stop.
The more the federal government is involved in education, the worse it gets.





Reminds me of this teacher here in Canada:



This is an odd response, considering that it was a response to Gertie, who said: * In the interest of full disclosure, I am a public school teacher, and a union member. We don’t have performance pay in my district at this time, and I doubt we will before I retire (15+ years from now). Personally, I’d love see our culture, and our government, start viewing teachers as an asset, rather than a liability. Just saying…*

The issue is not teachers’ unions, per se, though I would never be a member of one, for a number of reasons.

The issues in public education can be traced to three things:

  1. the progressive movement in education, which really had its start about 100 years ago with John Dewey and William Heard Kilpatrick. That movement in education has had for the last 50 years, a choke hold on public education, the time frame where we have seen the sinking of American student performance, compared to other countries.
  2. The advent of the Federal Department of Education, which has discouraged Direct Instruction in favor of progressive methods, despite their own long-term study known as Project Follow Through (Google it) which shows Direct Instruction to be far more effective.
  3. A distant third is teachers’ unions, not because they represent teachers, but because they have been strong advocates of points 1 & 2. In terms of methods and practices in the classroom, they are completely in bed with the Washington educrats in promoting these constantly failing methods.

As for teacher effectiveness evaluation, the method taking hold across the country is the Value Added Model (VAM). VAM seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of the teacher solely on that teacher’s efforts in the classroom, without regard to mitigating factors such as socio-economics, family situations, learning disabilities, etc. Even poor attendance is not considered a factor in the VAM. So, from my own situation, last school year I had a child who missed more than 40 days of school, and my impact on that child was measured as if he had been there every day.
A teacher’s value added is measured, in most instances, based solely on standardized test scores. Here in NC, tests are given once, without the chance of a retest, and the test for a 3rd, and 4th grader is scheduled for 180 minutes, with two 3-minute breaks.

Now, I am not an opponent of either standardized testing or teacher evaluation, but I expect both to be fair and professional.



It doesn’t sound like a union issue to me. It sounds like corrupt school administrators. Coyle is correct when she says the district is gaming the system.

It wouldn’t surprise me, though I have no way of knowing, if this teacher is using teaching methods not supported by the progressive educrats and administrators at the district level, and the state level in Albany.

Here in NC, if you do anything or say anything that can be construed as encouraging students not to do their best, you can be fired, and criminally prosecuted.



It was a joke, not aimed at Gertie, but toward the knee-jerk anti-union responses.

My own full disclosure: public school teacher (recently returned from a sojourn in corporate America) and union member. I teach 2nd/3rd Grade SPED in an inner-city social/emotional/behavioral room. I’m in full agreement (so far) with Gertie and substantial agreement with you.

I totally get it re: testing, especially with my kids. I had one complete his test in 35 minutes using the ABRACADABRA method. Since the test has no consequences for the kids, many don’t try. And that’s just the beginning.


My opinion: School boards need to be funded by city taxpayers; not state or provincial, and certainly never federal.

Members of the local public school board should be parents/grandparents of children who attend local public schools, and who, therefore, have a vested interest in the success of the children. Election to the school board should not be seen as a “stepping stone” into political life in general.

These parent administrators should also have full control over their budget to spend it building schools, paying teachers, and providing for school infrastructure.


Sounds good in theory, but not in reality. The students who have the least environmental support for their educations would be in districts with the lowest paid teachers. The students whose parents are college-educated and tutor-supported would have the highest paid teachers.

Usually the most disadvantaged students live in the poorest neighborhoods and cities. And teachers do usually go into the profession as a career choice (not as a missionary) with the intention of supporting their families financially. If all financial support for schools came solely from the city taxpayers, teachers would all be fighting to get into the highest-paying school districts in the wealthiest areas. The poorest schools (financially) would have to settle for whoever was left after all other districts got their first choice. It would be criminal to do that to kids :eek:

My own school district, which is small, urban, and as I said “low performing,” initiated a new pay scale some five years ago. (When I started teaching, they were competitive, but not the highest or lowest paying.) They raised teachers’ salaries to the highest in the state! When educators in the area heard the news, we literally had experienced teachers leaving their tenured positions in other, wealthier districts to come work with our kids!! It was awesome – we were suddenly able to recruit and retain some of the best educators in the state! Talent follows money apparently. :shrug:



DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.