There have been many newspaper articles about basing teachers' pay on how well their students learn. However, the most important parts of the equation are left out — that of the student and the parent/guardian. The teacher (no matter how good the teacher is) cannot make up for students and parents who do not care and should not be made wholly responsible for a student's learning.

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There are many junior high school teachers working with students who can only read on second or third grade levels. Why are there junior high students reading on such a low grade level? Why have they been passed along year after year? How can society expect them to succeed?

Without the necessary reading skills, a student is destined to fail. Is it the fault of his or her math, history, science or English teacher? No! It is the fault of the educational system. While the idea of No Child Left Behind may seem great on the surface, what can a teacher do if the parent and child do not care if the child is left behind? Until we as a society consider all of the equation — students, parents and teachers — education will not change in a beneficial way.

Don Barker