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American students still behind other countries

By: Ruben Veloz

EL PASO, Texas--The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development rated American students based on how well they performed in high school.

When it came to math scores, the U.S. came in at 26 out of 34 countries.

Kellin Acre, whose mother is a teacher, believes students in America don't do well on tests because of how teachers are paid.

"I think teachers should get paid more regardless, because of what they do," said Acre.

One solution the organization said could help is to pay teachers based on students' performance.

According to the report, countries where teachers were paid based on how well their students scored on tests seemed to show better results than teachers who only got paid the average salary.

"We use the services like the Texas Association of School Boards to help us determine the salaries for our employees, said El Paso ISD Associate Superintendent Robert Almazan

Almazan told KFOX14 it is unlikely teachers at the district will be paid by how well a student does on tests any time soon.

"It's a very competitive salary, and there are other components for say, having a master's degree for teaching other types of programs," said Almazan.

As KFOX14 reported earlier this year, the EPISD board of managers said it would look into a merit-based pay system after employees were given a 2.5 percent pay raise in June.

"It's real important that we also are not only competitive with our incoming teachers, but making sure that we are paying a competitive wage with our teachers that have been here a while," Almazan.

Yet some El Pasoans still believe performance-based pay will bring better results.

"They'll feel better about having to work longer hours or staying in longer," said west El Pasoan Amee Aceves. 

Critics say changing the way teachers are paid won't change how well America does well on tests.

Others say reducing class sizes would be the better solution.



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