I believe the state can raise their standards all they want, but it doesn't mean that the academics will rise, as well. The Common Core Standards are another test-taking gimmick the state rolls out when it's time to present change to assume that standards are raising and therefore the academics are, too. TCAP is being phased out but Common Core, which not surprisingly has its own set of tests and practice tests they want to sell to the state (and have). You can weigh the pig ten different ways...TCAP, Common Core, achievement tests (from the old days), ACT, EOC... but the pig will continue to weigh the same.
I guess it seems that in America, the bottom of the education pyramid receives almost all of the attention. The smarter kids rarely make any sort of waves or demands and so they rarely get the attention they need because it is supposed that they will "get it on their own" or "do it themselves" (and this is probably because they have been in classes where the teacher is constantly working with the bottom students trying to get them to the bare minimums instead of helping them excell.) Imagine if teachers actually tried to get the top students to a higher level instead of worrying over the bottom who will probably be a leach on society anyway? I admire that America wants everyone to have the same equal advantages and I also believe everyone can learn, but I also believe that most are apathetic and distract where a teacher's focus should probably be.
I don't really have an opinion about teacher pay because I think it probably is a good job and is adequately compensated -- for the most part. I will add that I disagree with merit pay or any pay attached to test scores, etc., because again, it's just not fair. A teacher at Signal Mountain will probably get better test scores than a teacher at Howard. Should he/she get a higher salary because of that? There are too many factors like class size, parental involvement, culture, and many others.
Not all students take a TCAP. Only juniors in HS take the TCAP writing exam, which is essentially a test with no bearing on their grades. It is often referred to as a "no stakes test" and most students don't even know what they make on them. Surely you don't believe that the students' scores on this test would be a fair representation of the teacher? Maybe a comparison could be made that at a factory, the worker makes the same pay for turning out 10 products or 50, yet the boss is held accountable for the amount of total products -- and the quality -- which is being put out. If the boss has no way of making the workers care about doing more (because they already get their pay), why should he be responsible and accountable for their lack of drive? It seems kind of similar to the teachers who have no control over the kind of work or work ethic students put into their writing test (which they know cannot harm them at all if they do poorly). I'm just not sure that this part of the TCAP is "fair" or a realistic measuring stick.