Salary boost for math, science teachers

A bill to give math and science teachers higher pay moves on to Gov. Perdue.

The House approved HB 280 today. The House had to approve a Senate amendment to the bill, which made it clear that higher pay would happen only if the Legislature decides to pay for it in any given year.

31 comments Add your comment

Harper's Mama

March 30th, 2009
3:51 pm

I think that’s great! Then maybe we can get Language Arts teachers more money if they know how to spell. Or we can get Literature teachers more money because they know how to look beneath the surface for inferred meaning. Or we can give Grammar teachers more money so that the students who run off to be journalists for the AJC can actually string a grammatically correct sentence together.

jim d

March 30th, 2009
4:32 pm

harpers mom,

rather doubt it!

teach1

March 30th, 2009
5:42 pm

I looked into gettting an additional certification in Math. As an elemenary school teacher I am always looking for ways to improve my teaching and I thought it might be a way to get a little additional money at the same time. I was wrong. The additional certification would take a full year to get and the cost would be $1600. So after 2 years I would be at the break even point but by then any extra money for the add on could be gone.

I guess the great benefit would be to my students. So I just have to decide if I put my money into the students/classroom again.

ScienceTeacher671

March 30th, 2009
5:57 pm

For those of us who have been in the classroom more than 5 years, there doesn’t seem to be any benefit, but maybe I’m reading it incorrectly.

That said, since most science and math majors can make so much more in fields other than teaching, and since there is a shortage of science and math teachers, I think this is a good start.

Reality 2

March 30th, 2009
7:38 pm

teach1,

My information may not be completely accurate, but if you already hold a teaching certificate (in your case youdo since you are elementary certified), the only thing you need is to path the GACE content test in math. This is not the basic math that you probably took while getting the elementary license. It’s what secondary math teachers have to pass. There may be a different test for a middle school certification. I don’t know how much they charge you to take the exam, but I doubt it is $1600 – where did you get the information?

ScienceTeacher671

March 30th, 2009
8:26 pm

According to the legislation, the endorsement for elementary teachers is 3 additional courses in “post-baccalaureate nondegree programs” and the coursework for the endorsement must “include an authentic residency experience with a focus on application of knowledge and skills.”

Current in-state tuition for 3 graduate-level courses would be about $1600….

Reality 2

March 30th, 2009
10:18 pm

OK, so are you talking about getting the math “endorsement”? That is different from getting certified to be MS/HS math teachers, which require, I believe, only passing the GACE content test if you already are certified. I suppose even if you have a secondary math certification, if you stay at elementary level, you probably won’t be able to get this extra money.

I do see the requirement of 3 courses, but how are you coming up with $1600? Aren’t there RESAs that are offering those courses for much less???

bill

March 30th, 2009
11:17 pm

Boost special education teacher pay. They are the hardest teachers to get.

Fulton Teacher

March 31st, 2009
8:26 am

This is an absolutely ridiculous bill! First, my daughter has never, and I mean never, had a decent math teacher. Math scores are ridiculously low in most schools. It is probably one of the most difficult core subjects to teach and most don’t know how. Why pay them more?

This bill will probably cause more teachers to pursue math and science certification, but it will only attract a minute few to the field. Let’s pay all teachers fairly. And Bill, I completely agree with you. Special ed teachers should be paid more. The amount of paperwork that they’re expected to do is insane. Plus, the IEP meetings. Just as music and PE teachers receive additional money, so should they.

Reality

March 31st, 2009
10:47 am

Fulton Teacher – It is my understanding that this increase is to draw more qualified people into teaching math and science in secondary schools – this is where there is a current shortage in GA.

In my opinion, science teachers in particular should get a stipend. The reason is because all of the extra time required for the labs. This includes writing the lab, getting the materials together, monitoring the students for safety, cleaning up the materials and room, ordering the materials, and not mention the extra time to grade the labs. Science teachers are the only content teachers that require this extra time. All teachers grade tests, papers, quizzes, etc., and have activities, but science teachers are the only ones to do labs like this.

To verify what I am saying, just look at what teachers are usually the first ones to school and the last ones to leave – it is usually the science teachers!

jim d

March 31st, 2009
11:03 am

Reality,

I just gotta LOL at this one.– “usually the first ones to school and the last ones to leave – it is usually the science teachers!”

Don’t mean to offend, just need to explain that most of the Coaches I know teach science.

Math Teacher

March 31st, 2009
11:13 am

Ridiculous bill? This bill, while not perfect, is a step in the right direction. Alas, most solid math & science people are smart enough to figure out that teachers are underpaid, overworked, and (as seen clearly above) not respected. So the best and brightest find better things to do. Shouldn’t we seek to entice them into (or back into) the classroom for the benefit of our students? If, as was freely claimed, most “don’t know how” to teach math & science… why wouldn’t you want a wider candidate pool?

I suspect that social promotion is as much a factor in low math test scores as teacher readiness. If we don’t require kids to learn math, or have teachers who just treat it like a “game” because it is not really their forte, then we will continue to have many kids who are not prepared to handle the rigors of math at the secondary level. And by then it is difficult to get the students back on track. We must recruit qualified math & science teachers at all levels and increase grade-to-grade accountability.

As far as special ed teachers go… I know many hard working ones who make a positive contribution, but I don’t see why they would deserve extra. Many do their jobs well and assist kids in important ways, but many admit that it is an easier job than that of the traditional teacher, especially in a teamed setting. More paperwork is required out of class, but less content knowledge is expected… which is exactly why qualified math & science teachers, which their much desired content knowledge, are always in demand. And when demand for a crucial commodity exceeds supply in a free market, extra pay is justified. This currently fits math & science more than any other area.

Fulton Teacher

March 31st, 2009
1:11 pm

I doubt that this bill will do more to attrace more qualified teachers. I do believe that it will motivate current teachers to abandon their current content area and get certified in math or science. The pay difference won’t be significant enough to attract more “qualified” teachers. The problem that I’ve found with teachers in these areas is that they understand the content, they just can’t deliver. When students in my daughter’s 8th grade algebra class asked questions, the teacher’s response was always, What, you don’t understand this? But it’s so easy!”.

On another note, I’ve seen just as many band positions postings this year as I have math and science. Should their pay go up as well? There certainly seems to be a shortage. I just don’t agree with this bill.

teach1

March 31st, 2009
2:52 pm

I do see the requirement of 3 courses, but how are you coming up with $1600? Aren’t there RESAs that are offering those courses for much less???

LOL the $1600 is what the Griffin RESA just quoted me for their upcoming program. So NO they are not doing it for a lot less.

ScienceTeacher671

March 31st, 2009
6:22 pm

I got my estimate of $1600 by a top of my head estimate of the cost of the last course I’d taken at a Georgia college, multiplied by 3.

Actually, I just looked up the tuition for one 3 hour course at my local college, and I’ll raise my estimate to $1800.

ScienceTeacher671

March 31st, 2009
6:23 pm

…or more…

bill

March 31st, 2009
9:17 pm

Sorry, special education jobs are burn out city. Pay more!

Snitter

March 31st, 2009
9:54 pm

Georgia’s budget crisis requires wise stewardship and spending where it counts—increasing student learning. As legislators, superintendents and school boards debate budget cuts and short-term stimulus monies, key factors about what kinds of spending are important in educational outcomes are becoming clearer thanks to a state-wide study of spending in high schools in North Carolina.
The 2008 study by the Carolina Institute for Public Policy, North Carolina High School Resource Allocation Study, provides clear guidance on some key questions. While overall per pupil spending in districts was not largely predictive of achievement, certain patterns of spending were. The North Carolina study found the amount of money high schools spend on regular classroom instruction does have a sizable impact on student learning outcomes. An increase of $500 per pupil spent on regular instruction is associated with a significant increase on students’ End of Course test scores. Regular classroom expenditures include teacher salaries, supplementary pay, supplies, texts, teacher assistants, tutors and library and media services. Higher expenditures on other functions also have smaller, but significant impacts on higher achievement (special education, district and administrative services, transportation). On the other hand, spending on supplementary instruction (outside the normal school day and week) is actually associated with lower student test scores—although there may be other benefits.
Certain teacher characteristics had negative effects on student learning: schools with high percentages of teachers who entered the field through alternative, temporary or emergency routes were associated with lower end of course test scores. On the other hand, teachers who graduated from highly competitive colleges had a positive impact on student learning. A surprising finding was that once temporary, provisional and alternative licenses were removed from analysis, teachers in their first three years of teaching are an asset in increasing student scores. “This may suggest that traditional teacher preparation programs are doing a better job of preparing new high school teachers than is commonly recognized” according to the authors. Clearly, hiring teachers from highly competitive schools who come through rigorous teacher education programs pays benefits for students in North Carolina’s high schools and there is no reason to think that Georgia’s schools are different. The study identified gains for schools with higher numbers of teachers with advanced degrees, National Board certification, and degrees from highly competitive schools. One of the keys in this study was taking the school faculty, rather than the individual teacher, as the unit of analysis.
The other key element identified in the North Carolina study on improving high school student achievement is leadership. Schools that were outperforming expectations had leaders that provided both the will and the capacity to succeed with demographically challenging student populations. The common characteristics of these leaders were commitment, sharing collective accountability and responsibility, and resilience. In addition, opportunities for all students to learn through carefully chosen curricular, instructional and assessment practices in an orderly and disciplined environment were the focus of effective principals. The Georgia Leadership Institute for School Improvement and the state’s new performance-based standards for principals and district leaders are doing the work of preparing and re-invigorating Georgia’s principals to meet changing leadership demands.

Reality 2

March 31st, 2009
11:05 pm

Sounds like there may be some opportunities for entrepreneurs.

I guess there will always be the question of how much the state will actually fund, but what we are looking at is getting $5000 ($1000 x 5 years) for the cost of $1600 (or $1800), isn’t it? It doesn’t sound like such a bad return for a 5-year investment…

teach1

March 31st, 2009
11:46 pm

But if you use the RESA, they say it is 3- 4 semester long courses which means if you start this summer, you may not be done until summer 2011. I do not know if they are offering courses concurrently.

So by the time you get the certification 2 years from now, you will have only 3 years ($3000) left on state funding (if it continues to be financed) so that knocks your “profit” down to $1400 after you pay for the classes minus any books or additional gas and child care needed.

I still say Ed Specialist here I come… maybe with a concentration in math. I get all my bases covered that way, a step in crease plus the math add on.

Marsh lady/science teacher

April 1st, 2009
8:50 am

I want to know what incentive veteran math and science teachers receive. I’ve taught science 11 years and paid for 2 degrees. Now teachers that ARE NOT qualified(can’t pass GACE) and are unbable to manage a classroom will get a salary increase! Ridiculous. If you think teaching middle school is easy come and spend a week or a month, not a day. All teachers need to be paid more. We hold the key to America’s future in teaching of children and yet a professional athlete is paid more. No wonder we are 47th place in education out of 49.

Lovie Jones

April 1st, 2009
8:04 pm

Math Teacher, what makes you think that SPED teachers have it easy and that we don’t know content? Speak on what you know. I am fully certified and highly qualified in all middle grade subjects. All SPED teachers that I know are forced into team teaching because of lack of space. I have learned that most math teachers teach math thee way they were taught it and no other. That is why we have so many kids struggling in math.

Reality 2

April 1st, 2009
8:34 pm

Lovie,

No disrespect, but it’s hard to believe anyone can be really “higly qualified” in all subject areas…

If you look at a typical SPED teacher prep program, they take fewer content courses than subject area teachers. Some SPED teachers’ knowledge of mathematics, for example, is rather shameful. I’m sure some SPED teachers really know some content areas, but all subject areas, I don’t think so.

bill

April 1st, 2009
8:58 pm

Sped teachers are expected to know more then any type of teacher. Think about it.

Reality 2

April 1st, 2009
9:22 pm

They certainly have knowledge that other teachers don’t. There is no question about that. However, do they know about more content (math or science in this case)? I don’t think so – with a few exceptions, I’m sure.

ScienceTeacher671

April 1st, 2009
9:28 pm

To be considered “highly qualified”, SpEd teachers have to have a designated number of credit hours in that subject. Our central office says that all the SpEd teachers are having to team teach because all the SpEd students are supposed to be in regular ed classes.

We’re having a heck of a time trying to get SpEd teachers who are highly qualified in HS content areas. I think such teachers ought to get a bonus…law of supply and demand.

Paying science and math teachers a bonus is also a good idea. We could make a lot more in the private sector – which is one reason there is a shortage. This law doesn’t seem to do much for those of us who are veteran teachers, but maybe some of us can get something under the provisions for teachers who “meet or exceed student achievement criteria”, depending upon how that is implemented.

EducatorX3

April 4th, 2009
8:15 am

Reality 2 – Many of us are “highly qualified” in multiple content areas. Like Lovie, I am certified and highly qualified to teach all content areas in middle grades. I am also certified to teach English 6-12, reading K-12, gifted K-12, have National Certification, a master’s in science education, a specialist’s in teacher leadership, and a phd in teaching and learning, but am facing a reduction in pay due to the current financial crisis. I don’t disagree with incentives for high need areas – I just wonder about the timing.

It doesn’t make sense to cut the salaries of the good teachers we have while giving a financial incentive to those who are not yet teaching.

Reality2

April 6th, 2009
11:16 am

X3

I think you are one of those few exceptions. My point, though, is we need to separate this language of “highly qualified” (which are technical and political label) from knowing content. I still believe that there are very few special education teachers who are knowledgeable in ALL content areas – just as few math teachers will be knowledgeable in English or History, or whatever. I just thought Lovie’s claim that he is “highly qualified” in all subject areas to be rather ridiculous – he (and others) may be “highly qualified” technically, but not really knowledgeable (enough) to be effective teachers of content.

Fulton HS Science Teacher

April 23rd, 2009
11:51 am

Snitter

Interesting comment about how teachers in their first three years increase student scores. I am not surprised by this statistic. I will speak using my own experience, but I have found this trend to be pretty common. In my first three years teaching, I was enthusiastic and spent many hours outside of class creating innovative lessons, making sure that every minute of classtime was well spent, and that my teaching was the best it could be. Now in year eight, I am burned out, and do not put nearly the effort into everyday that I used to. I have found out that it doesn’t matter in teaching how much work you do, or how much extra you put into class, or how good you are. You get paid the same salary as the person next door showing videos, or the PE teacher who plays dodge-ball all day and doesn’t have to grade papers, set up labs, and deal with parents. I am tired of not being respected by other professions (”those who can’t, teach”), and I am tired of not being paid like a professional. This bill just reinforces how I feel. By the way, I have a bachelor and a masters degree, and my brother, who is a high school drop out (GED) with a two year associates degree makes 30% more salary than I do. I will be changing professions after year 10.

D williams

April 26th, 2009
7:47 pm

I am a 3rd year science teacher that came through the TAPP program. I have a background in science and engineering. My thoughts on the previous post regarding data from North Carolina are that one should be careful when quoting generalities. For instance, a reference was made that when teachers from alternative pathways are involved, test scores tend to be lower. Is that a reflection of the teachers from alternative pathways or from the already low-achieving districts that they are employed by? One would have to examine the scores of these teachers (in that district) versus traditional teachers of same content (within that same district). I teach in the embattled clayton county school system. Every year that I have been in the county as a teacher, my students’ scores have significantly outpaced the county average, however the county severely lags the state. If you look at my scores, it would appear that I as an alternative teacher am underperforming relative to the state. That would be true, yet it would not reflect the gains that my students have made…. On another note, I originally put off teaching because of the money that engineers made. After 15 years in corporate, I finally came to do what it was that I truly enjoy. After year 3, however, the reality of the low wages is wreaking havoc on my bank account and in truth, I don’t have the pride that I thought I would. As many of you previously alluded to, the profession is not well respected, and quite frankly, the current system is dysfunctional and in desperate need of an overhaul. Exhibit 1, even though my students outpaced the county average by some 25 percentage points, I was told that I need to modify my teaching strategies to be more in line with the counties preferred methods of instruction. I suppose that I should adopt mediocrity and ineptness…. We’ll see. I either see a return to corporate america in the future or perhaps take the plunge after a few more years and set up my own school. The engineer in me yearns for process improvement….

MidMathScienceAugusta

December 13th, 2009
8:12 pm

So, if you are a certified math and science teacher for middle school or secondary and you decide to teach elementary do you still get the five year incentive pay( assuming you are a new teacher)?