PSC head: Little return from teachers’ advanced degrees

I was impressed with the candor at the Professional Association of Georgia Educators session at the Capitol today, most notably from Kelly Henson, the former Floyd County superintendent who now heads the Professional Standards Commission. Henson told 100 teachers in a legislative hearing room this morning that the state is not getting a reasonable return on the bonuses it pays them for advanced degrees.

Given that many members of his audience held master’s degrees, Henson was remarkably straightforward. (You would be surprised how rare that is in the Legislature.) But before I get to Henson’s comments on paying by degrees, I have to share his comment on vouchers.

“Any politician in these times who mentions vouchers should not be allowed in the Capitol,” he said. “It is absurd to talk about public funds going to private schools now. Private schools serve a wonderful purpose, but that wonderful purpose should not be funded with public dollars.”

Now back to degrees, Henson said the state paid out $880 million last year to teachers for advanced degrees. Increasingly, those degrees are coming from out-of-state and online programs that are not rigorous or relevant and are not in content areas.

“We are getting a small return on our investment, but we are not getting an $880 million return,” he said. “”Too many of those degrees are out-of-field and don’t contribute to improved student performance.”

Saying he probably takes 1,0000 calls about advanced degrees each year, Henson said, “I can count on one hand the number of teachers who didn’t start off the conversation with, ‘Will this give me a raise?”’

Now, Henson said he understands that teachers want to earn more money. It’s what motivated him to get out of the classroom in the first place and into administration. But, he said the state has to consider every penny it now spends in the context of one question: Does it improve student achievement?

And advanced degrees often don’t because of the nature of the degrees that teachers are now pursuing, he said.

“Your colleagues are taking the path of least resistance to get a pay raise,” Henson told the crowd. “We are being naive if we don’t admit that the primary reason people get degrees is for the raise. They are not getting degrees in the areas in which they teach. They are getting the easiest and most convenient degrees. They are getting degrees for the raise and not for how much it will impact their performance.”

His agency is proposing changes that will place limits on degrees:

1. Out-of-state and online degree programs must conform with the same rules that in-state institutions do.  “They will have to play by the same rules,” he said.

2. If funding is available, his agency will pre-approve degree programs so teachers don’t invest $48,000 only to find out too late that the program doesn’t qualify and won’t give them a raise.

3. So-called “related degrees,” such as teaching and learning and curriculum, must have 12 hours of content credits so that the students of a third-grade teacher getting such a degree see some benefit now, says Henson.

4. When teachers get degrees in a new field, they will only get a raise after that new field is added to their certificate.

When a teacher asked about getting a curriculum degree with the idea of eventually moving to the central office, Henson said, “If you’re a third-grade teacher now, I’m more concerned with your third-grade class now and how that degree will help the class.”

Henson was paired with Erin Hames, Gov. Sonny Perdue’s policy director and a teacher-turned-attorney.

Hames was also candid with teachers, who peppered her with questions about Perdue’s pay for performance plan. Acknowledging that details were sparse, Hames said teachers, superintendents and principals in the 23 districts who joined the state’s Race to the Top application will have a big hand in creating the plan. (Race to the Top requires a pay for performance component, and the systems will be charged with developing and piloting a plan that would be expanded statewide.)

Merit pay was only area where I thought Hames was a bit disingenuous. (Ok, maybe there was one other area. I thought she failed to address the unique calculus that her boss employed to conclude that 80 percent of teachers who took his December survey supported merit pay.)

Here’s where I felt she wasn’t frank. She talked as if the governor’s efforts to draft a statewide pay for performance plan for all school systems were still viable, even though the enabling legislation — Senate Bill 386 — has been pronounced dead by its Senate sponsor.

Hames spoke as if SB 386 was still on the table. (I didn’t get a chance to see her reaction as she turned the floor over to Henson later and he opened his presentation with,  “We know that 386 is not going anywhere. It’s dead for this year.”)

Hames maintained there are fair ways to assess teacher performance based on student performance by relying on growth models that look at how much the class as a whole progressed rather than individual students. Teachers asked her good questions on the fairness of increasing expectations while decreasing resources.

Because of cutbacks, teachers talked about not having batteries for science lab stopwatches or any copy paper. At the same time that class sizes are rising, resources are diminishing, they told Hames. How could that not impact student performance? And how, in turn, is it fair to consider pay for performance amid this financial wreckage?

“There are so many unanswered questions,” one teacher said. “I pray the state does not rush into this.”

Hames maintained that education remains  “the favored child in the budget….the No. 1 priority,” and has been protected from cuts more than anything else in state government. Henson jumped in to say that his agency suffered a 25 percent cut and that he was personally taking four furlough days next month.

If Georgia wins Race to the Top and the $462 million grant, all systems will benefit, Hames said, in that they will see improvements to data systems and upgrades to standards and assessments.

PAGE intends to post video of this session and earlier ones with Senate and House leaders. I will let you know when it goes up. Folks who were at the event should add details I missed.

(I did not get into Henson’s comments on the CRCT investigations now under way in systems with flagged schools – which ultimately will arrive at the PSC for action. Henson said it was critical to both uncover and punish cheating and to exonerate those systems where no cheating is found to have occurred.)

117 comments Add your comment

RBN

March 23rd, 2010
1:40 pm

Well, stop approving lousy courses from poor institutions then.
Reality from Governor LaLa’s young apprentice, surely you jest.

catlady

March 23rd, 2010
1:50 pm

It wasn’t calculus–it was outright lying. There is no statistical justification for his 80%. It needs to be called out as a lie.

On PfP, (like health reform) it would be nice to see the details before signing on.

catlady

March 23rd, 2010
1:51 pm

I agree about the worthless degrees from write-in, diploma mills.

Elizabeth

March 23rd, 2010
2:07 pm

Okay, I am pasting the response I just gave on the “merit pay dead blog” because it says almost everything I want to day about this.

“I KNOW that I am a much better teacher because of my two advanced degrees. I admit that part of the incentive was more money, but most of it was trying to improve myself and be a better teacher. And my two advanced degrees at Georgia State University really helped me become a knowledgeable teacher and a better teacher.

I really do not understand , however, why gettng a degree in order to make more money is such a bad thing. Teachers are at the mercy of the legislature and their local board for raises, which we all know by now do not have to be homored. Teachers cannot be “promoted” to a higher teaching position and make more money as those in business can In business you are rewarded if you increase your education and knowledge base. Yet it seems in education that you are not supposed to want to make any money even if it means you can’t support yourself and your family on what you earn. Getting an advanced degree is the only way a teachers can assure themselves of getting a pay raise independenat of the legislature. I do not happen to think that this is a sin. Even when the legislature does grant a pay raise, it is 2 or 3 per cent of a BEGINNING teacher salary regardless of how many years you have been working. Three per cent of a beginning teacher salary is small compared to 3 per cent of the salary of a teacher who has taught for 20 years. Once again, we are penalized for experience. How is this fair?

I agree that some of the fly- by -night, questionable schools with degrees should be eliminated . But my degrees are legitimate. I got both of them while teaching full time and going at night and on weekends. I got the last one while raising a small child while my husband was working nights. I paid for every penny of those degrees myself without any assistance from loans or scholarships or the HOPE. Believe me I earned them. And I am a much better teacher for doing it. And now they want to eliminate a raise that I earned by myself with no help from them. This is not only wrong, it should be illegal. Every other profession encourages employees to get more education and compensates them for it. I earned those degrees. Take the last hope of a decent pay raise away from teachers and many will leave. Wait and see.”

I only have one thing to add– how can you judge whether or not my degrees have helped me when you have NEVER been in my classroom. Talk to my first principal ( yes he is still alive) and he will tell you I was a much better teacher after I got my Master’s. Talk to the same principal and he would tell you the ame thing about my Specialist degree. How dare you make such a blanket statement and assumption? My degrees are what have enabled me to differintiate the trash of teaching the test from real teaching.They also until recently allowed me to sneak in some real teaching without being discovered. Now it’s impossible but I was still doing some real teaching 3 years ago. And my students’ test scores were higher than they are now.

Hey, It's Enrico Pallazzo!

March 23rd, 2010
2:09 pm

I do agree that out of field degrees should not automatically increase a teacher’s pay. My wife teaches in a self contained Special Ed class and has a Masters in Special Ed. She is currently pursuing a Phd in Special Ed ( currently writing her disertation. However, since these degrees are in-field; she deserves an increase in pay. She will be one of the only in-field Phd holders teaching in Special Ed in her county (large metro county). She loves being in the classroom and has no desire to move into administration. Yes, she is that wonderful.

RJ

March 23rd, 2010
2:20 pm

I know several teachers, counselors and administrators that have received their degrees from an on-line school. I don’t think that they’re all diploma mills though. I’ve been considering getting my doctorate from Boston University. Surely they’re not a diploma mill. I chose them because it’s an online school. I have no desire to travel downtown at night. Also, some schools are being called diploma mills simply because they don’t use traditional methods for acceptance. Many of these courses are taught by superintendents and school administrators. There is an expectation that teachers differentiate instruction to meet the learning needs of all students. Shouldn’t the same principle be applied to adults?

“Now, Henson said he understands that teachers want to earn more money. It’s what motivated him to get out of the classroom in the first place and into administration.”

So if you don’t pay us for our degree, what will the motivation be to get an advanced degree? And how do you pay for the degree if your salary doesn’t increase?

RJ

March 23rd, 2010
2:21 pm

Jacky Jack

March 23rd, 2010
2:28 pm

If higher degrees don’t necessarily translate into better teaching then why do you need them to teach at the college level?

Panda8

March 23rd, 2010
2:29 pm

Elizabeth… you mentioned Georgia State University. Unless your degrees were in an unrelated field to your teaching, the points in the article wouldn’t touch your degrees/pay. It is becoming more common now to do online programs for degrees that often contain very little – those are what the article appears to be eliminating.

Maureen Downey

March 23rd, 2010
2:30 pm

RJ, I have no doubt that Boston University would meet the state qualifying criteria. I think that teachers who come to the profession under performance pay will have to carefully consider advanced degrees. Your question was asked today and the answer was that teachers will have to decide whether an advanced degree would improve their classroom performance, which would bring them a salary increase. On its own, the degree would not trigger any salary jump.
Maureen

We earned it and deserve it!

March 23rd, 2010
2:34 pm

I earned my advanced degree. I went back to school, took out student loans, left my family to go to class, paid babysitters, and worked hard. You cannot take away the pay for a degree. If you do, there will be a backlash in education like you have never seen before. You think public education is in trouble now, take away our pay and see what happens. My increase in pay is currently being used to pay off the student loans I took out to get it!

RobertNAtl

March 23rd, 2010
2:44 pm

Well, those certainly were candid remarks by Kelly Henson! Hooray for candid remarks!!

My question for the oh-so-candid Mr. Henson, however, is whether the state is getting an adequate return on its investment in administrators like Mr. Henson? Do administrators like Mr. Henson “improve student achievement,” and if so, how, exactly? Or did most administrators become administrators in the first place simply because they were “seeking a raise,” like all those teachers were?

He’s right that the state needs to consider “every penny it now spends in the context of one question: Does it improve student achievement?” I would submit, however, that the question is many times more relevant with respect to administrators such as Mr. Hanson than it is with respect to teachers.

Hope I get lots of candor points, too!

Clarence

March 23rd, 2010
2:45 pm

I am consistently impressed with Mr. Henson. I wish he were interested in statewide elected office…

Oh no!

March 23rd, 2010
2:48 pm

I do not see anywhere in this article where she says whether this would be for new degrees or for those of us who already have earned them. I also fail to see how a degree earned in curriculum and instruction is not directly related to student learning. I really could not say it better than Elizabeth did. They put up the hoops, we jumped through them and now we are the bad guys?? If there are certain schools that were “diploma mills”, then deal directly with those particular schools. Please do not punish all of us.

scapegoats?

March 23rd, 2010
2:48 pm

sounds like the admin bowed up and said teachers you are the new wiping boys that we are going to blame everything on. I believe a campaign to replace these ppl that gave teachers a lecture should be in order. Where is the policitan that will clean out the dept of education? these ppl should be standing up for teachers; a well paid workforce does perform better; yea, we have weak teachers, so get rid of them.

We need ppl in office that are concerned for the state of GA and not their own selfish agenda; I know better than you, so sit down and shut up

on point

March 23rd, 2010
3:08 pm

You know, I get that there are people out there with advanced degrees from diploma mills. When an educational degree rests solely on chat-room banter and no evaluated practice in the classroom, I can see why it would provide a return on investment.

But here’s what I would like to know: who is coming up to these teachers and saying, “Sorry, your degree is no longer valid?” I am amazed at politicians and parents who think that they can walk in and tell me how to educate myself better, let alone how to run my classroom better.

This whole line of bashing advanced degrees is like me walking into an office and telling an accountant his MBA in accounting is no longer valid – that the degree does not provide a return on investment. But didn’t it help that person get a better job? Don’t our schools like to tout how many teachers on staff have advanced degrees?

I have no problem with the PSC determining how many new teachers can get a pay raise based on their degree . . .but if you let the cat out of the bag, it’s kind of hard to put it back in, you know?

By the way, not all teachers want to be adminstrators. And it’s not like there are enough of those opprotunities for each teacher who wishes to raise their salary. While I respect administrators, I prefer to stay in the classroom and choose a different path to raise my salary.

on point

March 23rd, 2010
3:37 pm

oops – change that in the first paragraph to “not” provide

atlpinto

March 23rd, 2010
3:45 pm

So short sighted… Wait another 5 to 10 years and the districts will see thier pool of potential administrators dry up. 90% of the students in my admin (spec)classes did not want to leave the classroom today, but maybe in the future. The new rule of not paying for your admin degree stopped me and about 10 other teachers from getting our Dr in admin. The districts will have to start hiring admins with no degrees. Who wants to be an administrator and go to school at night for the next 4 years…

high school teacher

March 23rd, 2010
3:46 pm

“If higher degrees don’t necessarily translate into better teaching then why do you need them to teach at the college level?”

Conversely, if higher degress translate into better teaching, then why aren’t they required for the classroom?

Suze Berry

March 23rd, 2010
3:46 pm

I agree with some points, and say “pa-tooey” to others. I received both my M.Ed. and my Ed.S. from Georgia Southern and it was not easy. It was rewarding, and I learned so very much, but easy wasn’t a word I’d use for it. At the same time, I’ve spoken with fellow teachers who have worked on online degrees and been angry/frustrated/irritated/shocked – pick the word here – with the lack of standards. No GRE or MAT for acceptance. No dissertation or thesis required for graduation. Unreal. So, yeah, I agree that it’s time to set some state standards on these programs (I actually thought these already existed!) and ensure that the rigor is there across the board.

On the other hand, I have to agree with the comments above. How “progressive” of them to make a blanket – and not even data driven – statement about the ineffectiveness of advanced degrees. First of all, advanced degrees are not just for increasing your ability to “teach” they’re for exanding your knowledge of data and statistics, for developing your strengths as an education leader across the board, and for giving you extra skills useful to increasing or growing your teaching ability on a regular basis. How narrow minded, how limited in thinking, and insulting can these so-called leaders be?

Oh, yes, I forget. This is from the same team of state officials who failed to pass HB1097, the mandated school start date bill. Why? Because it would be harmful to students or would hinder their academic careers? Heavens, no. Because it would interfere with teacher furloughs and teacher pay cuts.

Georgia better get its head out of the sand, or our next generation is going to be as unskilled, stupid, and ignorant as they’re raising them to be.

oldtimer

March 23rd, 2010
3:48 pm

I must say, part of the education for a Master’s and EDS (GSU, UGA) came from interaction in the class. I loved discussing what worked and why. Mu husband has taught on-line classes and hates them. He, like me, prefers the verbal interaction. Also, doing exams etc in the class adds some accountbility and honesty to the grade. No one should get any kind of degree on line entirely. And, yes, we both worked, went to school, and took care of our children.

Ima Teacher

March 23rd, 2010
4:15 pm

Teachers who get advanced degrees to “get a pay raise” are not taking the “easy way” to getting more money, they’re taking THE ONLY way to get more money.I am a single woman, working on an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership (not the field I am in now)from Argosy University Atlanta.I can tell you, Mr. Henson, that Argosy is NOT a degree mill. Our classes are blended (part online, part in class), and I had to have 36 hours for my Specialist degree. Then there are 5 additional classes I have to take before I take my Comps (for the second time); then, I write the dissertation. It is a rigorous program. Certainly more rigorous than some of the classes I took at Georgia State to get additional certification in a field that is not the same as the one I got my undergraduate and Masters in. People’s interests change over the 30 years of teaching, and while I do not have plans to leave the classroom for an administrative position next year, that’s not to say I won’t do that in the future. That’s what education does–it prepares you for the future.

Only in education do we not reward an employee for an advanced degree!How ironic and sad. In fact, we punish them and insult them by saying that their advanced degree doesn’t benefit the children they teach. Of course, my students benefit from my advanced degree! I have spent the past two years reading and doing research on the latest trends, problems, solutions to the problems, and best practices in education.I have already changed and improved my instruction, and the administrators at my school benefit from having a teacher leader in their building.

How dare you even suggest that our advanced degrees don’t benefit our students! Shame on you, and shame on every legislator and the governor who believes this lie.

John

March 23rd, 2010
4:20 pm

A master’s degree for a teacher in early childhood or elementary education is worthless and should not enhance their pay at all. In addition, unless a teacher has a degree from a university that actually requires students to attend real classes rather than online, that teacher should not be certified or even considered for a job by any school system in Georgia. That is simply exercising common sense.

Jasmine Tea

March 23rd, 2010
4:21 pm

@Jacky Jack
You are completely wrong about college – in two different ways. You aren’t suggesting all college professors are wonderful teachers just because they have advanced degrees, are you?

They need advanced degrees IN THEIR FIELDS because they are required to teach more advanced topics in their fields. I don’t see how getting a PhD in mathematics really helps you teach 3rd grade math any better.

This whole issue boils down to how to measure teaching effectiveness. Of course, before we can measure anything, we have to agree on what it is that we are trying to measure, too. Teachers say advanced degrees made them better teachers, but what are their proofs? Maybe that’s where we can start our discussion about what “good teachers” mean.

TeacherWith3Degrees

March 23rd, 2010
4:51 pm

Both Henson and Hames can shove it. What the crap do they know about return for anything or pay for performance? I have three degrees from three states and I assure the easiest and cheapest was from a state graduate school right here in the great state of Georgia. Please make sure that all grad degrees meet the states strenuous requirements like my Ed S. in Leadership. I actually attended courses with people down there that could not speak clearly or hardly read or write and they were already administrators in south Georgia. You never know, if they keep cutting my teacher pay I may have to join the darkside and go into admin myself.

However, the payscale is very attractive compared to neighboring states which makes the move to GA worth it. If the politicians trash the payscale, good luck attracting educators with superior intelligence.

Oh no!

March 23rd, 2010
4:56 pm

Thank you Ima Teacher! You said it very well. Why should we punished for taking the initiative to take the ONLY path we could to better pay? Does it not take motivation, hard work, sacrifice and don’t forget thousands and thousands of dollars of tuition for a person to work full time AND go to graduate school? I cannot speak for the supposed “diploma mills” because I did not go to one. All I know is I spent hours driving to and from class, reading, writing papers, doing research and studying new approaches to teaching and learning. Why does this make me greedy?? How do they know they aren’t getting any return on their investment? They do not even know me! They LOVED to quote the high percentages of teachers with advanced degrees when it made them look better! I am just tired of having to read on a daily basis that we are all greedy, lazy, and money hungry. Welcome to the new progressive agenda. Mediocrity is rewarded and everyone is brought down to the same lower but equal level.

irisheyes

March 23rd, 2010
5:42 pm

At least someone is thinking somewhat reasonably. Rather than just tossing out the salary steps for advanced degrees altogether, add some qualifications. I am going to an online university, but it has NCATE accreditation, so I know it’s no diploma mill. So far, I’ve felt it’s been MORE rigorous than some brick and mortar schools. I can’t go to a brick and mortar school. I work full time, have three kids, and my husband works an opposite shift so that we don’t have to pay daycare. The best time for me to go to school is 9:00 at night! So, that’s when I work. I’ve already seen the return on only one term of schooling in my teaching.

GA Teach

March 23rd, 2010
6:13 pm

Let me keep my pay raises for my level of education and experience. People are crazy if they think teachers with years of classroom experience should not get paid more. Does anyone remember their first years of teaching……….just bring in a bunch of new young teachers……you will see more headlines……..not the good ones…….Educational experience, higher degree programs that help promote best practices, and teach teachers how to bring more rigor into the class….They do help improve education. It is not about what we teach, but how we teach it to our students. Content programs do not teach you how to become a teacher they only test your knowledge of the content.

Georgia struggles in Math and Science….hmmmm, because they give jobs to people who have no clue how to teach. Wait….they have a PhD in Biology…..they should be able to teach students and the students should excel on test…..Wait….their scores are lower then the teacher with a degree in education. Why?….because education programs teach best practices.

I will go on merit pay……Low achieving schools only……Then you can measure average test scores and gains.

0-5 years experience: 40,000.00 5% bonus 80% (Any standardized test) Pass/ 7.5 bonus 90% pass (of base), (with optional 2% if their scores are higher then the state and nation)

5-10 years experience: 50,000.00 7.5% bonus 80% (Any standardized test) Pass/ 10% bonus 90% pass (of base), (with optional 4% if their scores are higher then the state and nation)

15-20 years experience: 60,000.00: 10% bonus 80% (Any standardized test) Pass/ 12.5% bonus 90% pass (of base), (with optional 6% if their scores are higher then the state and nation)

20 years and higher experience: 70,000.00: 12.5% bonus 80% (Any standardized test) Pass/ 15% bonus 90% pass (of base) (with optional 8% if their scores are higher then the state and nation)

Here ya go….This is the only way a teacher can get close to the pay of a “football coach” Mr. Perdue. Guess what I worked in sales and this is more like the model we used……but I do not trust that you will pay us like this……we work more hours then 40 and most no less then 60 a week. Plus we teach, plan, coach, sponsor clubs, advise, mentor, call parents, email parents, sit through teacher development, and have 20 min lunches w/ students….Wait we do this even once we get home. Talk to any special needs teacher, and I am sure they can go over the IEP process. I promise that these do not get done at school during the work day……See….teachers teach during the day, and work at night on how to teach the next day……….let’s not forget about GRADING….I spend painful/countless hours grading…..If you are not a teacher you will not understand, and if you are a bad teacher you would not understand…….Funny….did all the bad teachers become politicians.

Teaching in FL is worse

March 23rd, 2010
6:22 pm

To those who naysay online classes, I must wholeheartedly disagree. I took one class for my masters online and believe that it was my favorite. As a matter of fact, it was the one I probably learned the most from! (It was on educational law)

Online classes are like amything else-you get out of it what you put into it.

BTW, I started my specialist in January and really enjoyt it. I don’t feel like I need to apologize for it.

GA Teach

March 23rd, 2010
6:28 pm

Just so everyone knows…..most head high school football coaches make more then 90,000……..I guess I will never see that……..much money in my bank account because I am not a head football coach…….Mr Perdue? Bye, Bye…..I hope the door does not hit you only they way out. Republicans be sure that RTTT is a dems agenda….You might not want that attached to your name in this political climate……..Supers….you might want to make sure you have balanced the budgets properly, because they are going to come back to you next year…..Mr W…….You defended the RTTT model……so Gwinnett could get 60 million dollars that will only fill the gap for one year. The political tide is turning in Gwinnett you might want to watch out. Board members might want to think twice about what they approve……

Sense and Sensibility

March 23rd, 2010
6:51 pm

Most states are desperate for good teachers that they have fast track programs.. maybe if they are not getting a good return on investment is because they created the problem themselves. In their desperation to fill slots in the classroom they fill them with people who came out of the private arena and business sector. I have seen this happen quite a bit with unsuccessful results. They leave the first month or sooner. Now you have to scramble to fill the position with a pool of applicants left over.. hmm connection maybe??? Now im not saying all private sector employees are bad. I’ve seen some good ones, but because they have had some sort of life experience dealing with children. Just remember before they lost their job they were the same ones saying.. jeez..I don’t know how you do it..!!!?? I could never be a teacher!! The state only has itself to blame for its dilema and no one else. Ive been teaching for 10 years, have a masters degree that I earned from a very reputable university and I have to take a 70 dollar test to show what I know, but have gotten excellent teacher reviews for 10 years. Its a sham and a shame that college grads in education all have to take these 70 dollar tests.. Its just a money game and no one can convince me otherwise. How many graduates to you have each year who have to take this test and multiply it by 140 dollars because you have to take 2 tests usually. Yet you have sat through class.. earned your grade at a state approved school.. received a guaranteed degree from the university and your professors and have done student teaching!!! and now have to prove what you know? What a scam. Now I have to take a 6% decrease in pay this year and last year 5% and rising health care costs? Ive lost 15% or more.. How long do you think it will take me to make that up? They take away 6% one year do you honestly think they will give that back in that chunk.. heck no!! 2% if your lucky so now I’m behind at least 5 years or more compared to others.. It doesnt add up! Just a thought.. what if no one returned their teaching contracts this year??? They’ve broken the contract , what makes you think they wont again.?? integrity .. I dont think so!! What a shame this is what it’s come down to.

Teacher/Learner

March 23rd, 2010
7:06 pm

“(I did not get into Henson’s comments on the CRCT investigations now under way in systems with flagged schools – which ultimately will arrive at the PSC for action. Henson said it was critical to both uncover and punish cheating and to exonerate those systems where no cheating is found to have occurred.)”

This clearly needs to be addressed on another thread, but is included in this article so here goes…

The CHEATING cannot be proven. Do I have my doubts about those scores in some classrooms where I taught 10 years ago and know the kids likely to be in those classrooms still? Sure I do, I reaised my eyebrows bigtime last spring when I heard one particular school had 100% of the kids produce at least 800 on CRCT! BUT, statistics are not going to “prove” anything relate to cheating. What we have to do now is crack down and make sure nothing happens again.

A bigger concern needs to focus on making public that although CRCT is aligned with our high quality educational standards, it is NOT aligned with the LEVEL of thinking and performance required by GPS . It is a relatively low level assessment, requiring low level thinking. Students meeting the 800 cut score is not something we can use to demonstrate big gians in achievement. Continued lack of educating the general public about the reality of the level of achievement CRCT can and cannot measure focuses a light on another type of cheating….

justbrowsing

March 23rd, 2010
7:23 pm

It is no wonder that they decide to address advanced degrees in a public view as one of credentialising. There is not one professional which I know within my field, who has not used the knowledge and skills acquired in their degree programs for the benefits of not only the students, and the schools, but also for administrators who need assistance with meeting required deadlines and the like. This conversation should have been had many moons ago if there was a sincere concern regarding the legitimacy of an online program. To broach this topic during our worst recession causes me to not only question the intentionality of that statement, but to go one step further in acknowledging that Georgia has little respect for the profession, and has a problem with compensating people for the work they do.

MS Man

March 23rd, 2010
7:43 pm

I think the real issue is the relevance of the degrees to the classroom instruction. I also think that the PSC could work on getting the universities and colleges to be approved by their standards instead of approving/disapproving each teacher’s advanced degree. Mr. Henson mentions this in the pre-approval process before getting an advanced degree. I would also say that just because a school is online doesn’t mean that it isn’t rigorous. It may not be your learning style, but I would venture that online courses require a greater deal of introspection, reflection, and the ability to succintly communicate. In an online course, you have to answer the questions, you can’t just sit in the class and let the discussion wash all over you. I have been in many courses, both undergrad and master’s, where there were 40-200 students in a class and I didn’t have to be engaged at all in the lecture hall if I didn’t want to be. Online, there is accountable for all the students.

booklover

March 23rd, 2010
7:56 pm

Of course teachers ask about the pay raise!!

How ELSE are we supposed to pay for the degrees?!

I’m still paying off my undergraduate degree (from a top-50 private research university) and my masters (from a public uni in GA), but I would go get my doctorate in my subject area (English) and continue to teach high school IF 1) I could afford it with my current debt load and shrinking paycheck, and 2) I could find a good brick-and-mortar program nearby. Like the vast majority of teachers, I love learning and I truly love my subject area.

Teachers can only attend classes in the evenings and weekends, and if you want us to study something “relevant” (why isn’t “curriculum and instruction” relevant?), we may need to go to an online university. I am 100% in support of equal requirements for online and traditional universities.

Where is the data to indicate that higher degrees don’t make teachers better? I’m not sure anyone with less than a master’s degree should be allowed to teach at the secondary level. We should always be a few steps ahead of our students.

booklover

March 23rd, 2010
7:59 pm

Here’s another argument supporting higher degrees for teachers:

It is beneficial for the teacher to be a student. I think teachers should be REQUIRED to be students (real students, not “students” in some “professional learning unit” regurgitation session) at least once a decade.

catlady

March 23rd, 2010
8:05 pm

Several of my colleagues are getting degrees that make me ashamed for them. I have seen their work requirements, and they are, at best, undergraduate level. I am asked to participate in the most Mickey Mouse “research” studies. It is painful. Yet we have many teachers and administrators with degrees from these places. Some are private “colleges” within Georgia, some outside of Georgia, but they share a few characteristics related to faculty, admissions, and cost.

Let’s get rid of the problem schools/programs/degrees, and quit lumping all the advanced degrees together.

I find it very hard to believe SACS can accredit these programs with a straight face!

Lee

March 23rd, 2010
8:20 pm

Paying PE teachers with Phd’s. Do I really need to say anymore?

Norma Rae

March 23rd, 2010
8:35 pm

Another reason why this state is so backward. I have NEVER heard of advanced degrees being poo-poo-ed the way they are here in Georgia. Unbelievable. Bottom line, this state does not want to pay our salaries. This state does not value education, or its commitments to educators, first the National Board teachers, and now going after advanced degree-holders. Sonny and company, this is your legacy.

Educator2

March 23rd, 2010
9:34 pm

Why is it a sin to pay teachers a decent salary?? Why are we perceived differently than all other professions regarding the value of degrees and experience?? Why are doctors, lawyers, nurses, accountants, etc. paid according to their degrees but teachers are criticized?? Why are UPS workers with a high school diploma paid more than a 10-year teacher with a master’s degree? Teachers are at the mercy of the Georgia legislators and the school system for a cost of living raise every year. Degrees are the only way to get a predictable raise!! Why did Henson leave the teaching profession, by his own admission he wanted a raise! I find it hypocritical that he criticizes the classroom teachers for trying to make a decent salary just as he did for himself. Wow! How quickly administrators forget what it feels like to a classroom teacher!! How quickly Henson forgot how it feels to be underpaid. The calls from teachers who are inquiring about increased pay should be interpreted, as thousands of teachers feel underpaid rather than teachers are money hungry and they do not care about their student’s achievement. We have a right to be paid for our skills, as all other professions. The blanket statement that teachers are only seeking a pay raise is disingenuous. Could the questioning from teachers be due to verifying that the educational program meets the set requirements? Do not criticize the teachers for the “diploma mills”. The Professional Standards Commissions decides what schools qualify for a raise. The blame falls on PSC not teachers. I have no problem with “reselecting” reputable colleges and universities for our advanced studies. This reselection should cease the ridiculous implication that degrees are ineffective to classroom instruction.

Educator2

March 23rd, 2010
9:48 pm

Norma Rae- I agree the bottom line is Georgia just does not want to pay teachers a decent salary regardless of what we do to improve our profession. For example, none of these matter when you are a teacher -advances degrees, National Board Certification, master teacher programs, number of years experience, etc. It is all about paying us less and while requiring more, another good example of this is the merit pay proposal. Lower pay tactics are suggested every year.

Educator2

March 23rd, 2010
9:52 pm

Why is it a sin to pay teachers a decent salary?? Why are we perceived differently than all other professions regarding the value of degrees and experience?? Why are doctors, lawyers, nurses, accountants, etc. paid according to their degrees but teachers are criticized?? Why are UPS workers with a high school diploma paid more than a 10-year teacher with a master’s degree?

Teachers are at the mercy of the Georgia legislators and the school system for a cost of living raise every year. Degrees are the only way to get a predictable raise!! Why did Henson leave the teaching profession, by his own admission he wanted a raise! I find it hypocritical that he criticizes the classroom teachers for trying to make a decent salary just as he did for himself. Wow! How quickly administrators forget what it feels like to a classroom teacher!! How quickly Henson forgot how it feels to be underpaid. The calls from teachers who are inquiring about increased pay should be interpreted, as thousands of teachers feel underpaid rather than teachers are money hungry and they do not care about their student’s achievement. We have a right to be paid for our skills, as all other professions. The blanket statement that teachers are only seeking a pay raise is disingenuous. Could the questioning from teachers be due to verifying that the educational program meets the set requirements?

Do not criticize the teachers for the “diploma mills”. The Professional Standards Commissions decides what schools qualify for a raise. The blame falls on PSC not teachers. I have no problem with “reselecting” reputable colleges and universities for our advanced studies. This reselection should cease the ridiculous implication that degrees are ineffective to classroom instruction.

Vox

March 23rd, 2010
10:18 pm

Re: RobertNAtl March 23rd, 2010

Thank you for calling it like is…. The Governor, State and local superintendants want it both ways… They wanted praise for having so many graduate degreed & highly qualified teachers to brag about the State or their distric regardless of the SOURCE or PURPOSE of the degree. Now that they can’t afford (or won’t pay for them), they are telling you there is NO RETURN on the investment.

Talk about a state of two-faced and unrepentant liars!!

Anonymous Jones

March 23rd, 2010
10:33 pm

Where does Hames get her info? She stated that education was more protected than anything else in the budget. She is very wrong and all she would have to do is go to the Governor’s budget for the legislature and the judiciary. Hardly any cuts at all. I know! There’s nothing to be cut there but it’s OK for students to be more crowded by raising the student-teacher ratio and cutting teacher’s pay. When did a judge give up any pay? Are they more important than a teacher? Check out cuts to the Department of Corrections. Are prisoners more important than our children? Before Perdue, K-12 represented about 65% of the Georgia budget. Long before the recession so don’t blame that. Now, K-12 is barely more than 50%. Figure out where your GOP legislators’ priorities are. It ain’t education! As for 80% of the teachers responding to the survey in favor of merit pay, those teachers must have been in private schools. I can’t even find five teachers in favor of merit pay. Merit pay is a euphemism for “Let’s pay 75% of the teachers less.”. How does an art or music teacher qualify? How about any teacher other than math, language, science, or social science?

Private School Guy

March 23rd, 2010
10:37 pm

We’ve have gotten into a vicious cycle by having the only path to greater income being advanced degrees. Many programs at colleges of education pale in comparison to similar programs in other fields. They exist only so teachers can increase salary. There should only be so many slots for teachers with advanced degrees available at schools it should not be an automatic perk. The PfP issue further complicates that matter. In public education PfP should start with administrators. They should also give administrators the power to fiscally reward the teaching staff that improves their schools. Trying to come up with some formula for everyone will never work. More administrators also need to be fired or demoted. When this starts happening I think we will see a better caliber of people going into school administration.

d

March 23rd, 2010
11:05 pm

As I was asking a friend who is not in education — does a veterinarian tell him to do his job? Why does one think he can tell teachers how to do ours?

Norma Rae

March 23rd, 2010
11:19 pm

There also seems to be a good deal of resentment and bitterness from the general public about teacher salaries, yet they all want their little darlings to be catered to. Why should teachers be made to feel that they are not worthy of a decent salary? Sonny must have had a teacher toward whom he still holds a grudge.

just the facts...

March 23rd, 2010
11:47 pm

40 of the 48 states whose students score better on standard test require a masters degree to teach at any level..GA discourages this, and onders why it struggles Could it be they grew up in GA?

Lumpkin Bumpkin

March 23rd, 2010
11:56 pm

Why don’t some of these candid folks look at what Pittsburgh is doing with their version of PFP? They seem to have found a solution that has promising results so far without throwing the teachers under the bus to save a buck.

teacher2

March 24th, 2010
7:58 am

When are doctors going to be scrutinized based on a medical degree from Emory or the University of Haiti?

Same with lawyers, judges, or fill in the blank. Show me one one person who pursued an advanced degree without the motivation to gain a better employment position or status?

I moved my family here due to the OPPORTUNITY to earn more. I did not make up the teacher pay system I work under in Georgia. If the politicians pay all teachers $20,000 a year here and Alabama will pay $40,000, now what will happen to the pool of available teachers?

I was warned about this place being a redneck operation when we moved here and boy has the image been made true.