Is Gwinnett using non-renewals to thin the ranks? Why is Fulton keeping grad coaches?

Some questions and e-mails I have been getting on school cuts that I thought I would put out there for comment: Feel free to e-mail me others.

1. Why isn’t Fulton cutting graduation coaches? A Fulton employee called me to ask why school counselors and psychologists are on the chopping block and not graduation coaches? (She had her suspicions why — a personal connection — but I suspect there are other reasons.)

2. This comment came to me from the husband of a Gwinnett teacher. (This issue has been raised by many people.  I have called Gwinnett last month as I have been hearing a lot of this. See comment below.)

I  urge your paper to do some investigation of Gwinnett County’s layoff practices.  My wife’s contract was not renewed for performance reasons.  She has not had even one negative mark on her employment record.  Her principal could not give her any specific reasons for the non-renewal.  My wife is a third year, highly qualified teacher.

This incident alone is not enough to warrant investigation, but when my wife has heard stories that are identical in circumstances to hers it requires action.  Gwinnett County is going under the radar and not getting this in the press; they obviously don’t want to damage their reputations.  Instead, they harm individual teacher reputations.  This is not right.

Personally, this was stressful for our family.  It would be one thing just to lay off teachers and claim budget cuts, but to claim performance concerns when there are clearly not any unethical.  PLEASE, dig into this.  Innocent people’s reputations are being hurt.

When I called a few weeks ago about non-renewals of teachers who maintain they had strong evaluations records, I spoke to Sloan Roach, who said these were normal non-renewals and were not an attempt to lower staffing through trumped-up suggestions of poor performance. She then followed up with this e-mail:

I have checked with Human Resources and decisions to non-renew an employee are based on performance-related issues. This is true with the current economic situation, and would be true during better times, as well.

An employee recommended for non-renewal has the option to resign, but that is the employee’s decision. You had asked if someone resigns can they reapply… there are no rules prohibiting someone who resigned from reapplying for a position in the school system.

Sloan Roach
Executive Director of Communication and Media Relations Gwinnett County Public Schools

But, then I got this e-mail about non-renewals in another metro county from a teacher whose husband was a principal:

I know this to be true, and not only from a teacher’s perspective.  My husband (recently retired) was directed, as a principal, to do this type of non-renewal, inspite of his fervent protests and evaluations against it.

188 comments Add your comment

dbow

April 22nd, 2010
11:38 am

So, if I have documentation of evaluations that are positive, how can they suddenly say I’m ineffectual? I smell a court battle. Settled out of court of course.

John Q

April 22nd, 2010
11:42 am

Happening in Cobb as well. Teachers with no blemishes on their record being dismissed. The only common thread – less tha 3 yrs experience.

Meme

April 22nd, 2010
11:42 am

What do the rules in Georgia say? Unless you have a contract they can get rid of you and they don’t have to give a reason. If they don’t offer you a contract, my guess is that you are out of luck.

Tenure in GA

April 22nd, 2010
12:01 pm

Only after the fourth full-year contract is signed does a teacher in Georgia have “tenure.” Non-renewal to that point apparently can be for any reason, which is probably why schools aren’t giving the fourth contract to these teachers. They’re already saying they’ll cut and then see how many positions they’ll need to fill after RIF and retirement, correct? PAGE has an FAQ on the tenure situation at http://www.pageinc.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=7#Non_Tenure

Priorities

April 22nd, 2010
12:05 pm

One of the graduation coaches in our county is darn near worthless. They messed up both of my older girls schedules and put them at risk of not graduating on time. Staff who’s function is to educate children full time should be retained before any administrative or counseling position.

Connection?

April 22nd, 2010
12:05 pm

In Fulton, there is a central office employee whose spouse is a graduation coach, but it’s not clear that the central office employee has enough power to sway decisions like that.

GA Teach

April 22nd, 2010
12:15 pm

We are a right to work state. That means to break the one year contract you would have to have blemishes on your record and go through the proper PDP to correct the issue. If they do not renew your contract…..oh well…..all they have to say is that it is their right as an employer in Georgia not to keep you on staff…..See I tried to tell everyone that we did not have Unions for teachers in Georgia…..Why create a Pay for Performance system if we can already let teachers go fro not performing well in class. They only have to go jump through hoops if it is during get in trouble while under contract. .

Mother in Fulton

April 22nd, 2010
12:19 pm

I have never understood the need for the “Graduation Coach”. There are several counselors at every high school who’s main job is to ensure that students are getting the credits they need to graduate. Why not expand their role? The whole position was a boondoggle from the start.

Even less logical – graduation coaches at the elementary and middle school level. But they exist! They’re there – making a nice fat salary to sit in their office NOT contacting or tutoring at-risk students. Instead, they contact the EIP teachers etc reminding them to do more tutoring with the at-risk kids.

Pointless.

Non-Renewed Teacher

April 22nd, 2010
12:20 pm

I am also a 3rd-year teacher in Gwinnett County and my contract has been non-renewed for next year. When I requested a reason from the superintendent, I was told it was “based on concerns with my performance.” I have 3 years worth of all satisfactory evaluations and observations, and when I asked my principal what these concerns were, he said he didn’t know. The only thing he said is there is a lot of talk about “tenure.” If they are doing this for budget cuts, then they need to be honest. My reputation as a teacher has now been ruined and I fear that I will not be able to get another teaching position. Who is going to want to hire me now that I have had a contract not renewed based on performance, even though it is a flat out lie? I have already been in touch with a lawyer, but even they told me there is not much I can do about it. I think that there should be a lawsuit. It is one thing to lay me off because of the budget crisis, it is another to completely destroy my name so they don’t look bad.

frustrated

April 22nd, 2010
12:21 pm

Connection – central office employee? Don’t you mean head of Human Resources? How convenient.

Devils Advocate

April 22nd, 2010
12:23 pm

I know that there is probably some abuse here, but isn’t it possible that sometimes a good teacher just isn’t in the right school? Good teachers can be bad fits. It probably happens all the time through transfers and displacements, but in this current climate, it stands out like a sore thumb.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Maureen Downey. Maureen Downey said: Is Gwinnett using non-renewals to thin the ranks? Why is Fulton keeping grad coaches? http://bit.ly/boCQ0F [...]

Sid

April 22nd, 2010
1:06 pm

Because they can, until someone (courts) tell them not to.

The Superintendent of Gwinnett and the system as a hole is very close to the vest and not honest or trustworthy in my expereinces with them.

I know a case where a tenured teacher left the system, and he was good- he helped turn my daughter around- because of non-support.

Until teachers wake up and fight for themselves they will be led to the slaughter year after year. good luck.

Why?

April 22nd, 2010
1:17 pm

I sympathize with the teachers but a WHOLE lot of other occupations are taking big hits in this economy. Too many of the posts here are coming across as whiny and selfish. Its okay to vent but it doesn’t garner you much sympathy.

Dunwoody Mom

April 22nd, 2010
1:27 pm

Ah, yes, Alvin Wilbanks. What a guy…. ’nuff said…

BW

April 22nd, 2010
1:28 pm

A teacher that does not have tenure (first three years of a contract) by law does not have to be given a reason for termination. Now the ethical thing to do is give them a reason and move on. Teachers can be RIF’ed as well and that is being terminated for a reduction in force due to declining enrollment or in this case, cutbacks.
If a teacher has tenure and they have performance issues, even then you are suppose to given them an opportunity to improve their instruction throughout the year.
I think an administrator is treading on thin ice if they terminate a tenured teacher for job performance without any formal evaluation and documentation.

bell curve

April 22nd, 2010
1:32 pm

Why? Why post this. This is the “get schooled” blog and is the appropriate place to ask questions about school policy.

Just a thought...

April 22nd, 2010
1:56 pm

@ GA Teach – That is NOT what a Right to Work State mean. Right to Work stems from the Taft-Hartley Act and says that if you work in an industry that is dominated by a Union, you cannot be forced to join the union as a condition of our emplyment.

Man, if I had a dollar for every time I hear “Right to Work” being misused….

Dekalbite

April 22nd, 2010
2:01 pm

In DeKalb Schools, we have been going through the “Coach” battle as parents/taxpayers want to know why we are losing teacher positions when tens of millions are spent on certified personnel who do not teach children.

Per the state Salary and Travel audit, DCSS has:
A. Instructional Coaches:
80 of them and they account for $6,169,962 in salaries and around $1,542,490 in benefits for a total of $7,712,452 a year
$96,405 per Coach per year in salary and benefits
B. Graduation Coaches:
48 of them and they account for $2,778,980 and with benefits that figure goes to $3,473,725
$72,369 per Coach per year in salary and benefits
C. Literacy Coaches:
13 of them and they account for $835,352 and with benefits their cost is $1,044,190
$80,322 per Coach per year in salary and benefits

$12,230,367 (an average of $86,882 per Coach) for 141 certified teachers who never teach a single student.

Take a look at your system’s Salary and Travel audit on the Georgia DOE website. You will be amazed at the number of teachers in non-teaching positions and the tens of millions spent on them.

http://www.open.georgia.gov/sta/viewMain.aud

Honorable Teacher

April 22nd, 2010
2:12 pm

I also experienced problems working as a teacher in Gwinnett. My previous experience had been exemplary upon taking a position as an elementary teacher in Gwinnett school system. I was a Teacher of the Year, had received accolades throughout my ten years of teaching, and had been a teacher that had assisted the majority of my students in passing and exceeding state tests. But what a difference it was in Gwinnett! I believe that alot of the negative attitude towards me was nothing but racism. I was ridiculed, hassled, and received a PDP based on “opinion” of an Assistant Principal who had only worked in private schools in north Georgia. My students were top of the third grade throughout the year in all of the district and school tests, yet I was continually harrassed. At the end of the year, my students scored well above the school, district and state. Every student passed and exceeded in every subject area. There was a proctor during the testing so no opportunity was present for “cheating.” But, I was not surprised at the results. My love and dedication for teaching was what contributed to my being a Teacher of the Year in another state. But Gwinnett….UGHHHHHHHHH! I loved the students but could not wait to leave that system. Gwinnett lost a teacher who loves her job. I never looked back. Today, I am in a county that I get respect and have the freedom to teach. Thank God for guiding me to a county that appreciates my love for educating children.

GoodforKids

April 22nd, 2010
2:26 pm

More questions than answers but…
The Graduation Coaches were a major initiative of Perdue’s, yes? I assumed they were funded by the state, not the county. Am I wrong? If I am, then the question of why they were not cut definitely bears repeating to Loe and FCBOE. As a former elementary school counselor with many colleagues still in the business, we were unhappy when graduation coaches came along because they were supposed to do what good school counselors are doing yet they were not required to have any specific degree that would provide the training they might need to be good at what they were to do (work with middle and high school students at-risk of not graduating and do whatever it takes to help them graduate).
Off to bus stop but Maureen, do you know about their funding source and requirements? And weren’t they one of Sonny’s pet initiatives?

@Good for Kids

April 22nd, 2010
2:31 pm

The state has not been funding Grad coaches for two years now.

lovemyjob

April 22nd, 2010
2:32 pm

I am a graduation coach that loves what I do. My job is to build relationships with students who have been told they amount to nothing. It is also my job to encourage students and to help them believe in themselves. This paired with meeting and exceeding the promotion requirements, helps more students stay on track for graduation. Believe it or not, we have many students who simply give up and there goes our job security as well. In case you haven’t noticed, many public schools are being replaced by private schools, homeschools and even though they are still considered public, charter schools. It is time for us to band together todetermine what makes not a good teacheer but a great teacher. In these “tough times”, no one’s job is safe but rather than point fingers and who is not necessary in our broken systems, lets become the stakeholders we are and seek out more answers. I love “Get Schooled”.

@ GoodforKids

April 22nd, 2010
2:42 pm

They were Gov. Perdue’s idea, but he has cut funding for them. I’m not sure if the entire funding is gone – good question.
DCSS has 93 Instructional and Literacy Coaches, but they do not teach students. Furthermore, teachers complain constantly about them. They produce reams of paperwork for teachers to fill out and constant meetings which drains instructional time from students. They are funded with Title 1 federal funds in order to support a program called America’s Choice, a scripted teaching program DCSS also bought with Title 1 funds to the tune of $8,000,000 (and more money is needed to renew it). In the 80s and 90s Title 1 funds were used to hire certified teachers for Title 1 schools to teach small groups of struggling math and reading students – thus the titles of Title 1 Math Teacher and Title 1 Reading Teacher. In the mid-2000s, Title 1 funds began to be used to buy canned learning program (like America’s Choice, HSTW, Springboard, etc.). The majority of Title 1 expenditure decisions used to be in the Title 1 schools, but now almost all the money and decision making occurs at the superintendent and upper levels of DCSS. Parents/taxpayers would like to see paperwork for teachers reduced and more certified personnel teaching students rather than in non-teaching positions. The Interim Superintendent met with parents the other day and acknowledged that teachers needed to have reduced paperwork and in addition to the 150 she is cutting from the Central Office (we have 1239 or 1 per every 5.6 teachers) she is taking a look at cutting more. All this is a result of parents/taxpayers showing up at BOE meetings, emailing and calling the Superintendent and BOE. Parents/taxpayers – if you want more teachers teaching students and less sitting in office jobs and support positions, you need to organize and put pressure on the decision makers. They will not do this on their own.

Georgia Teacher

April 22nd, 2010
2:44 pm

Folks who are not teachers:

I understand you do not see the reason why 1-3 year teachers being “non-renewed” for “performance reasons” is such a big deal to a teacher. It basically ruins a person’s career.

Every single application I have ever filled out for a teaching position in this state and in others have all asked: “Have you ever been terminated from a contract or not renewed for a contract?” Once you check yes, your application is then deposited in the circular filing cabinet.

I understand the district’s need to lay teachers off, but be upfront and tell the teachers we just don’t have a job for you. Don’t put that blemish on their record.

Reality

April 22nd, 2010
2:44 pm

@lovemyjob

With all due respect…. if it came down to either having another classroom teacher to reduce class size or having a grad coach, I would pick the former.

Sorry, call me old-school, but if a young adult in high school doesn’t want an education, why should we pay for an employee to convince them that they do? Especially at the expense of the good students that want to learn!

That being said, I think that there is tons of ‘fat’ in the cental offices and in school administration that SHOULD be cut way before this.

DO NOT RESIGN

April 22nd, 2010
3:10 pm

the admin will tell you performance reasons and you need to resign so the county does not have to pay unemployment insurance

irisheyes

April 22nd, 2010
3:29 pm

It’s the underhandedness that bugs me. If you’re laying off due to the budget, tell the teachers they are being laid off due to budget constraints so they can put THAT on a resume. Don’t give them the idiotic excuse of “Poor performance”, especially when they have the performance evaluations that say “satisfactory”. (Yes, I do keep a copy of all evaluations. I hope everyone else does too.)

GoodforKids

April 22nd, 2010
3:38 pm

@lovemyjob
I appreciate that you love your job and you sound like you are good at it. I do not doubt that there are many graduation coaches who do and are, as well as some that don’t and aren’t (true for school counselors, social workers, and psychologists too…and obviously teachers). I am not attacking your group of professionals, but it is an EXTREMELY relevant question during this very tough economic situation. That is, why is your group of school support professionals not yet experiencing cuts when the psychologists, social workers and IST’s in Fulton were cut by 25% (would’ve been 50% save for some amazing last minute find of funds from the gov) and counselor:student ratios were raised significantly?
To me, the answer is about values, priorities. I think FCBOE and Dr. Loe are indicating what they value most, which seems to be data, data, data not students, students, students.
I agree with Reality in that I value keeping the classroom teacher (and thus keeping class sizes down) over a lot else, but I know the value of solid student support services for kids in need, and I will also choose an interdisciplinary team of professionals working to help students succeed in the regular classroom. Teachers sometimes have students who need services beyond her classroom so that they can succeed in her classroom.
Again, I am not attacking your group, but I am curious as to why you all are higher on the priority list of FCBOE and Dr. Loe than other professionals who support success in the classroom (and in some cases enable school systems to comply with the laws of IDEA, etc.).

lovemyjob

April 22nd, 2010
3:47 pm

It is truly upsetting to see so many of my colleagues getting punished for things they have no control over. Just to add some background…I was a second grade teacher for 13 years and this makes my twenty sixth year in education. Even though I thought I was doing everything expected of me and more, I too was called into question because of one upset parent. The parent was really upset with an administrator, not me. In other words, no one is safe. I do not like the idea of nonrenewing teachers that are just getting started. They are the ones with the freshest and newest ideas and they have so many productive years ahead of them. Its also true that it looks bad on your record and lessens your chances of getting another teaching job in Georgia. The fight in my opinion, has to be based on truth and a renewed attitude of what can I do differently? I believe mostly, that we do need to all stick together as changes occur.

Teach me!

April 22nd, 2010
3:53 pm

Our Gwinnett school got our points number down by 3 retiring, 2 parapro’s leaving for another school and 1 non-tenured being released back in February when our new points based on next year’s enrollment was handed down. However, we have at least 2 that I know of academic teachers that are still provisional and not even working yet on their certification. They get to “stay” because Gwinnett Co goes also by years employed, regardles of degree. I think it stinks for the non-tenured, master’s degree teacher to be released.
Also, I’m hearing on teacher.net that some being released in Gwinnett are non-tenured with advanced degrees and the advanced degrees are making them worth more, so they are released. How sad!

teach me!

April 22nd, 2010
5:23 pm

Per the Ga Sec of State Labor Laws:
EMPLOYMENT AT WILL

Georgia recognizes the doctrine of employment at will. Employment at will means that in the absence of a written contract of employment for a defined duration, an employer can terminate an employee for good cause, bad cause or no cause at all, so long as it is not an illegal cause.

and

UNIONS

The National Labor Relations Act provides for employee rights to organize, join unions, and engage in collective bargaining. It is unlawful for an employer to interfere with an employee’s right to join a union and engage in union activities, including discharging or otherwise discriminating against employees because they engage in union activities. Employers also are required to bargain in good faith with a union. Georgia has a “right to work” law which prohibits interference with employment to compel any person to either join or refrain from joining a union.

So, “right to work” is about Union, but “Employment at Will” means right to fire for no reason.

Ernest

April 22nd, 2010
5:24 pm

Good answer by @ GoodforKids @ 2:42. To reiterate I understood the Instructional Coaches salaries were paid for with Title 1 monies If this is true, this is OUTSIDE of the general operational budget. Simply eliminating Instructional Coaches will not free up dollars for paying teachers out of the general budget however they could be used for additional instructional resources in the Title 1 schools.

Dekalbite mentioned there were 80 Instructional Coaches above. That would probably equate to less than 1 additional staffer for the Title 1 schools in the district.

GA Teach

April 22nd, 2010
6:21 pm

@ Just a thought….Do like… this wording better.. We are in a right to fire state and in the GA code it shows that we are a “right to work state.” (They are one in the same) Teachers are on 1 year contracts. If the school does need you the next year they do not have to displace you they can just let you go. In Georgia you can fire anyone with the statement “It is based on your performance” …..performance can be observed. By the way I know the act, but it is still the proper term to use in a state that have has the right to fire statue. They only reason you need to have written documentation is when you want to make sure you do not have to pay unemployment (as an employer). All rules governing an organization internally (except certain Fed law and Statues) are based on the employee handbook and only the employee handbook. Showing up late to your duty once is enough to say that your performance was bad. Not having all your students pass the gateway at 70 percent is enough to let some one go.

Shill shill shill

April 22nd, 2010
6:23 pm

I would love for Happy Teacher, in light of the DISGUSTING, UNETHICAL, and DESPICABLE actions of GCPS, to come on here and explain why teachers should have ANY reason to believe ANY education or legislative official when it comes to dispensing merit pay in a fair and equitable way.

In light of the OVERWHELMING evidence concerning ways teachers are being treated, it sounds like shilling of the worst kind.

@ Why

April 22nd, 2010
6:26 pm

The issue is not just losing your job. Laying people, off claiming that they are deficient (with no proof) when they are not is just wrong, and could impact you getting a job elsewhere.

Buffy Wentworth

April 22nd, 2010
6:28 pm

I too am like sooooo pi$$ed at Gwinnett as i to was denied tenor and I am also a 3rd year teaceher. My 1st eval was so-so but tha last two were good! Fortunately i allready have a job at the school, private, that are son goes to. Good luck to all my fellow teaches.

Why Not?

April 22nd, 2010
6:46 pm

It should not be surprising that Gwinnett is doing this. Cobb is and has been doing the same. Dig a bit deeper Maureen.

@ Ernest from Dekalbite

April 22nd, 2010
6:49 pm

Ernest,
Very astute comments. Yes, Instructional Coaches are outside the DCSS general operational budget. Eliminating Instructional Coaches will not free up dollars to pay for teachers since that would be Supplanting, a practice not in line with Title 1 regulations and for good reason. Title 1 expenditures must:
1. Be spent only in Title 1 schools
2. School systems cannot replace the funding that Title 1 schools would get from the general school budget. That’s supplanting – for example, you can’t pay for computers in non-Title 1 schools with general funds and then expect Title 1 funds to pay for them in Title 1 schools. Title 1 is meant to be OVER and ABOVE what is supplied in all the schools in order to “even the playing field’ for students in low income areas.

You are also right about they could be used for additional resources in the Title 1 schools.

Your figure of only 80 Title 1 teachers in Title 1 schools replacing the Instructional coaches however is not borne out by the dollar figures published by the state of Georgia which is based on DCSS Human Resources input.

Please consider that the nearly $9,000,000 spent in salaries and benefits for 80 instructional coaches and 13 Literacy Coaches (also paid with Title 1 funds and subject to the same regulations) would not yield just 80 teachers.

The average teacher’s salary in DCSS is $54,586 and with the 25% benefit factor I also used with the Coaches, that equates to $68,232 per teacher in salary and benefits.
source: Georgia DOE website:
http://public.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=102&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2007

source: Ms. Tyson’s budget proposal calculates $65,000 per teacher point eliminated in DCSS

The average salary and benefits per Instructional Coaches is $96,405. The average salary and benefits per Literacy coach is $80,322.
source: state Salary and Travel audit (data sort for Staff Development – state of Georgia designation for Instructional Coaches and data sort for Literacy coaches):
http://www.open.georgia.gov/sta/viewMain.aud

$9,000,000 divided by $68,000 (per teacher salary and benefits – I’m using the higher salary and benefit figure rather than Ms. Tyson’s) would yield 132 teachers for 80 schools.

Granted these Title 1 teachers would no doubt have smaller class sizes as they work with “at risk” students, but think of the educational impact in Reading and Math for 132 classes of students. If you consider the $8,000,000 that was spent for America’s Choice (I believe renewal fees will be coming up shortly for that program), then that’s another 117 teachers working with struggling students for a total of 249 teachers.

Students, and in particular “at risk” students, need day after day after day of consistent and abundant instruction by a teacher. There is no substitute for a teacher instructing students. Teachers with small classes can give the individualized instruction necessary for these students to achieve. Smaller classes mean these teachers can meet with parents more frequently to work as a team for each student.

Teacher accountability is all over the news. There is no accountability for Instructional Coaches or Literacy Coaches since they do not directly teach students. The Title 1 Reading Teachers and the Title 1 Math Teachers were accountable for student gains “before accountability was cool.” Those children were pre-tested at the beginning of the year, put into small groups with daily instruction from the Title 1 Math or Reading teachers, and post-tested at the end. The principal and the county looked for substantial gains in achievement. The goal of every Title 1 Reading and Math teacher was to get these students up to grade level so they could go back into the regular classroom on grade level.

Title 1 money should follow the students like gifted funds do now. Local school personnel who have day to day contact with students should be more involved in the decision-making. In the early 2000’s before Dr. Lewis moved the majority of Title 1 expenditures ($30,000,000 per year in DCSS and this money is steady as a rock – it’s not threatened at all), many schools used their Title 1 money for tutors in Reading and Math for struggling students. Many principals told me that was a local staff decision he/she had made with the teachers’ input. How much tutoring could DCSS buy for $9,000,000 (Instructional Coach’s cost) or $8,000,000 (America’s Choice cost)?

By the way, Instructional Coaches were created to support America’s Choice.

Here is a link to the Title 1 expenditures for DeKalb County. Interesting reading:
http://public.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=104&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2008

I’m a retired teacher, but I also have a business background. Return on Investment should be paramount for every school system – especially in today’s economic climate.

Teacher Fair

April 22nd, 2010
6:49 pm

Gwinnett is holding a teacher fair this Saturday, April 24 to hire math, science and special ed teachers. However, teachers from all of these subjects are not having their contracts renewed. What’s up with that? And exactly how much will it cost to put on this charade?

Smell a Rat

April 22nd, 2010
6:55 pm

March 11, 2010 AJC article:
http://www.ajc.com/news/cobb-schools-face-job-363825.html

“Poore said that last year several young teachers were let go after their third year before they could become tenured in what he believes was a cost-saving strategy. Some of the teachers whose contracts were not renewed for a fourth year had been recruited nationally and internationally to make the staff more diverse, he said.

“Many were in good standing their first two years,” he said. “In the third year all of a sudden we are in a budget crunch, the person didn’t have tenure, and they were released.”"

Something smells. Cobb was doing the same thing for the 2008-2009 year. How do you rid yourselves of a lot of teachers in short order? RIF, PDP, and harrassment.

Ironic

April 22nd, 2010
7:00 pm

Maureen, check the filter. Ironic how most of my posts end up in the filter. I wish my pool was half as efficient.

Maureen already started to connect the dots. On March 11, 2010:
http://www.ajc.com/news/cobb-schools-face-job-363825.html

“”Poore said that last year several young teachers were let go after their third year before they could become tenured in what he believes was a cost-saving strategy. Some of the teachers whose contracts were not renewed for a fourth year had been recruited nationally and internationally to make the staff more diverse, he said.

“Many were in good standing their first two years,” he said. “In the third year all of a sudden we are in a budget crunch, the person didn’t have tenure, and they were released.”"

Coincidence? Not really!

JP

April 22nd, 2010
7:00 pm

Buffy…I’m not surprised you were denied ‘tenor’.

Where

April 22nd, 2010
7:01 pm

Where in the #$% are the educators who serve in the General Assembly, and why are they stabbing teachers in the back at every turn?

justbrowsing

April 22nd, 2010
7:02 pm

I believe that Gwinnett is piloting this to see if they can churn and burn teachers all the while knowing they will in fact deny them tenure in an effort to keep costs down due to the recession. They certainly will not tell anyone that. I pray for those entering the district next year.

Do this

April 22nd, 2010
7:07 pm

Three words if you are being non renewed for this:

Open Records Request. Find the smoking gun emails.

GoodforKids

April 22nd, 2010
8:00 pm

@GoodforKids from 2:42pm-
I did not know about the other kinds of coaches you describe in Dekalb that are funded by Title 1. Those are big numbers and a big problem if they are creating more work for teachers and not less. I wonder how these professionals contribute (or don’t) to RTI process? Are they in place to help teachers implement the “best practices” for the period of time students of concern are receiving an intervention? Or are they working more at the classroom level rather than the individual student level?
I am glad people are voicing this concern to your board and being heard.
Re: Graduation Coaches- is the conclusion that the state is no longer funding graduation coaches but they are being maintained by local system funding? If so, has any system decided to de-fund them to any extent? Maureen, do you know the answer to this?

@ Ernest from Dekalbite

April 22nd, 2010
8:51 pm

I agree with most of what you say. Yes, Instructional Coaches are outside the DCSS general operational budget. Eliminating Instructional Coaches will not free up dollars to pay for teachers since that would be Supplanting, a practice not in line with Title 1 regulations and for good reason. Title 1 expenditures must:
1. Be spent only in Title 1 schools
2. School systems cannot replace the funding that Title 1 schools would get from the general school budget.

You are also right about they could be used for additional resources in the Title 1 schools.

Your figure of only 80 Title 1 teachers in Title 1 schools replacing the Instructional coaches however is not borne out by the dollar figures published by the state of Georgia which is based on DCSS Human Resources input.

Please consider that the nearly $9,000,000 spent in salaries and benefits for 80 instructional coaches and 13 Literacy Coaches (also paid with Title 1 funds and subject to the same regulations) would not yield just 80 teachers.

The average teacher’s salary in DCSS is $54,586 and with the 25% benefit factor I also used with the Coaches, that equates to $68,232 per teacher in salary and benefits.
source: Georgia DOE website:
http://public.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=102&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2007

source: Ms. Tyson’s budget proposal calculates $65,000 per teacher point eliminated in DCSS

The average salary and benefits per Instructional Coaches is $96,405. The average salary and benefits per Literacy coach is $80,322.
source: state Salary and Travel audit (data sort for Staff Development – state of Georgia designation for Instructional Coaches and data sort for Literacy coaches):
http://www.open.georgia.gov/sta/viewMain.aud

$9,000,000 divided by $68,000 (per teacher salary and benefits – I’m using the higher salary and benefit figure rather than Ms. Tyson’s) would yield 132 teachers for 80 schools.

Granted these Title 1 teachers would no doubt have smaller class sizes as they work with “at risk” students, but think of the educational impact in Reading and Math for 132 classes of students. If you consider the $8,000,000 that was spent for America’s Choice (I believe renewal fees will be coming up shortly for that program), then that’s another 117 teachers working with struggling students for a total of 249 teachers.

Students, and in particular “at risk” students, need day after day after day of consistent and abundant instruction by a teacher. There is no substitute for a teacher instructing students. Teachers with small classes can give the individualized instruction necessary for these students to achieve. Smaller classes mean these teachers can meet with parents more frequently to work as a team for each student.

Teacher accountability is all over the news. There is no accountability for Instructional Coaches or Literacy Coaches since they do not directly teach students. The Title 1 Reading Teachers and the Title 1 Math Teachers were accountable for student gains “before accountability was cool.” Those children were pre-tested at the beginning of the year, put into small groups with daily instruction from the Title 1 Math or Reading teachers, and post-tested at the end. The principal and the county looked for substantial gains in achievement. The goal of every Title 1 Reading and Math teacher was to get these students up to grade level so they could go back into the regular classroom on grade level.

Title 1 money should follow the students like gifted funds do now. Local school personnel who have day to day contact with students should be more involved in the decision-making. In the early 2000’s before Dr. Lewis moved the majority of Title 1 expenditures ($30,000,000 per year in DCSS and this money is steady as a rock – it’s not threatened at all), many schools used their Title 1 money for tutors in Reading and Math for struggling students. Many principals told me that was a local staff decision he/she had made with the teachers’ input. How much tutoring could DCSS buy for $9,000,000 (Instructional Coach’s cost) or $8,000,000 (America’s Choice cost)?

By the way, Instructional Coaches were created to support America’s Choice.

Here is a link to the Title 1 expenditures for DeKalb County. Interesting reading:
http://public.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=104&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2008

@ Ernest from Dekalbite

April 22nd, 2010
8:54 pm

I agree with most of what you say. Yes, Instructional Coaches are outside the DCSS general operational budget. Eliminating Instructional Coaches will not free up dollars to pay for teachers since that would be Supplanting, a practice not in line with Title 1 regulations and for good reason. You are also right about they could be used for additional resources in the Title 1 schools.

Your figure of only 80 Title 1 teachers in Title 1 schools replacing the Instructional coaches however is not borne out by the dollar figures published by the state of Georgia which is based on DCSS Human Resources input. Please consider that the nearly $9,000,000 spent in salaries and benefits for 80 instructional coaches and 13 Literacy Coaches (also paid with Title 1 funds and subject to the same regulations) would not yield just 80 teachers.

The average teacher’s salary in DCSS is $68,232 per teacher in salary and benefits.
source: Georgia DOE website:
http://public.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=102&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2007
source: Ms. Tyson’s budget proposal calculates $65,000 per teacher point eliminated in DCSS

The average salary and benefits per Instructional Coaches is $96,405. The average salary and benefits per Literacy coach is $80,322.
source: state Salary and Travel audit (data sort for Staff Development – state of Georgia designation for Instructional Coaches and data sort for Literacy coaches):
http://www.open.georgia.gov/sta/viewMain.aud

$9,000,000 divided by $68,000 (using the higher figure per teacher salary and benefits) would yield 132 teachers for 80 schools.

Granted these Title 1 teachers would no doubt have smaller class sizes as they work with “at risk” students, but think of the educational impact in Reading and Math for 132 classes of students. If you consider the $8,000,000 that was spent for America’s Choice (I believe renewal fees will be coming up shortly for that program), then that’s another 117 teachers working with struggling students for a total of 249 teachers.

Students, and in particular “at risk” students, need day after day after day of consistent and abundant instruction by a teacher. Teachers with small classes can give the individualized instruction necessary for these students to achieve. Smaller classes mean these teachers can meet with parents more frequently to work as a team for each student.

Teacher accountability is all over the news. There is no accountability for Instructional Coaches or Literacy Coaches since they do not directly teach students. The Title 1 Reading Teachers and the Title 1 Math Teachers were accountable for student gains “before accountability was cool.” Those children were pre-tested at the beginning of the year, put into small groups with daily instruction from the Title 1 Math or Reading teachers, and post-tested at the end. The principal and the county looked for substantial gains in achievement. The goal of every Title 1 Reading and Math teacher was to get these students up to grade level so they could go back into the regular classroom on grade level.

Title 1 money should follow the students like gifted funds do now. Local school personnel who have day to day contact with students should be more involved in the decision-making. In the early 2000’s before Dr. Lewis moved the majority of Title 1 expenditures ($30,000,000 per year in DCSS and this money is steady as a rock – it’s not threatened at all), many schools used their Title 1 money for tutors in Reading and Math for struggling students. Many principals told me that was a local staff decision he/she had made with the teachers’ input. How much tutoring could DCSS buy for $9,000,000 (Instructional Coach’s cost) or $8,000,000 (America’s Choice cost)?

By the way, Instructional Coaches were created to support America’s Choice.

Here is a link to the Title 1 expenditures for DeKalb County. Interesting reading:
http://public.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=104&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2008

Teacher

April 22nd, 2010
9:15 pm

Wow…Buffy is a teacher? Really? It sure doesn’t take long to figure out why her contract has not been renewed. I guess that private school didn’t require a written resume.