UGA researcher: What is wrong with status quo in teacher pay?

I devoted the entire Monday education page that I put together for the AJC Opinon section to merit pay. Here is a guest column by a UGA researcher that runs Monday in the print edition, Enjoy

By Eric A. Houck

The governor’s proposal on teacher compensation is back on the table for consideration as an amendment to Senate Bill 521. The proposal would alter teacher evaluation policies without any direct implications for compensation. Nevertheless, this proposal has rightly generated a great deal of discussion.

Editorials, blog posts and columns have all discussed the merits and flaws of moving teacher compensation to a plan that is based on classroom observation, parental feedback, and student learning as measured by growth on standardized assessments.

While many may be happy to see the proposal fail — as a recent merit pay plan did in Florida — few have asked questions about the current manner in which teachers are compensated. What is the state’s motivation to move away from a step-based system? What is wrong with the status quo?

Now, teachers receive pay increases for every additional year of teaching experience and advanced degrees. (Some teachers in high needs areas receive bonuses, and master’s degrees in educational leadership are no longer valid for pay increases for classroom teachers.)

Overall, this salary structure rewards teachers for persistence and for actions they take to improve themselves professionally via graduate degrees. While there are measurable benefits to having a more experienced teacher — especially in the early years of a teacher’s career — there is little research to indicate that other elements of the current system actually improve student performance as measured on standardized assessments.

Yet, the most pernicious effect of the current salary structure is that it underfunds Georgia’s lowest-performing schools. Research finds that, overall, teachers with higher degrees and more experience migrate to schools with fewer high-needs students. District-level transfer policies allow this to happen.

The effect is that the state pays for more expensive teachers in schools with fewer needs and for less-experienced, less-credentialed teachers in schools with higher needs. If these teachers are reduced to mere dollar figures, the gap within a district can sometimes run to over $100,000 between schools.

Preliminary analysis of state data indicates that teachers in schools that do not make Adequate Yearly Progress receive, on average, $900 less in salary money per teacher than schools that do make AYP. While $900 is less than a traditional step on the current salary schedule, this total amount of state spending can vary a great deal when aggregated to all the teachers in a school. This figure is calculated using just the standard state salary figures, and does not include additional local salary supplements provided by some districts.

Georgia has a salary structure that rewards teachers for qualities that are far from certain to impact student achievement and that systematically supports the chronic underfunding of our most-challenged schools.
One way to address this inequity would be to change how teachers are evaluated and, eventually, compensated. Of these three elements proposed in the legislation, the idea of using student performance is the most controversial.

Student performance has been measured by standardized assessments with teachers being judged relative to the percentage of students attaining a given level of proficiency in a given year.

This system is blatantly unfair and serves only to reward those teachers who draw the lucky card of already high-performing students, which researchers believe may be one reason teachers migrate to higher-performing schools in the first place.

Recent work with standardized assessments has allowed educators to examine student growth in performance within a school year, and have been able to provide feedback to teachers in a manner that is much more authentic than simple percentages — and rewards teachers for what students learn, not the level at which they perform. Shifting the state’s emphasis to learning instead of performance level may help to bring more high-quality educators back into high-needs schools, where their work can be recognized — and, perhaps, rewarded.

Such a move demands that the state invest in better tests. Current tests across the nation — Georgia’s included — place too much emphasis on student recall and too little emphasis on application of knowledge. Investing in assessments that ask students to demonstrate mastery and application of material would perhaps reassure educators that their work consists of much more than test prep.

Models of this system exist at the national and international levels, and the U.S. Department of Education has made funds available to support the development of the next generation of performance assessments.

Nationally, over 80 percent of all money spent in education goes to the salaries and benefits of teachers and administrators.

Since the quality of a child’s teacher is of critical importance to that child’s learning, teacher salary and benefit policies are the single biggest lever educators and policymakers have to ensure that all students receive high-quality instruction and equitable school funding.

While it seems unlikely that pay-for-performance is in the near future for Georgia’s teachers, reforming the broken aspects of teacher compensation in Georgia must remain a policy priority.

Eric A. Houck is an assistant professor in the University of Georgia College of Education’s department of lifelong education, leadership and policy.

93 comments Add your comment

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Happy Teacher

April 25th, 2010
7:22 pm

http://www.nctq.org/nctq/images/nctq_io.pdf

“Recent work with standardized assessments has allowed educators to examine student growth in performance within a school year, and have been able to provide feedback to teachers in a manner that is much more authentic than simple percentages — and rewards teachers for what students learn, not the level at which they perform”

Agreed.

Concerned Parent and Educator

April 25th, 2010
7:49 pm

This is perhaps the best written articles I have read on this subject. I commend Eric Houck for his valid points that he has highlighted. Everything I read was so LOGICAL. :)

Concerned Parent and Educator

April 25th, 2010
7:49 pm

This is perhaps the best written articles I have read on this subject. I commend Eric Houck for his valid points that he has highlighted. Everything I read was so LOGICAL. :)

Key Issue

April 25th, 2010
7:55 pm

It all comes back to TRUST. And looking at the way Georgia’s elected officials have approached this and other issues affecting teachers, how can ANYBODY blame teachers for not having and trust in the process?

Key Issue-correction

April 25th, 2010
7:55 pm

Not having ANY trust in the process that should have read.

Gander

April 25th, 2010
8:03 pm

Wonder how much Erick A. Houck would like it if his pay were based on the test scores of the students of the teachers he prepared for the classroom?

Jordan Kohanim

April 25th, 2010
8:09 pm

“Such a move demands that the state invest in better tests. Current tests across the nation — Georgia’s included — place too much emphasis on student recall and too little emphasis on application of knowledge. Investing in assessments that ask students to demonstrate mastery and application of material would perhaps reassure educators that their work consists of much more than test prep.”

Agreed. Sadly, there is too much money invested in making it LOOK like something is being done. Tests, as they stand now, discourage critical thinking.

Hank Rearden

April 25th, 2010
8:16 pm

The better we treat teachers, the better students will learn and therefore be less likely to vote GOP when they graduate.

Hence, the rightwing war on education.

Gander

April 25th, 2010
8:25 pm

There might be a right wing war on education, but there’s a right wing AND a left wing war on teachers. After all, we don’t want to look at OURSELVES when it comes to raising our children.

Veteran teacher, 2

April 25th, 2010
8:37 pm

If the purpose of all of this testing (CRCT, GHSGT, EOCT) is to improve instruction, then we would receive more information than the “simple percentages” as quoted in the article. Since all we get is simple percentages, it is obvious that testing has another purpose. I seriously doubt that the government on any level will want to invest the necessary time and money to come up with authentic assessments of what students are actually learning. Heaven forbid having authentic assessments that would actually give practical information about teaching and learning!!

Tony

April 25th, 2010
8:38 pm

Okay, let me see if I’m getting what Mr. Houck said. Good teachers who transfer to good schools is part of the problem. “… the most pernicious effect of the current salary structure is that it underfunds Georgia’s lowest-performing schools. Research finds that, overall, teachers with higher degrees and more experience migrate to schools with fewer high-needs students. District-level transfer policies allow this to happen.”

Shame on teachers for wanting to teach in schools that are filled with students who want to learn. Shame on teachers for wanting to teach in schools that have community support and strong values. Shame on teachers for wanting to teach in schools that have positive learning environments.

As Mr. Houck said, that is what’s wrong with our current system.

What professional seeks to stay with a poorly run company so that he or she may make it a better place? Penalizing teachers for having aspirations of teaching in good, well run schools is quite absurd, but it is the motive behind the use of the word “equity” in the feds policy manual.

Wake up teachers.

Gander

April 25th, 2010
8:41 pm

Tony, you think Mr. Houck would change his tune if he were suddenly transferred to another college where teachers in training were struggling, yet told he would be paid based on how those future teachers’ students did on the test?

Gander

April 25th, 2010
8:46 pm

So when is Mr. Houck going to volunteer to transfer to another college where students are struggling?

Overachiever, Under-compensated

April 25th, 2010
8:50 pm

@Tony
More accurately, Mr. Houck is not interested in PENALIZING teachers for moving to well run schools, however he does see the need for REWARDING those of us who CHOOSE to teach in schools where the majority of students are in poverty, or are second language learners, etc… GO HOUCK!!! Now if we could just get some policymakers to LISTEN!!!

Happy Teacher

April 25th, 2010
8:51 pm

Tony – I totally hear where are you coming from, so let me posit this question? What if we thought of such working conditions as a form of “merit pay”? The conditions are generally better, students more willing to learn, etc. Some teachers would gravitate towards this “merit”

Then, we have another form of “merit”. A monetary reward for teachers that go into a more difficult environment and succeed.

Assuming that the step system stays in place for those who choose the former, what would be your thoughts on this arrangement?

Just curious, I’m glad that actual merit pay doesn’t seem imminent, so hopefully plans can be fleshed out in greater detail.

catlady

April 25th, 2010
8:55 pm

I know! Since experience and degrees are not critical, let’s staff EVERY school with all first year, bachelor’s level teachers! To make it even better, let’s take only teachers from the lower level, on line, and diploma mill colleges!

How many of you want your children to be taught by first year, bachelor’s level teachers EVERY YEAR, EVERY grade! I didn’t think so!

catlady, 38 years of experience, BS. MS, MS, Phd (all from the flagship universities of 3 southern states.) A damn good teacher, and proud of it!

Fericita

April 25th, 2010
9:06 pm

“Recent work with standardized assessments has allowed educators to examine student growth in performance within a school year…”

This is certainly something I would be interested to see in a standardized test, it would definitely be a useful tool as a teacher. However, what I have yet to see is a model that would take into account that students do not necessarily learn in a linear fashion. There are jumps, plateaus, steps backwards (especially over breaks for the students whose parents don’t speak English), and steady growth. Research supports that this is how languages are learned (which, as an ESOL teacher, is my primary interest). I’m not naive enough to think that a student’s progress in my class is based solely on how good of a teacher I am – it is also based on all the teachers that have come before.

Math Teacher

April 25th, 2010
9:14 pm

I have no problem with them rewarding teachers in higher-need areas. The idea of combat pay is not new. But one of my biggest problems with what I’ve heard about the current proposal is that it amounts to a penalty for ALL teachers. Everyone will be cut down to a base pay and will have to earn anything else through performance.

Also, teacher reviews may be helpful, but they can be very arbitrary. An administrator would be very careful when scoring a teacher on the low end, but after the ’satisfactory’ threshhold has been reached, little thought is given to how well the teacher is actually doing. This would not be a fair method of determining salary either. And if they are trying to meet a quota, this would just increase competition among teachers and kissing up to those who made the recommendations – not healthy traits for a good school.

Hmm

April 25th, 2010
9:53 pm

Why are we so willing to talk about teacher competency, but so unwilling to talk about administrator competency?

Don’t teachers deserve to have administrators who are expected to have the same level of competency that we expect from the teachers themselves?

GA Teach

April 25th, 2010
10:04 pm

If you want teachers to teach in low performing schools then keep the pay scale the same and actually offer then a nice bonus if they will move to a low performing school. If you offer teachers the right incentives they will teach anywhere. Pay for Performance should only be a an incentive not a punishment. Why would you change what we get paid? We already work more hours then we get paid. Grading, Mentoring, Conferences, Planning, Tutoring, Meetings, and Coaching……..Our job is different everyday….it is never the same and we have to deal with student problems most people would turn a blind eye. I you have never been in the classroom you would never understand. It is not whining….I have worked in the business world…..it is not the same……We are the biggest social justice system in the country…..we educate everyone no matter the circumstances……..We are not a business…In the business world you choose your market…….We do not have that option…….Its not about dollar signs for teachers…..if that is the case I can make more working on cars and selling insurance……We do it because there is nothing like seeing success in the eyes of a child……a smile, confidence……guess what……to see a child learn something new…..Its priceless………..

Mikey D

April 25th, 2010
10:11 pm

Wake up, teachers. So-called “Merit Pay” is designed for one reason only… to lower salaries and save the state some money. That’s why it’s being rammed in with ZERO input from teachers. Email your senators and reps and tell them to vote NO to 521 as long as this ridiculous amendment is attached.

Teachers are district employees

April 25th, 2010
10:24 pm

Teachers should be moved to different schools to meet the needs of the district. They are not hired by individual schools, and just as businesses move their employees around, teachers should be moved around as well. If they don’t like it, they go to another district, where they can be moved around, too.

Actions have consequences

April 25th, 2010
10:34 pm

Sure you can promote a policy of yanking teachers around on a whim, but actions have consequences.

You might find the overall quality of the profession suffers when you treat a resource like horse sh*t!

Teachers are there for students

April 25th, 2010
10:47 pm

We all know raising children is a demanding job. So since teachers are there for students, we should mandate that teachers no longer be allowed to have children, since that will take away focus from their students.

Devil's Advocate

April 25th, 2010
10:51 pm

I wonder what the casual observer (or legislator) that reads this blog thinks about teachers?

With the whiny paranoia on display here tonight, I worry.

What they think

April 25th, 2010
11:22 pm

What the average legislator or reader thinks is that it’s one heck of a lot easier to blame teachers for how America raises children than it is for the average America to tear themselves away from American Idol to look at how they are raising their children.

Proud Black Man

April 25th, 2010
11:25 pm

@ Devil’s Advocate

“With the whiny paranoia on display here tonight, I worry.”

So true.

Devil's Advocate of Devil's Advocate

April 25th, 2010
11:27 pm

What’s whiny about not being willing to accept that your current salary scale will be thrown out the window but A) you won’t be told what your new base pay is B) you will be paid on “merit” but nobody from the Governor’s office, the DOE office, or the General Assembly can give you a straight answer on what constitutes “merit”?

If you went to a restaurant and you were told A) we aren’t going to tell you how much your meal costs in advance and B) we aren’t going to tell you what your meal consists of but you are expected to be fully accountable for paying for it regardless, would you be happy?

Dekalbite

April 25th, 2010
11:32 pm

Eric Houck has missed the most important migration. The migration of content teachers (science, language arts, math and social studies) and grade level teachers (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade in elementary school) to Specialist, administrative and support positions.

Consider this statement from Erin Hames, the governor’s (Pedue’s) policy director to Georgia House members:
“Only 30 percent of Georgia teachers teach classes where there are standardized tests that could be used in their performance evaluations to assess student progress. ”

There has been an enormous migration of school system personnel who hold valid teaching certificates OUT of content area and grade level and INTO specialist positions, administrative positions, and support positions, etc. While Eric Houck addressed the movement of experienced teachers out of low performing schools, he did not address the greater impact of content and grade level teachers into positions NOT RESPONSIBLE for test scores. In DeKalb Schools only 30% of our teaching holding valid teaching certificates are responsible for student test scores.

Look at the DeKalb Schools figures.

Total DCSS employees with valid teaching certificates:
8,543 (100%)
Employees who hold valid teaching certificates in DeKalb County Schools who ARE NOT responsible for Standardized Test Scores:
5938 (70%)
Employees who hold valid teaching certificates in DeKalb Schools who ARE responsible for standardized test scores:
2,605 (30%)

Here is the breakdown of DCSS employees with valid teaching certificates NOT responsible for standardized test scores:
Library Media Specialists: 161
Counselors: 267
Special Education Teachers: 1369
(Special Education Adapted PE, Pre-K Sp.Ed., Psycho-Ed Sp.Ed., Sp. Ed Interrelated, Sp. Ed. Specialist, Sp. Ed. Autistic, Sp. Ed. Emotional Behavior, Sp. Ed. Hearing Impaired, Teacher of Mild Intellectual, Teacher of Moderate Intellectual, Teacher of Orthopedic Impairment, Teacher of Other Health Impairment, Teacher Of Severely Intell. Impaired, Teacher of specific Learning Disability, Teacher of Visually Impaired, Speech –Language Pathologist, Adapted PE teacher)
Other Instructional Providers: 42
Instructional Specialists (Art, PE, Music, Band, Orchestra elementary teachers): 445
Gifted: 87
ESOL: 154
Early Intervention Specialists: 128
Instructional Coaches (America’s Choice Instructional Coaches, Literacy Coaches and Graduation Coaches): 141
Exploratory Teachers: 46
Hospital Homebound: 1
Vocational Teachers: 207
Related Vocational Teachers: 11
World Languages in high school and Connections teachers in middle school: 250 (estimated)
High School teachers (10th, 11th, 12th) NOT responsible for 9th grade EOCT results: 750
Pre-K: 60 (estimate)
Kindergarten: 307
Administrators with teaching certificates: 549
Support personnel with teaching certificates: 963

Sources: DCSS Superintendent’s FAQ page:
http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/superintendent/files/3C2819BD7CDE4BA6B8BE01FC4A39343C.pdf
Source: State Salary and Travel audit:
http://www.open.georgia.gov/
Georgia DOE:
http://public.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=102&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2008

Dekalbite

April 25th, 2010
11:34 pm

Eric Houck has missed the most important migration. The migration of content teachers (science, language arts, math and social studies) and grade level teachers (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade in elementary school) to Specialist, administrative and support positions.

Consider this statement from Erin Hames, the governor’s (Pedue’s) policy director to Georgia House members:
“Only 30 percent of Georgia teachers teach classes where there are standardized tests that could be used in their performance evaluations to assess student progress. ”

There has been an enormous migration of school system personnel who hold valid teaching certificates OUT of content area and grade level and INTO specialist positions, administrative positions, and support positions, etc. While Eric Houck addressed the movement of experienced teachers out of low performing schools, he did not address the greater impact of content and grade level teachers into positions not directly responsible for test scores. In DeKalb Schools 30% of all certificated personnel are responsible for standardized test scores.

Look at the DeKalb Schools figures.

Total DCSS employees with valid teaching certificates:
8,543 (100%)
Employees who hold valid teaching certificates in DeKalb County Schools who ARE NOT responsible for Standardized Test Scores:
5938 (70%)
Employees who hold valid teaching certificates in DeKalb Schools who ARE responsible for standardized test scores:
2,605 (30%)

Here is the breakdown of DCSS employees with valid teaching certificates NOT responsible for standardized test scores:
Library Media Specialists: 161
Counselors: 267
Special Education Teachers: 1369
(Special Education Adapted PE, Pre-K Sp.Ed., Psycho-Ed Sp.Ed., Sp. Ed Interrelated, Sp. Ed. Specialist, Sp. Ed. Autistic, Sp. Ed. Emotional Behavior, Sp. Ed. Hearing Impaired, Teacher of Mild Intellectual, Teacher of Moderate Intellectual, Teacher of Orthopedic Impairment, Teacher of Other Health Impairment, Teacher Of Severely Intell. Impaired, Teacher of specific Learning Disability, Teacher of Visually Impaired, Speech –Language Pathologist, Adapted PE teacher)
Other Instructional Providers: 42
Instructional Specialists (Art, PE, Music, Band, Orchestra elementary teachers): 445
Gifted: 87
ESOL: 154
Early Intervention Specialists: 128
Instructional Coaches (America’s Choice Instructional Coaches, Literacy Coaches and Graduation Coaches): 141
Exploratory Teachers: 46
Hospital Homebound: 1
Vocational Teachers: 207
Related Vocational Teachers: 11
World Languages in high school and Connections teachers in middle school: 250 (estimated)
High School teachers (10th, 11th, 12th) NOT responsible for 9th grade EOCT results: 750
Pre-K: 60 (estimate)
Kindergarten: 307
Administrators with teaching certificates: 549
Support personnel with teaching certificates: 963

Sources: DCSS Superintendent’s FAQ page:
http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/superintendent/files/3C2819BD7CDE4BA6B8BE01FC4A39343C.pdf
Source: State Salary and Travel audit:
http://www.open.georgia.gov/
Georgia DOE:
http://public.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=102&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2008

and the consequences may be good...

April 26th, 2010
5:52 am

Moving teachers around do not have to be bad. There is no reason to move them around every 2 years, but somewhere around 6-8 years, they should be re-assigned to a new school. I don’t see why re-assigning teachers to a new school every 6-8 years is considered as treating them poorly.

ScienceTeacher671

April 26th, 2010
6:22 am

Mr. Houck seems to be simultaneously arguing that the current system is bad because the best-educated and most experienced teachers migrate to the best schools, while positing that experience and education don’t necessarily make teachers the best.

I agree with him that our state tests could use much revision, but don’t see anyone at the state level working in that direction.

School Marm

April 26th, 2010
6:23 am

@ Devil’s Advocate: teachers are NOT whining paranoiacs. We are just fed up wilth getting thrown under the proverbial bus by politicians, administrators, indifferent parents, and many of you posters who seem to resent even one penny of our salary. We are expected to turn out students who will top even the best in the world, yet we are expected to do it with less and less. Is it any wonder why morale is so low?

School Marm

April 26th, 2010
6:25 am

And yes, merit pay does translate into a pay cut. Where will the state get the money to pay up, when they can’t balance the budget now? The folks on the bandwagon for this BS need to throw out their koolaid.

Teachers, Parents & Students Not the Problem

April 26th, 2010
6:34 am

What a about a merit pay system for school superintendents. Especially the ones that spent us into ridiculous deficits, when they knew that the state and federal money would not be there to bail the counties out. Maybe the politicians in this state need a scorecard before handing one down the the people actually doing the hard work in the school systems.

Hypocrites

April 26th, 2010
6:52 am

Why, if merit pay is so great, doesn’t the legislature mandate merit pay for administrators?

norman bates

April 26th, 2010
7:24 am

When teachers can’t teach, and coaches can’t win, they become administrators. When they realize they can’t administrate as well, they become college professors!

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LSH

April 26th, 2010
7:54 am

Some of the reader s who are not teachers may not understand how teachers in this state are paid. A major portion of the salary is set by the state and each teacher (based on education and years of experience) receives the same amount. The counties (if they can afford it) add a supplement to the base salary. So a teacher in Fulton may make 40,000 from the state, but Fulton adds on another $7,500. They do this partly to cover the different cost of living in the state, (it costs more to live in Fulton county than it does in White County) and partly to attract and retain the best teachers. Up until just two years ago, the counties were crying out for teachers. Distracts were going to out of state colleges and even abroad to staff the schools as there were not enough teachers. We read articles on how the state was not producing enough teachers and there would soon be a crisis.
Well, now at the worst of the worst, we have too many teachers and not enough jobs. But this will end. Sooner or later, the tide will turn and we will again be in need of teachers. And we will have to pay for them. Counties will again compete for teachers by offering higher stipends and better working conditions. Right now teachers are under a huge stress as their jobs are uncertain and people keep telling them how lucky they are to even have jobs. People who went back to teaching or stayed in teaching for a secure job will leave in droves as the economy improves. Parents in the good schools will be up in arms when junior comes home talking of 40 or more kids in the class or having to sit on the floor during math class because there is no way to fit enough desks into the room. Hang on teachers- things will get better- maybe not this year or next, but soon.

Gwinnett Parent

April 26th, 2010
8:04 am

This year was the first for my child’s CRCT and the reading comprehension section was read to the class. How can the CRCT truly evaluate a student’s ability if the teacher is reading the test, especially reading comprehension?? I hope consideration is given for thick accents and dialects. My heart bleeds for the child that is stuck with someone from South Georgia or the Bronx.

In our midddle class, mostly college educated community the students are either well prepared at home or the parents pay for private tutors. This all occurs before the teacher has his/her chance to teach the child. My observations are for the early years, not 6th grade and beyons. How can we determine how much a child learns in the classroom (early years) if they are already functioning a grade or two above expectations or the parent is covering any hole with private tutors? Wouldn’t this skew the numbers a bit?

A Different Opinion

April 26th, 2010
8:15 am

Folks, the problem as I see it is……1) Parents who have kids in low performing schools do not spend enough time helping their kids thus, the kids suffer in the classroom making the teachers look like they’re not doing what they’re being paid to do……2) Let’s face it, some people that call themselves teachers are poorly prepared for the classroom environment. These teachers should be found early enough and fired so as not to harm the children…….

Question – If you were a teacher, would you rather teach at a school in a good economically thriving area where the parents actually care, the students are above average in intelligence and the learning environment is conducive to teaching instead of trying to control the behavior of your students or, to teach in a school where the opposite is true?

Folks, this is why teachers gravitate to the better schools……why should their lives be filled with stress trying to teach in an environment where no one cares. Everyone, whether you be a teacher, lawyer, accountant, waitress, warehouse worker wants to be able to take pride in what they’re accomplishing…….if no one cares that they’re there, where’s their sense of accomplishment?

dbow

April 26th, 2010
8:19 am

Just my two cents. If a school district has a very limited supply of money to dole out towards teacher compensation via merit pay, what would stop school administrators from purposely giving poor evaluations just to keep costs down? Less money for teachers equals more money for administrators.

irisheyes

April 26th, 2010
8:23 am

@Gwinnett Parent, in the reading section, the questions are read to the students, but not the reading passage itself. I agree, I don’t think it really tests the student’s reading ability. I’ve had kids that were barely literate pass the reading portion of the CRCT. I do agree with reading the questions in the math and English section since we want to make sure that we are testing their abilities in math and language arts rather than in reading. (Of course, I’m opposed to giving the CRCT to 1st and 2nd graders in general.) I don’t know if accent would be a problem as it is usually the classroom teacher reading the questions to the students, so they would be familiar with the teacher’s speech patterns.

I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to figure out why GA is so gung ho about merit pay. Look at what they done to NBCT and master teachers. They’re all about saving money, and they’ll throw whoever they need to under the bus to do it. We’ve heard from other state employees who are under a merit pay system that, strangely enough, there’s never enough money to pay their merit bonuses. I’m sure that is what will happen to teachers as well.

irisheyes

April 26th, 2010
8:24 am

Sorry, should be “Look at what they HAVE done. . .” Don’t want the grammer police out on a Monday morning! :)

Teaching in FL is worse

April 26th, 2010
8:27 am

Dekalbite-thanks for the numbers. Enlightening for the non teachers who read this.

Since we all seem to be beating a dead horse, I’ll repeat what I have said in every other post concerning merit pay. It all boils down to money. The minute the budget is in trouble again, the state will not honor merit pay.

Now I’ll eat my horsemeat sashimi.

catlady

April 26th, 2010
8:32 am

Grammar police (Yeah, I know, it can be either way. Just wanted to earn my badge for the day.)

the prof

April 26th, 2010
8:33 am

The world needs ditch diggers too!

mystery poster

April 26th, 2010
8:57 am

I have NEVER seen an unbiased, objective teacher evaluation instrument. Too often, evaluations are used to punish those teachers that the administration does not like. I have seen this time and time again.

Without a formal grievance policy in place to challenge unfair evaluations, I don’t see how this “merit pay” can possibly work.

RJ

April 26th, 2010
9:06 am

” Research finds that, overall, teachers with higher degrees and more experience migrate to schools with fewer high-needs students.” I’ve haven’t taught at every school in Georgia, nor have I seen any data to confirm this statement, however I question how true it is. In every Title I school I’ve worked in, a large percentage of teachers hold a master’s degree and many have or were pursuing doctorates. In my current school, 4 teachers hold doctorate degrees. I can’t say if they come from “diploma mills” or not, although I really don’t know what schools are considered diploma mills. One of my co-workers recently told me how he really enjoyed working at an elementary school in North Fulton (he left because of the commute). He was able to teach without having to constantly discipline. Now he has to constantly discipline and fit teaching in. He holds a doctorate. He chooses to stay because he really wants to make a difference with these kids. He feels they need good educators.

Many of us in lower income schools are here by choice. It takes a strong teacher to work in these schools. As a music teacher I am able to pull superior and excellent ratings every year at LGPE. I think that makes me an outstanding teacher.

“Current tests across the nation — Georgia’s included — place too much emphasis on student recall and too little emphasis on application of knowledge.” I couldn’t agree more.