Teacher performance bill hits a bump and goes back to Rules. Will it return at the 11th hour?

House Education Committee chair Brooks Coleman just asked that Senate Bill 521 be returned to the Rules Committee, which seems to take the controversial measure to judge teachers on their students’ performance off the agenda for the time being. The House agreed to Coleman’s request.

Does the bill — which is actually dual enrollment legislation with the performance language added last week — go back to Rules and come out again in the last hours of the session?

Or does it disappear into the mist? Is this a time delay to garner support? Or a concession that there is no support?

”Sending the legislation back to Rules Committee might be a sign that there is insufficient support to bring it to the floor. We know that educators across the state have been communicating with their representatives – who, unlike the governor, have to face the voters this November,” said Tim Callahan of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators.

“I’d like to believe that, but it may only be a brief tactical retreat to duck safely back into the legislative ’smoke and mirrors’ only to pop out again just prior to sine die when it is more hectic, legislators are more pressed and things can sometimes sneak by,” he said.

According to Marcus W. Downs, director of government relations for the Georgia Association of Educators, “We can only speculate what it means for the bill to have gone back to rules. We would hope that legislators are going to take a closer look at what section four of the bill could mean and will consider striking it from the language. We do not oppose dual enrollment- we do not oppose the development of evaluation tools. It is unfortunate however that such a serious amendment was made without stakeholder input.

“We would like to thank those legislators who have considered our requests – Rep. Coleman has been a supportive chair and has brought our organization to the table. We are trying our best to be a part of the solution to the challenges Georgia is facing in education. We recognize that the solution will never be valuable or credible if done in a vacuum,” said Downs.

82 comments Add your comment

Georgia Teacher

April 27th, 2010
2:36 pm

They will put it off the radar until Friday… when no one pays attention to the news.

catlady

April 27th, 2010
2:49 pm

Like a roach, it will scuttle back in in the middle of the night!

Teacher in Cobb

April 27th, 2010
3:10 pm

Like the piece of crap “No Child Left Behind” which further allows the parents to place blame on us teachers, this bill will do just the same. Stop placing the failure rate on teachers. Parents need to step up and take charge of their kids. I didn’t lay down to make them, so I shouldn’t have to be the one that has to teach them things like being prepared in school, stop talking and picking up your pants. If you want kids to pass – get the little hoodlums out and in jail.

Veteran teacher, 2

April 27th, 2010
3:11 pm

Possibly, but now we are ALL watching. Keep up the pressure on the legislators, folks.

Mid Ga Retiree

April 27th, 2010
3:14 pm

Merit pay for teachers and all other government employees needs to be implemented. The only way to come up with a system to fairly evaluate employees is to pass the law ahead of implementation. As long as an evaluation system is not mandated, no one will seriously try to come up with a fair evaluation system. The status quo has got to go.

Reality

April 27th, 2010
3:16 pm

Sorry, but the idea of merit pay for teachers is CRAZY. Pay teachers on TEACHER performance, not STUDENT performance.

The republicans are just on a path to do whatever they can (merit pay, fold teacher pension, etc.) to kill public education in GA in favor of their “voucher” system that pays a small flat rate for students. The republicans in GA will continue this path until the voters WAKE UP and stop voting for them!

How’s this for a REAL idea to improve education in GA….. allow the classroom teacher a voice! Permit a real teacher union to represent what is best for student education rather than allowing politicans and administration that know NOTHING about education to make decisions. That is what has worked in most of the NE states that beat out GA in every metric possible wrt public education.

Attentive Parent

April 27th, 2010
3:18 pm

As the full story of what has gone on in education in Georgia during Perdue’s and Kathy Cox’s tenure gradually comes out. they will become infamous.

Why follow their rec’s now?

Tell us one good thing that has happened to Georgia education during their years in office.

Reality

April 27th, 2010
3:18 pm

@Mid GA Retiree

There is already a teacher evaluation in place in GA. It evaluates teacher performance in the classroom. That is totally acceptable to all.

Paying teachers based on STUDENT performance is the problem here. Teacher have no control over the students lives at home or anywhere outside of the classroom during school. There are abusive parents (physical, mental, sexual), students that don’t eat dinner, students that don’t get a good nights sleep, etc. And THEIR performance should have bearing on teacher pay?

Get real!

Reality

April 27th, 2010
3:21 pm

Those reading my comments, please keep in mind that I teach in a high school located in a wealthy area of North Fulton where the student scores normally lead the State. While I might benefit financially from this “merit pay” for teachers, I strongly feel that it is WRONG and UNFAIR.

Teachers that do their best in the worst parts of the State deserve as much compensation as I…. maybe more.

Mid Ga Retiree

April 27th, 2010
3:43 pm

I am real. Merit pay needs to consider ALL aspects of the job. Part of teacher performance is student performance. It needn’t carry the most weight, but for a full and complete evaluation it has to be considered.

catlady

April 27th, 2010
3:50 pm

Mid Ga–obviously you retired a lot time ago. Come back to school.

Legend of Len Barker

April 27th, 2010
3:53 pm

Here is a copy of a scenario from my blog. This was a student I was asked to help tutor in the mornings:

Some years, you might have a child like T. T bounced back and forth between county school systems. Despite being 13 or 14, T’s reading level was somewhere around primer. Our system was only responsible for T’s education every other year or so. Other counties had him in other years. Why should one of T’s 8th grade teachers be held responsible for this student’s achievements? T’s progress was hindered long ago and while the student had a good attitude, I can’t help but wonder how much T was getting out of school. Or how much T even wanted to be there. T’s attendance was never exemplary.

Veteran teacher, 2

April 27th, 2010
3:54 pm

@Mid Ga Retiree. Please do not assume that all students are trying their best on the assessments, or on ANYTHING, for that matter. Last week in discussing options for classes to select for next year, my advanced class had only one question: “which one is easiest?” And anyone wonders why teachers are reluctant to be paid on the basis of student perfomance????

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Mid South Philosopher

April 27th, 2010
3:56 pm

It could just be that the members of the General Assembly are not as forgetful as Sonny. They well remember the taking of Roy Barnes to the! woodshed in 2002

Reality

April 27th, 2010
4:02 pm

@Mid GA Retiree

So then, as a teacher, you would be fine to link YOUR salary to students that are on drugs, prosititue, etc. so have no time to learn, study, do homework, etc. You would be fine to link YOUR salary to students whose parents could care less if they were at school or not. You would be fine to link YOUR salary to students that cannot bring a pencil, their book, or even a piece of paper to class.

Really? I mean, really?

One could be the IDEAL teacher, doing EVERYTHING right. But, there are just too many circumstances totally out of control of the teacher. The teacher cannot be, and should not be, the parent. If I have to be the parent (feed, clothe, provide supplies, etc.), also, I need a PAY RAISE and not furloughs!

An analogy would be the auto worker that gets paid based on the shape of the car he produced 5 years after the owner has driven it. What if the owner never changed the oil? What if the owner had a wreak? There are too many variables for that to be a fair method of measurement.

Reality

April 27th, 2010
4:05 pm

Sonny doesn’t care about being taken to the woodshed. He cannot run for another term anyway. That is why he is pushing through this crap legislation.

Hank Rearden

April 27th, 2010
4:22 pm

As far as RTTT goes, it’s bad enough Sonny ain’t got the stones to raise taxes without him dropping to his knees and begging Washington for a bail-out.

Mid South Philosopher

April 27th, 2010
4:23 pm

Nope, Sonny doesn’t care. But some of these “wanna-be life-long legislators” may feel differently. Teachers and their families are not going to put up with it any longer!

HS tchr

April 27th, 2010
4:24 pm

Mid GA Retiree: The problem is not with pay for performance. If a teacher isn’t performing, they tend not to stay in the profession. There are always going to be a few, but in 22 years, I’ve seen less than five stay in the profession. It’s not like the old days where you were autonomous in your room and nobody cared what you did. There’s much, much more scrutiny now than ever before. This profession weeds them out…trust me!

Pay for performance is fine, but I cannot see the legitimacy of passing a law mandating it with no guidelines for how “effectiveness” is to be measured. Having read the Florida bill, which was much more detailed, I believe any bill on this issue must be carefully worded and presented. Blindsiding us, sneaking it into the last days of the session, or trying to make some backdoor deal certainly isn’t the way to persuade us to embrace it. They can get this- if they do it respectfully and convincingly.

I'm with mid GA

April 27th, 2010
4:24 pm

If not students’ learning, whatelse are we paying teachers for? Babysitting? I must admit there is a value there, but why should tax payers pay teachers if they can’t make difference in students no matter where they come from? If it is fair to evaluate coaches based on their team’s performance, why not evaluate teachers based on their students’ performance?

@ Reality
Actually, the value added system will not favor teachers like you since they will be measuring the change in students – and comparing it to their past performances. If a student makes 0.6 grade advance while they had been making only 0.2, then the teacher did something better than others. In some ways, those teachers teaching at an affluent school may have to deal with the ceiling effect – how much higher can a student go if they come in at 96%?

Teaching Used To Be A Noble Profession

April 27th, 2010
4:39 pm

Nothing is over yet. They may still try to sneak it through on Friday. Keep the pressure on politicians and tell them, “Teachers will remember in November.”

Mid South Philosopher

April 27th, 2010
4:50 pm

All politicians at every level of government might want to remember these words:

“the good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
when the gales of November came early”

Coastal Ga Teacher

April 27th, 2010
4:57 pm

I’m afraid that like many of you have already said, it might get slipped through when we least expect it, like late Friday. Don’t let up on your emails to your legislators. Keep sending them. November elections are just around the corner!

Mid Ga Retiree: Are you a retired teacher? If so, easy for you to say this is a good idea since it won’t affect you. Duh!

Attentive Parent

April 27th, 2010
5:01 pm

So will the parents who are tired of paying for math tutors because Sonny and Kathy sold off how math would be taught to Georgia students and what textbooks would be pushed by the state and insisted on mandating the failed integrated approach to math on Georgia high school students.

Now they’re agreeing to adopt Common Core no matter how controversial and bragging about how they’ve been involved from the beginning. They see Common Core as nationalizing what has worked so poorly in Georgia.

No wonder in particular the comments keep talking about how disjointed and weak the high school math Common Core standards are. That makes perfect sense if Ga is a primary model.

http://www.pioneerinstitute.org/pdf/100402_fair_to_middling.pdf

It was bad enough to impose this mandate on a whole state. Now they’re trying to export it to the other states.

Say no to RTT.

Say no to the Common Core Standards Initiative until more is known on what we’re agreeing to.

Say no to Linda Darling- Hammond’s idea of a new subjective way to assess American students as part of Common Core.

If you think the CRCT is expensive, who will pay the costs of tests that have to be graded individually by teachers (as LDH has said per EdWeek) instead of machines?

How many expensive long term ideas in addition to merit pay will the state agree to trying to bring in a relatively small amount of additional funds?

Kathy Mitcham

April 27th, 2010
5:10 pm

Teachers need to thank Representative Brooks Coleman for trying to stop SB 521 from going forward. I just did

RobertNAtl

April 27th, 2010
5:16 pm

Just a thought, but how about a merit pay system for the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, and the state legislature? We could base their pay on metrics such as lowering unemployment and inflation in the state, decreasing violent crime in the state, etc. Shouldn’t be any harder than devising criteria for teachers! After all, if merit pay can be used to improve educational outcomes in the state, why not apply it to other government employees as well?

Mid South Philosopher

April 27th, 2010
5:21 pm

I am for paying the governor a set salary, but no retirement, save a modest contribution to a 401k. Incidentally, that salary should be fluid and should be the ‘average’ salary of a couple only family in Georgia.

As for state representatives and senators…not one dime in salary. Modest expenses when they are in Atlanta.

Canedawg

April 27th, 2010
5:53 pm

Since when was there a long line of teachers dying to enter our profession? It is hard enough to convince bright, young college students to go into education. Now their job security is going to be based on the performance of teenagers – the most unpredictable animal on the planet!

The entire public education system is spiralling into chaos. In 10 years, the government will be looking for ways to get out of the education business as we know it. The gap between public and private schools and their effectiveness, facilities, and quality of staff will grow and grow. School districts are on the verge of bankruptcy, and over the next 18 months, something has to give. The gap in the education that the poor and the lower middle class get will get bigger and bigger – which will in effect perpetuate the class system in our country and actually make it worse…

Why would anyone enter into our career field now?

history teacher

April 27th, 2010
6:00 pm

To I’m with middle Ga
Please evaluate me like a coach. However treat me like a coach. I must have tryouts for my class, mandatory after school practice, and the freedom to run the fool out of students who cut the fool, and the final say about kicking the trouble makers off my team. When I can do that, then bring merit pay on. I can live with it. In one of my 11th grade classes, I have three students who have a lexile score below 400. In other words, most 4th graders read better.The state talks tough about not letting them leave certain grades without passing the crct. All of us know that is a joke. All parents have to do is sign the waiver and they are promoted. Even if the parents keep them back, what do you do with a 16 year old that can’t read and pass the CRCT?. One thing you cant do it prepare them for the EOCT and the GHSGT. If they cant read it, they cant pass it.

jane

April 27th, 2010
6:02 pm

When test scores are evaluated they do not evaluate how much progress one student makes from one year to the next. They compare the previous year’s class to the current year’s class. Maybe if they were measuring how much a student learns during the year using student data might work. I am not sure how statistics would handle those students who disrupt and derail even some of the best teachers. If you have a class with 4 to 5 class clowns the teacher spends most of the time in and out of the classroom trying to handle those students instead of teaching to the others who are willing to learn.

@ harold

April 27th, 2010
7:06 pm

In DCSS principals and Central Office administrators pressure teachers to change grades and pass the students on. The next year they end up in a classes further behind than ever. They are passed on even though they can’t pass the CRCT, EOCT or any tests in the classes they take. Take a look at grade changing in DeKalb. Governor Perdue and the Legislature want teachers to be responsible, but the cheating is really in the administrative end. Who lost their jobs in these grade changing scandals – you guessed it – the teachers (one of them is a Georgia Tech math major). Who kept their jobs – DCSS administrators. My guess is that DCSS is not the only school system that has this going on. Perdue and the current legislators need to face up to the fact that what they are doing is not working for Georgia students. With any luck, many will be voted out come November. I’m looking for viable candidates to work for:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nlFiNlZ3uo

http://www.wsbtv.com/video/22250810/index.html

.

ffflats

April 27th, 2010
7:30 pm

I hope the kids don’t learn any of these school board moves,I think they have more better morals.

bootney farnsworth

April 27th, 2010
7:31 pm

It’ll be back.

ffflats

April 27th, 2010
7:31 pm

Enter your comments here

TELL THEM NO

April 27th, 2010
7:59 pm

How GAE and PAGE fail Georgia teachers

April 27th, 2010
8:11 pm

Do we not have a Republican legislature? The party of rule of law and personal responsibility? GAE and PAGE could be pounding this drumbeat over and over: what will you, as conservatives, specifically do to support teachers in holding students accountable, with meaningful consequences, when students fail to take personal responsibility, follow the rule of law in the classroom, and fail to act in accordance with societal standards?

There’s no real excuse that the Legislature could offer for not doing so, and it’s a serious disservice to Georgia teachers that PAGE and GAE haven’t done so. Maybe PAGE and GAE higher ups who are, or have been administrators, feel they have to protect their administrative members who would suddenly have a real level of accountability if they had to support teachers in such manner.

Is this a case where PAGE and GAE feel they have to protect their administrators, even if it leads to a catastrophic lack of advocacy for the classroom teacher when it comes to having the authority needed to teach?

That might be a really good question for teacher members of GAE and PAGE to ask themselves. If you’re trying to serve two masters, which one gets fed to the wolves when the going gets really tough?

d

April 27th, 2010
8:12 pm

At some point people really have to understand that “student performance” or “student achievement” and “learning” are not in any way the same thing. Once that occurs, and we can say are students learning then we can talk about attaching teacher evaluations to student learning. Are students learning? No, then we have a problem. Student performance makes the children sound like machines that have to produce and only one person who has a small part of that molding is held responsible.

Ray

April 27th, 2010
8:16 pm

The nice thing about merit pay is that it will further wreck education, giving the GOP further ammunition not ot fund it.

That’s what they do – destroy the gov’t so you won’t want it.

How very taliban of them!

d

April 27th, 2010
8:20 pm

How bout this tactic — declare a voice vote that failed to have passed and not allow there to be further debate.

Happy Teacher

April 27th, 2010
8:26 pm

If this were an actual merit pay bill rushed through like this? I’d be livid…but it’s a proposal to develop a teacher evaluation tool someday. I’m having a hard time working myself into a lather over it.

I know that this is a step towards merit pay in the Governor’s eye, but this is the last session he will preside over, so why get so worked up? It’s clearly a ploy to parade in front of the RTTT panel, and frankly, I think they’ll see right through it.

I’m much more curious about the current crop of gubenatorial candidates. That is where any real school reform will come from, so I think that turning our attention towards that is more important. Anything passed now won’t have any real teeth, and would have to be addressed again in any larger reform efforts to come. I haven’t heard much from the candidates about their plans, so the whole thing feels a bit moot to me.

The big fix

April 27th, 2010
8:28 pm

Would you fix a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without peanut butter and jelly?

So how in the $#%# do think you can fix the public schools without discipline?

rosie

April 27th, 2010
8:46 pm

So many valid points on this topic:
History teacher- evaluate me like a coach if I can be treated like a coach.

Mid South Philosopher- let’s put our state office holders on merit pay and evaluate them based on tax collections, unemployment #s, job creation, etc.

@harold- every school system in GA is asking teachers to change grades only to ask another teacher to do the same thing for the same student the next year.

Attentive parent- stop the Common Core Standards

Me- vote Kathy Cox out of office. She hasn’t done anything to help teachers do their jobs in the classroom. The evaluation instrument in this bill has already been developed by Mrs. Cox’s staff. She is just waiting on the okay.

M G

April 27th, 2010
8:50 pm

I was present for the Rules committee meeting. SB 521 has been amended and is going back to the floor. he am

history teacher

April 27th, 2010
9:33 pm

MG how was it amended?

18 years as a teacher

April 27th, 2010
9:37 pm

majii

April 27th, 2010
9:42 pm

Even if Senate Bill 521 does not clear both houses in the General Assembly before this session ends, we still need to get the supporters of it out of the legislature this November. If we don’t, this issue will be revived again in January 2011.

Happy Teacher

April 27th, 2010
9:48 pm

Here is the watering:
“Instead, members of the House Rules Committee changed its language to require teacher and public input as new, statewide evaluation rules are developed”
…which seems like a positive step.

GA Teach

April 27th, 2010
10:04 pm

If it passes we will be required to be ruled by RTTT. We will have to be on a Merit Pay. It is one of the requirements.

DO NOT SUPPORT THIS BILL with the new language added to it.

Happy Teacher

April 27th, 2010
10:13 pm

IF it passes, then we might have a microscopically higher chance of receiving RTTT funding, GA Teach…