Archive for November, 2011

DeKalb explains $53,000 to $72,000 secretarial job in central office. I still don’t get it.

UPDATED at 1:42 p.m.

Here is the official response to my questions about the DeKalb school system’s ad seeking a secretary with a high school diploma or GED and at least a year’s experience for a position that pays between $53,186 and $72,285

If you read the original blog I posted at midnight, you will see that many posters are stunned by this level of pay, which exceeds what some teachers with advanced degrees earn.

This came just now from DeKalb spokesman Walter Woods: Below is my response to him about his explanation:

Appreciate the opportunity to respond. I saw the teacher’s post on Get Schooled this a.m. and they, and some of the posters, make valid points. The School System’s resources and attention should be in the classroom, not the central office.

That said, DeKalb Schools is advertising for the position, which has been vacant since March. The salary range is based on the position description from eight years ago.

You may know that we are in the process of assigning …

Continue reading DeKalb explains $53,000 to $72,000 secretarial job in central office. I still don’t get it. »

Dear student, It’s time you learn to read — more than 140 characters.

A teacher sent me this essay, which I thought was great. With her permission:

All of this talk about good versus bad teachers has me a bit concerned. We don’t have any problem saying this teacher is “good” or this makes a “bad” teacher, but we would be crucified in education if we tried to label a student good or bad. I’m over that. As a teacher, I can’t fight the media and the parents and the politicians. However, I can appeal directly to my students. I can “sell” them on what I have to offer. Here are some of the words I had for them.

An Open Letter to My Students;

As your teacher, here are some things I wish you knew…

1. You’re not special. I know that hurts, but it’s time someone told you. I don’t want your Twitter feed or status updates because, contrary to what social media has taught you, it’s no more exciting when you go to the dentist than when I do. Somewhere along the way, we did you a great disservice. We gave you a trophy for doing nothing; we gave you …

Continue reading Dear student, It’s time you learn to read — more than 140 characters. »

DeKalb teacher: Why is county hiring a secretary at an annual salary of $53,186 to $72,285? Good question.

UPDATE: at 10: 39 a.m. Go here for county explanation but it’s not a clear one, at least not to me.

UPDATE at 8:36 a.m Friday:  DeKalb spokesman told me via e-mail that he would provide “some information” on this later this morning.

A DeKalb teacher sent me this outraged note about a current job posting for a secretary in DeKalb’s central office:

As a teacher and a taxpaying citizen, I am outraged to find that DeKalb County Schools has posted a job opening (1271-2011) for a Secretary to the Chief Officer who would make more than I do. The salary range is $53,186.40 to $72,285.60, but unlike me or many of my colleagues, this person needs only a high school diploma or a GED. According to the web site, the job is posted for only a week (Nov. 4-Nov.11).

Given the support for SPLOST (even if the voting numbers were low), furlough days for us teachers, increases in insurance premiums, and the possibility of further budget cuts, this salary does little to evidence DeKalb’s …

Continue reading DeKalb teacher: Why is county hiring a secretary at an annual salary of $53,186 to $72,285? Good question. »

U.S. DOE will investigate Penn State’s role in sex abuse scandal

As more information comes out in the Penn State scandal, it becomes all the more unimaginable that so many adults failed to take the ethically, morally and legally mandated actions to protect the children involved.

Now, the U.S. Department of Education is entering into this scandal, which has cost Penn State President Graham Spanier and legendary coach Joe Paterno their jobs.

If you have time, take a look at Maureen Dowd’s column in the Times today about the scandal. The details are sickening.

From the US DOE:

The U.S. Department of Education will launch an investigation into whether Penn State University failed to comply with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (the Clery Act) in regard to allegations of sex offenses on campus by a former school official. Former Penn State Defensive Coach Jerry Sandusky has been charged with sexually abusing several young boys over several years, including incidents on campus.

Under the Clery …

Continue reading U.S. DOE will investigate Penn State’s role in sex abuse scandal »

Smiley faces on new evals: Kids will mark them but will teachers have them?

newsurveysampleI just met with a team from the Georgia Department of Education about its work on using its Race to the Top monies to develop a teacher and leader evaluation tool that incorporates many moving parts, including two 30-minute principal observations, student performance as measured by standardized test scores where there are such scores,  other measures in courses without tests, such as middle school chorus and first grade reading, documentation of strong teaching practices, including student work, planning materials and data analysis, and student surveys.

I am going to write about this at length shortly, but wanted to share one slide from the DOE presentation as I think it is a novel idea — asking  students even in kindergarten to review their teachers. Students from kindergarten through 12th grade would be surveyed once a year electronically under the pilot.

While the youngest students would circle one of three faces — the best rating being the smiling face — older students …

Continue reading Smiley faces on new evals: Kids will mark them but will teachers have them? »

Wilbanks on SPLOST vote: Victory belongs to Gwinnett’s children, parents and teachers

Here is a letter to the Gwinnett community from school chief J. Alvin Wilbanks in response to the strong showing Tuesday in favor of extending the penny sales tax in that county for schools:

In just two weeks, we will celebrate Thanksgiving Day… but in Gwinnett County Public Schools, the time for giving thanks is now. On Nov. 8, Gwinnett citizens went to the polls and again showed their support for public education in our county by voting to extend the one-cent sales tax for schools.

Passage of the education SPLOST certainly is cause for celebration in the school district. But the victory really belongs to Gwinnett’s children, their parents and teachers, and the people who live and work in Gwinnett County. Everyone will benefit from the continuation of the sales tax for schools… through increased educational opportunities for students, better preparation of tomorrow’s workforce, enhanced property values that come with good schools, and a boost in economic development as new …

Continue reading Wilbanks on SPLOST vote: Victory belongs to Gwinnett’s children, parents and teachers »

Yale quarterback from Atlanta: Big game or Rhodes scholarship?

Patrick Witt (Yale Bulldogs)

Patrick Witt (Yale Bulldogs)

Tough choice for a Yale quarterback from Atlanta: Play in a pivotal game against arch rival Harvard on Nov. 19 or fly home to interview to be a prestigious Rhodes Scholar.

Patrick Witt sounds like a remarkable young man who played high school football at Parkview in Gwinnett before moving to Wylie High in Texas. (His brother, according to the Yale Bulldogs site, was a QB at Harvard so this is quite a family.)

According to Yale:

At Wylie High: Played senior season after moving from Georgia… Threw for 1,846 yards and 17 touchdowns… Ran for 330 yards and four touchdowns… Named team MVP… All-district and all-region selection… Team fell one win shy of the state playoffs…  Ranked among top 20 pro-style quarterbacks in the nation and among the top 100 prospects in Texas… 2007 Texas High School Student-Athlete of the Year finalist (4.72 GPA). At Parkview High (Lilburn, Ga.): Threw for 1,000 yards and 12 scores as a junior… Ran for 15 touchdowns… …

Continue reading Yale quarterback from Atlanta: Big game or Rhodes scholarship? »

Georgia Board of Regents approves plan to raise college completion rate

The Board of Regents, overseers of the state’s public college system, have been busy this week. Here is yet another action plan, this time to improve the numbers of students completing college in Georgia.

This is a statement issued this morning from the Regents:

Acting on a charge from Gov. Nathan Deal, the Board of Regents approved today a draft plan that commits the University System’s 35 institutions to increase college completion. The plan also outlines a new agreement with the Technical College System of Georgia aimed at improving students’ ability to move between the two systems and earn degrees.

The regents action follows Gov. Deal’s August announcement that Georgia was named one of 10 states selected to receive funding through Complete College America, a national organization focused on increasing the nation’s college completion rate through state policy change, and to build consensus for change among state leaders, higher education, and the national education …

Continue reading Georgia Board of Regents approves plan to raise college completion rate »

Question isn’t “whether we should pay all teachers more or less; how to pay the right teachers more.”

As you might imagine, the American Enterprise Institute/Heritage Foundation study concluding teachers, for their skills and abilities, are overpaid is still generating response in blogs and columns.

This Education Week essay by Frederick M. Hess, who is director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute and knows the authors, is among the most lucid. Hess echoes the sentiment of a local researcher who told me 15 years ago: “We have a pay system in Georgia that assures good teachers earn too little and poor teachers earn too much.”

Here is an excerpt of the Hess piece. Try to read the full piece:

Today, we’re paying the most productive employees too little, paying their less productive colleagues too much, or, most times, a little of each. In a world of scarce talent and limited resources, this is a problem. School systems casually operate on the implicit assumption that most teachers are similarly adept at everything. In a routine day, a 4th grade …

Continue reading Question isn’t “whether we should pay all teachers more or less; how to pay the right teachers more.” »

Slam dunk for SPLOST in metro Atlanta. Here comes $3.2 billion for schools.

The education SPLOST won in all metro counties where it was on the ballot today. That means a projected $3.2 billion in sales taxes going to schools over the next five years in Atlanta, Buford and Decatur, as well as Cherokee, DeKalb, Douglas, Fulton, Gwinnett and Henry counties.

In Gwinnett, SPLOST passed with 61 percent of the vote. One of the closest votes was in Cherokee, but the tax passed there 54 percent to 46 percent, still a comfortable margin of victory.

The penny sales tax for school construction drew more than 60 percent of the votes in Fulton and DeKalb. New DeKalb school chief Cheryl Atkinson isn’t waiting for the last vote to be tallied, already releasing this statement:

“We are very pleased the voters of DeKalb County are supportive of our efforts to provide the best facilities and resources for our students. We look forward over the next five years to building new schools, completing needed renovations and bringing the latest technology to DeKalb schools, …

Continue reading Slam dunk for SPLOST in metro Atlanta. Here comes $3.2 billion for schools. »