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LJWorld.com weblogs Loyal Opposition

Are Teachers Professionals?

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I would like to talk about teacher incomes and particularly about step increases. Those are periodic salary increases tied to longevity.

Teachers are professionals. They hold degrees. They are respected (most of the time). They get longevity step increases.

Other professionals outside government do not for the most part get longevity increases. They get annual salary reviews. If the business did well they may see a goodly increase. If the business did poorly they may see nothing (even a give back).

Teachers with tenure are well protected from layoffs. Most districts use the last hired first fired rule even if the particular teacher has special skills. There are no real meaningful assessments of performance and management has real problems terminating shallow performers. We complain about poor teachers while denying our educational management the means to “manage”

In the public sector if you are a professional and if you are not performing or if your particular skill is no longer required you have the glorious opportunity to move on. Management is responsible for the outcome of the business and is given the power to “manage” it.

Perhaps it is time that our school board negotiators put the annual step increase into a merit pay basket and instead of starting with a basic annual increase and adding to it as demanded by the union we start with the novel concept of earning the increase through performance.

Why should teachers see annual step increases and cost of living increases year after year? I agree we should not treat them poorly but in consideration of the professionals they are. we should treat them as all other professionals who earn their annual increases competitively.

Oh, by the by, we do not tax the super rich and we will not tax the super rich so all the arguments about more pay for teachers means more taxes for the average Kansan who does not make as much as the teachers do. The starting salaries for a teacher with a baccalaureate are reasonably competitive with commerce department data on average salaries for college graduates with a liberal arts degree.

Comments

Shardwurm 3 years, 9 months ago

Amen.

Pay the good ones and ditch the bad ones. Hard to argue with that philosphy.

average 3 years, 9 months ago

"ditch the bad ones".

Well and good. And replace them with whom exactly?

The inevitable vision that "ditch the bad ones" suggests is that there is some pool of incredible teachers out there, willing to do the job for the current pay (or 10/20/30% less preferably), who aren't being hired. That administrators are choosing to hire less than the best they could.

Sorry, but that's not the case. At least, pre-recession, it was simply bloody hard to fill many of those spots for the amount on offer. Outside of a few cases (nepotism and hiring to get a football coach) the administrators (who are graded on success) hire the best people they have available to them. Which, unfortunately, was pretty much any warm non-felonious body they could get.

Verdad 3 years, 9 months ago

I haven't had a raise in a few years. No one should receive a raise due to time in service.

Fossick 3 years, 9 months ago

Teachers also get raises for pursuing additional education. In theory that's great: the more they know the more and better they can teach. In practice it's a little silly - does a PhD really teach 5th, 4th, 3rd grade better than someone with an M.A.? How about first grade better than someone with a B.A., a cert, and a couple years' experience? Perhaps, but it's by no means a given, especially when the teachers union generally opposes anything that would allow one to prove or disprove it.

Yes, teachers are professionals, but they are what you might call 'herd' professionals. They are not evaluated individually and they negotiate their benefits as a group, their raises are not tied to their performance, and it is nearly impossible to root out incompetence short of a sexual felony conviction. Which is a major reason other professionals don't give them what they consider their proper respect.

JayhawksandHerd 3 years, 9 months ago

"They are not evaluated individually..."

That's news to me.

"...their raises are not tied to their performance..."

That's true to an extent, though there's no reason why an administrator has to renew an incompetent teacher's contract during the probationary period, especially in Kansas.

"...it is nearly impossible to root out incompetence short of a sexual felony conviction."

Not if your administrator is doing his or her job.

gudpoynt 3 years, 9 months ago

based on my long exposure and familiarity with the subject, definitely JayhawksandHerd

JayhawksandHerd 3 years, 9 months ago

"...does a PhD really teach 5th, 4th, 3rd grade better than someone with an M.A.? How about first grade better than someone with a B.A., a cert, and a couple years' experience?"

Maybe, maybe not. However, since continuing education is a condition of renewing your license - not to mention that the costs of doing so are covered largely out-of-pocket in most districts - why is it unfair to expect a little additional compensation?

Fossick 3 years, 9 months ago

"why is it unfair to expect a little additional compensation?"

I don't think it's unfair, I was merely pointing out that the argument that teachers are not getting a raise in the collective sense does not mean that individual teachers get no raises. They do, both by longevity and by increased education.

Scott Morgan 3 years, 9 months ago

Look at the role a teacher plays in small communities, or rural areas. The teaching profession is held in high regard. Not all, and not everywhere, but a high majority are viewed as valuable professional resources.

Ask the same question to a human from a small town, and the answer without doubt would be "yes indeed teachers are professionals."

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 9 months ago

This blog post is so shot full of holes it should be marketed as Swiss cheese. I have a friend who teaches math at the high school level. He has been doing so for over three years at his present school. During that time he has yet to receive a raise. By his calculations, he makes a 1.50/student/day that he teaches. He worked it out to $14/hr plus minor change (like 34 cents). And that does not include the three months per year he is unemployed. He has a BS in mathematics plus the extra courses he took to get ED certification. He is attempting to work on his Masters. He is routinely evaluated on his job performance at the end of each school year. Tied to that performance is how well his students do on comprehensive test scores (not actual improvement of the student) and how much time he is putting into furthering his own education. He has always received excellent reviews but it doesn't make any difference because there is no money for merit increases and he has yet to receive one nor has he received any kind of longevity bonus. He is not unusual or different! Tens of thousands of teachers across the country face the same thing he does every day, every week and every year. What's sad is that I know RNs with two year Associate degrees making anywhere from 8-10$/hour more than he does.

George Lippencott 3 years, 9 months ago

Well cait you confuse me as always. It sounds like your friend is in a merit pay program and does not get step raises. That is what I proposed.

Perhaps you could clarify because I really do not understand your argument that the existence of a case such as I propose nullifies my proposal?

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 9 months ago

It nullifies it because there is no money for pay increases period, be they merit or tenure based. The fact remains that teacher salaries have stagnated now for several years and in some cases have actually gone backwards. Who cares what system "pay raises" are based on when those pay increases are nonexistent to begin with?

George Lippencott 3 years, 9 months ago

Cait, Just about everybody's income has stagnated for several years now. Why should teachers be any different from any other professional. At least we have not found a way to ship teaching jobs to SEA - yet.

Scott Morgan 3 years, 9 months ago

I just called a buddy who teaches in Lawrence.

Lawrence teaching pay scale has been out of whack for years and years.

From what I've been told, real spendable income has taken a back seat for years here while concentration of raising experienced staff step pay and benefits. Or in short a promise to receive higher pay later.

This no pay raise thing started a couple of years before the economy bit the big one.

Also, he pays close to 100.00 a month for his medical, and the family plan is crippling. He claims the health insurance provider is very poor and the employees have many complaints. Especially with prescriptions and former services denied .

Oh, one other tidbit. He volunteers for school activities which take place 2 nights a week and tutors students every morning before school. I've never heard him gripe either, but he does feel the community doesn't back teachers.

tomatogrower 3 years, 9 months ago

George, many schools have frozen their pay raises, since the cut in education.

George Lippencott 3 years, 9 months ago

Thank you for catching that MISTAKE and it was a mistake.

Yes, you are right anout CEOs I think I mentioned one that drove the stock down significantly and got a multi-hundred million golden parachutre. That, however, is not the rank and file

The problem with "eating" the rich is that even if you go back to pre-Reagan rates for everyone above $250K (Mr. Obama's number) you do not raise enough money to even pay for the deficit we are already running ($2 T per year). That is before Obama care which will cool in at something like $500 B a year.

Fossick 3 years, 9 months ago

"I do think that we have a MAJOR crises in government at all levels."

Yes we do, and especially at the federal level. If you add up the money spent in FY10 for SocSec, Medicare, Unemployment, and interest, it adds up to about $2.2 trillion, which coincidentally was exactly the amount of all federal revenues combined. Courts, tanks, highways, and congressional fact-finding missions to the Bahamas were all borrowed, seventeen hundred million dollars' worth.

Unfortunately, Washington has decided not to do anything about it until there is a major crisis. Even the $61b the Republicans are talking about cutting is peanuts - less than 5% of the deficit, and the head of the Fed was telling them today they'd better take that slow. He needn't have bothered: they will.

Julie Craig 3 years, 9 months ago

On what criteria are they to be reviewed? Test scores? Popularity? Problem solving? How well the students behave in class? Are the students going to class eager to learn more, or are they bored out of their minds?

Sounds like it would take a lot of hard thought to determine what makes a "good" teacher. Good test scores one year may mean a bright class, and the opposite could also be true.

George Lippencott 3 years, 9 months ago

There are many proposals as to how to evaluate teachers. My wife was under a merit pay system ina public school some 15 years ago.

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 9 months ago

That was 15 years ago, sir. That is not now. Many teachers haven't received raises in years and some, in a ballooning economy, have actually taken pay cuts. The teachers in WI actually agreed to have their benefits and pay cut. What they refused was to give up their rights to collective bargaining.

Verdad 3 years, 9 months ago

How is no raise for them different from the private sector? I took a cut in the last 2 contracts I signed.

George Lippencott 3 years, 9 months ago

I would never have paid those bonuses and I basically reject the argument they were required.

There is nothing that says that management can not propose changes. They just can not be imposed retroactively. (unlkess it is to Social Security where a number of you want to change the program retroactively)

FieldTested 3 years, 9 months ago

Another difference between working in most private industry and the public schools is the worker/manager balance. In private jobs, most exemplary employees can move into a management position in a matter of years. In our high schools, there are only 4-5 "managers" (principal and vice-principals) to 100-120 "workers" (70-80 teachers, and 30-40 others: para-professionals, counselors, etc., etc.). Not much chance to improve your pay through promotion, as is the norm for private industry. Many long term teachers become de facto team leaders, performing many management functions. The step pay increases based on tenure are one way to reflect the reality of teaching that does not map well onto the structure of many private companies.

George Lippencott 3 years, 9 months ago

I would recognize hierarchies within the ranks of teachers (like trainers, team leaders, curriculum specialists, etc.) I am told it is the union that demands that all teachers be paid by schedule.

George Lippencott 3 years, 9 months ago

Well cait, you and I disagree on whether teachers should have the ability to collectively bargain. If public employees are to have such a right than our soldiers should have it They definitely get paid a lot less than teachers, the work rules suck and the work environment is killing. All those of military age not serving should pay the freight for the raises the soldiers will surely demand.

I would also point out that according to our inflation counters there has been no inflation for the last couple of years (it has picked up a bit recently). Not getting a pay raise when inflation is flat is consistent with what many in the private sector experience. Teachers and CEOs are not comparable.

So, all these teacher you reference do not have longevity increases? I would suggest they are the exception to the general circumstances.

I stand by my comment that starting teachers are paid comparable with other liberal arts graduates. I have seen many statements that suggest that public employees are paid more/less than private counterparts. Apparently you buy into the less group. I do not know who to believe but do note that there are substantive differences in the work environment (time off, job protection, benefits to kill for, etc.)

Why not merit pay??

madameX 3 years, 9 months ago

I don't think military members get paid less than teachers when you factor in benefits like housing allowances and educational compensation. And educational compensation is a big one. My brother joined the Air Force right out of high school and now has a BA and has no student debt at all because the military paid his tuition. I don't disagree with your idea that it's only fair that military members have bargaining rights that public employees have, but servicemembers and teachers have completely different pay structures.

jaywalker 3 years, 9 months ago

Not gonna bother with the comments. Teachers should be paid much better and their advancement should be tied to results and continuing education. If you're not actively getting better you're losing, and so is everyone else.

George Lippencott 3 years, 9 months ago

Why?

To pay teachers more we have to tax more. We will not tax the rich or poor so those taxes fall on the middle - to include the teachers. Middle is pretty highly taxed.

Teachers should endure the same as aLL OTHER PROFESSIONALS. If salaries are not increasing for others they should not increase for teachers. Remember most others do not get longevity raises. The latter should count but seem to get ignored when we talk about salary increases for teachers. They are getting increases (in general)

Jimo 3 years, 9 months ago

George --

"Other professionals outside government do not for the most part get longevity increases. They get annual salary reviews."

How familiar are you with "other professionals outside of government" and how they are paid? The world is filled with aging professionals who may have done whatever back in the day but now are the senior members of their profession and in fact do little while taking outsized portions of money. Now, you can argue that this is just a long-delayed compensation for sacrifices made earlier but it's hardly an "annual" review bonus.

"If the business did well they may see a goodly increase. If the business did poorly they may see nothing (even a give back)."

Education isn't a business. Neither is government. Nor can it ever be. Gov't takes all comers and doesn't get to avoid unprofitable or difficult market segments. Imagine a world where Apple was required to (a) supply an Ipod (b) to every single person (c) every year (d) that did whatever a committee decided it should do including contradictory but popular things (e) for $50 (f) with a budget no larger than it presently has. I'd expect we'd see incompetence personified rather than a lean, efficient business.

I salute you for asking questions, George, but as usual, a bit off-center. I'm not sure what some teacher ever did to you.

Jimo 3 years, 9 months ago

Variations of the classic joke seem to be going around again these days.

A billionaire, Tea Partier, and a union member sit down to a table holding a thousand cookies. The billionaire scoops up 999 of them and then says to Tea Partier "hey, that union guy is going to take your cookie."

The proper question isn't why the teacher gets a raise most years but rather why you aren't. Hint: the answer is completely unconnected to the teacher.

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 9 months ago

If the government scooped up 999 of the cookies the "billionaire" wouldn't be a billionaire. There. Fixed it for you too. Fuzzy logic isn't as soft and cuddly as fuzzy slippers.

George Lippencott 3 years, 9 months ago

cait

It was only 1000 cookies. Assuming they belonged to the billionaire he/she was left with 999,999,000 cookies

notanota 3 years, 9 months ago

A billionaire walks into a room. Liberty_One says, "I'll be in my bunk."

windex 3 years, 9 months ago

ROFLMAO, seriously. Good one, nota.

George Lippencott 3 years, 9 months ago

“How familiar are you with "other professionals outside of government" and how they are paid?”

Well, as it turns out quite familiar. Now, I have never operated in the rarified air you refer to but down in the trenches periodic performance/salary reviews for professionals are the norm

“Education isn't a business. Neither is government.”

Well, we differ significantly. To me they are businesses. They are not profit motivated but they have public goals and objectives that are measurable and against which public employees can be measured. Many in the more rarified air of government already are.

“I'm not sure what some teacher ever did to you.” Wife is a teacher and we have been happily married for 37 years. The real question is what in my question (not comments by others) did you consider anti-teacher?

"The proper question isn't why the teacher gets a raise most years but rather why you aren't"

Well, interesting world you live in. I don't think anybody on here is a millionaire. They will, however get to pay for the teacher's salary increase. Now, I suspect that poor performers don't get raises in business but they do in teaching. Of course, many people do not get raises because their business has been hurt by a bunch of crooks who almost took our economy down. If you are not making money you can not share it with your employees. And yes, most employers are not millionaires – except apparently in your world.

Jimo 3 years, 9 months ago

Thanks, George. But perhaps instead of giving us your Sarah Palin impression of class resentment, you might actually address the points I made. (BTW, what kind of Koolaid do they serve to convince you to defend billionaires' best interests at the expense of your own?)

Government isn't a business. "Having goals" does not a business make. The Roman Catholic Church has goals as does Greenpeace. They aren't businesses either. Sometimes, Americans, where everything is focused on profit making enterprise, can't conceive that turning another dime of profit by exploiting your neighbor isn't the sole means of organizing every aspect of society. Government, unlike business, doesn't get to choose its "customers" or refuse to serve the unprofitable. Societal problems don't disappear because you refuse to recognize them. Business problems can be solved by abandoning markets or selling off side enterprises. Everything gov't does has to be done in the broad light of day, able to be defended against each and every critic that comes along. Just try to show up to the annual shareholders meeting of G.E. or Goldman Sachs and start criticizing the details of management operations (you won't even get to a microphone assuming you even get inside the front doors). Do you really think the Lawrence City Commission can't make a decision unless you show up to give them your opinion? They could "operate like a business" - that is, not give a damn what your opinion is and fail to provide any means for you to bless them with your insights.

As to annual performance reviews, comments rarely move beyond the consensus -- a joke, a disincentive to good work, a slave collar to keep people from speaking their mind. You must be the last person alive to defend the practice. My point is that the people who can do the most harm to the greatest number of people don't have their performance reviewed (and live in a world where failure is richly rewarded).

George Lippencott 3 years, 9 months ago

tomatogrower (anonymous) replies… “George, many schools have frozen their pay raises, since the cut in education. “

Yes, TG I am aware of that. Two points

  1. Most US workers have seen little or no raises in the last two years plus (the top 10-15% excepted). The inflation counters have argued that inflation (until recently) has been near zero.
  2. I do not know whether the longevity steps have been frozen. Those do constitute a raise in the language of the private sector.

George Lippencott 3 years, 9 months ago

wissmo (anonymous) replies… I just called a buddy who teaches in Lawrence.

Those are good points. Let us explore

  1. Across the board our "leaders" have been mortgaging the future for the present. Think KPERS. That is a problem unique to all government activity be it social security or teacher remuneration. It has gotten us in the fiscal mess we are in. Who should pay for that now that the bill is due?

  2. The costs of benefits have been going up rapidly as employers pass on increases in the health care market to the employees. This problem is shared by most workers in our economy. Few are getting real raises and many are paying more for benefits. I might also point out that the employed are also paying more in taxes (not in the inflation calculation) and in regulatory costs (think energy efficiency). Kind of compresses income from all sides for most.

My point is that teachers are not being singled out for punishment.

BadLlama 3 years, 9 months ago

I have not received a "step-raise" in three years due to the budget shortfalls in my district. However, I remember the days when I did receive my longevity raise, and it added about $10 to each paycheck. What a huge "cost of living" raise we teachers receive.

levicindy 3 years, 9 months ago

Why do we continue to fight against one another? Today it is the teachers, tomorrow we'll say that law inforcement does not deserve a raise, then firefighters, then office workers, where does it end. The reality should be that all hard working employees that put time into a company deserve a raise. I'm sure you would agree that the people at the tops of those companies have no problem getting and accepting their increases each year. Are they getting their raises on the backs of those who actually improved the company? We need to work together to tell politicians at home and at the national level that enough is enough. Learn how to create a budget and follow it like most Americans do on a daily basis. If you can't, get the hell out and let someone that can step in.

George Lippencott 3 years, 9 months ago

Agnostics

Yep cait stuck it to me. Of course, I though my response was ingenuous. See what I know! You all are a hard audience given relatively obvious political affiliations on here.

Kansas is a right to work state so no one can make your wife join a union – 26 states in that group. In others, you can, as a condition of employment, be required to join the union. By the by Wisconsin is not a right to work state.

As I wrote, there are a number of ways to assess people. Test scores is one – and IMHO not a good one – by itself. The one the wife worked under was more complex and was created with cooperation of the unions and the employees. I forget the details just the sleepless nights worrying about the evaluations. It tried to avoid the obvious downside of the teaching profession – the kids are disparate. I remind you that we do have teacher evaluations now- but nothing monetary is attached to them.

Fascinating the resistance on here. Do any of you work as a professional in business or industry? I was evaluated every that is every year of my professional life. Some evaluations tied to immediate financial reward or penalty. Others tied to long-term promotion and retention issues. There are literally millions of people in the grouping I was part of.

windex 3 years, 9 months ago

I know lots of teachers and every single one is evaluated EVERY SINGLE YEAR. If you are not performing up to expectations (which are outlined in great detail), that is addressed. If you are evaluated and the consensus is that you are a genius, a saint, and a miracle worker, that's a really nice feeling but it doesn't translate into any additional money. In fact, if you are doing a great job, chances are that it's because you're signing up for every additional training opportunity, taking extra classes, taking tons of work home, and basically spending lots of your own family's resources (time, energy and money) on your students. The fact that there is no monetary incentive or reward for extraordinary skill or effort can certainly be frustrating, especially because in every school there will be teachers who are doing less (because they're burned out, because they're ill, because they don't know what to do, because they've recently suffered a major loss, because they have small children at home or other family commitments that keep them from devoting as much extra time to their teaching jobs, etc., etc., etc.) But please don't perpetuate the myth that teachers aren't evaluated. I don't know of a single public school teaching situation where they aren't.

George Lippencott 3 years, 9 months ago

Moderate says "I remind you that we do have teacher evaluations now- but nothing monetary is attached to them."

Why don't we attach money?

George Lippencott 3 years, 9 months ago

JIMO

“Thanks, George. But perhaps instead of giving us your Sarah Palin impression of class resentment,”

Hey, I am becoming concerned that you have a reading problem. When did I defend billionaires? I have multi-blogs on here advocating taxing the rich, defining the rich and specifying how much to tax. I even proposed a wealth tax to get some of the income disparity corrected. Go read them. Contribute specifics!

You and I will disagree on the “business thing. I don’t want to hang up on semantics but you can assess performance by government employees just as you can a private employee. Life is an assessment. Fairness ended in kindergarten

You and I will also disagree on the notion of performance reviews. They are an unpleasant fact. As to your comment about those who “do the most damage”, are not reviewed. Probably some truth there. So what do we do about it? Bitch?

George Lippencott 3 years, 9 months ago

Several of you

I was just reading the on line additions of the Washington Post and New York Times. Read the Wall Street Journal yesterday.

What was striking is that all these papers (left, middle and right) are all calling for give backs from public employees. Wonder why?

I will observe that giving raises to someone (public or private) requires that there be money to give. In the public arena we can do that two ways. We take from someone else to give to the favored group or we raise taxes. I know there is a notion on here of FWA but what a lifetime has taught me is that we never eliminate it and really cannot agree on what it is. Your fraud is somebody’s critical program.

Now I would love to see taxes raised in the rich (whoever they are) but the last best chance was lost last November. It is not going to happen for at least two years and maybe longer. I remind you that the really rich give proportionally to both parties creating reluctance in both parties to raise taxes on their benefactors.

Therefore, who is going to pay for the teacher salary increase – the middle class taxpayer, many of whom work in private industry and have also not seen raises in a number of years? As this battle rages, more and more are becoming aware of a perceived imbalance in how public employees are remunerated and how they are remunerated and they do not like it.

Yes, that nagging top 10-15% is seeing raises. Anybody know how to stop that other than bitching about it? Bitching provides no money to pay for the raise.

It is not about teachers. It is about equity. Teachers cannot stand there and demand a raise when the people being taxed to provide it have not received one.

George Lippencott 3 years, 9 months ago

Great. No argument from me. How do we do it? Why did Mr. Obama not make such an element of the stimulus?

George Lippencott 3 years, 9 months ago

Badllama I have not received a "step-raise" in three years due to the budget shortfalls in my district."

I am sorry. I wonder what percentage of the teachers in the US are in your situation?

tomatogrower 3 years, 9 months ago

The problem with merit pay for teachers lies in politics, it's also why they need due process. Too often if a teacher is a good coach or chummy with the principal or someone on the school board, they are lauded. They probably would get the raises, even if they are lousy teachers. I've seen parents, including board members and administrators, who blame the teacher if their kid is failing, never mind that the kid is disrespectful and never studies. These are the people who will determine who get merit raises? Sure most people out there are fair, but what about the ones who aren't? How do you propose to protect the teacher, George? No one has yet come up with criteria for giving merit raises. How do you keep politics out of it. That's politics with a small "p", not government politics.

windex 3 years, 9 months ago

Another problem is that the diversity in teaching jobs is HUGE. Students are essentially taught by teams of people once they're past first or second grade.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 9 months ago

This poll might well represent how strong USD 497 taxpayers feel about teaching professionals: http://www2.ljworld.com/polls/2003/mar/teacher_salaries/

George Lippencott 3 years, 9 months ago

That was 2003 when all were flush. This is 2011 when many are not - or have you not noticed

George Lippencott 3 years, 9 months ago

Good Morning

Yes, the process of evaluation is tricky and probably never really fair. Little “p” plays (people politics) and middle “p” plays (organizational politics).

That said, we have found ways to evaluate and remunerate most of our professional world (with similar challenges) however imperfectly

That leaves us with

  1. Continue a collective approach to remunerating teachers where all are equal regardless of accomplishment, work product, attitude, skill, etc. or

  2. Find some way to compensate teachers based on the above

Agnostic: To evaluate I would start with the current evaluations that do not rely totally (if at all) on the performance of the kids. Of course, IMHO they should to some degree (like before and after testing used by many performance based educational institutions). I don’t think this is a bridge too far and I am certain one of more of the ideas out there on the web can be tailored to a reasonable system

See my newest Blog to deal with where I am coming from.

http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/loyal-opposition/2011/mar/7/teachers-are-professionals-but/

windex 3 years, 9 months ago

But what do you do with: 1) The art teacher 2) The reading/math specialists who works with the low readers/math students 3) The special ed case manager 4) The library media specialist (who IS a teacher) 5) The music teacher 6) The PE teacher 7) The language teacher (French, Mandarin, German, Spanish, etc.) 8) The speech/language pathologist 9) The counselor And so forth. To properly evaluate all these different teachers is going to require a LOT more administrators than most districts currently employ. Is this what we want? Really? More "fat" at the top?

Test scores are a one-size-fits-all solution to a situation that only fits about a third of all teachers, at most, and is seriously flawed even then. You're proposing to pay teachers based on student learning AND student/parent behavior (parent cannot get kid to school on time, student never brings any materials to class, student only comes to class once a week, student comes to school but has mental illness breakdowns and cannot/won't work, etc.)

There are lots of models for teacher evaluation/pay we could be using. Not sure if there are any that would truly save us any money.

George Lippencott 3 years, 9 months ago

madameX (anonymous) replies… I don't think military members get paid less than teachers when you factor in benefits like housing allowances and educational compensation

I can only compare starting salaries. The military is an up or out system with wide variance as you go up/or not. About half the officer corp makes it to 05 after about 20 years . Only about 5% make it to flag. For an elisted it is a good bet you will make E6. After that it is problematic An E1 makes annually on a direct comparison $30K. Benefits are comparable and in some cases favor the teacher. An 01 makes $45,000. (as above)

The latter surprised me with my entry pay of $222/mo. Perhaps teachers should become officers?

George Lippencott 3 years, 9 months ago

windex (anonymous) replies…

But what do you do with: 1) The art teacher 2) The reading/math specialists who works with the low readers/math students 3) The special ed case manager 4) The library media specialist (who IS a teacher) 5) The music teacher 6) The PE teacher 7) The language teacher (French, Mandarin, German, Spanish, etc.) 8) The speech/language pathologist 9) The counselor And so forth. To properly evaluate all these different teachers is going to require a LOT more administrators than most districts currently employ. Is this what we want? Really? More "fat" at the top?

Good question.

In my technical services world we had engineer and scientists with degrees that ranged from physics to linguistics working on topics as diverse as chemical detection to human simulation. About as diverse as your teacher population.

The process was the same and was based to a reasonable degree on goals and objectives. The manager set down with each employee and negotiated expectations for the coming year (staggered). At the end of the period the evaluation related back to the performance of those goals. Goals were objective as much as possible but subjectivity certainly crept in.

As to the administrators. I would like to see ‘Master Teachers” who are responsible for a group of other teachers and who have performance oversight – and more pay. A hierarchy of teachers to recognize contributions within and outside the classroom. Would lead to more teachers and hopefully to a better set of communications between management and the teacher (a complaint I have often heard from teachers)

If you are comfortable with the collective methods we use now than accept the result. The good teachers are handicapped by the poor teachers who draw public opprobrium resulting in less available resources.

One point. I understand the fear that any change is motivated by an effort to cut teacher income. That is not my motive. Creating a more professional teacher corps with an internal hierarchy will cost money. Money that I as a tax payer would be willing to pay if the result is a more effective educational establishment.

The teaching profession must face reality. True professionals are individuals and are evaluated and compensated accordingly. Assembly line workers are evaluated and compensated as a group. Maybe you can have it both ways and maybe not.

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