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basing my pay on students
Old 01-13-2010, 02:45 PM
 
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I teach 6th and 7th grade math. Today, a 7th grade student (he's been with me a year and half at this point), didn't have his homework because he didn't know we had any. EVERY day, five minutes before the end of class, we get out planners, I write the assignment on the board, orally say the assignment, have the students look at the assignment, check for comprehension of the directions, tell them to write in their planners. When we don't have homework, we go through the same process of writing in our planners. EVERY DAY. Last night, our governor gave a speech about how I am not working hard enough, my pay and job should be based on student performance, and everything wrong in the world is my fault. What is wrong with this picture? I can't do any more-I am not allowed to drill holes in their heads and pour it in. My request for a cattle prod was denied. Until I am given the necessary tools to force my students to do well, either come in my room and show me how to do it or SHUT UP and go pick on someone else.


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Old 01-13-2010, 02:49 PM
 
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By that standard, you should write a letter to your Governor and hold him/her personally accountable for all the teen pregnancies, the joblessness, the crime rate, etc. After all, that individual is in charge of the state and the governance of its citizens. HA!
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Old 01-13-2010, 02:53 PM
 
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You must live in the same state of Georgia as me!

Isn't it lovely that we're going to be held accountable for parents that don't care, students that care less and administration that places students without considering what their needs are?
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Old 01-13-2010, 03:52 PM
 
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Excellent retort to the people in power who don't know what they are talking about most of the time!
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If they did that this year...
Old 01-13-2010, 04:16 PM
 
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With the class that I have this year, I would owe the state money!


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Old 01-13-2010, 04:28 PM
 
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Bookwoman, I teach in TN also. I read that he wants a min. of 50% of a teacher's evaluation based on student test scores. TEA says 30% max. There are soooo many things wrong with this I don't even know where to start.
1. What about those teaching PE, computer, art, music, etc how will they be evaluated?
2. High school teachers will not want to work at rural or low soc. eco. schools because of Gateway Testing.
3. Elementary and middle schools scores are using "value added", so if you have a very high group of students it is difficult to show gains in achievement.
4. Special ed. students are tested on their grade level, not on their ability level.
5. No student or parental accountablilty. (Some students do not even try. They just fill in some bubbles then put their heads down.)
6. Teacher cheating. (Even if you don't cheat you could lose your job if you teach the cheating teacher's students the following year. These students would probably not be able to make gains, they would probably drop using the value added system.)
7. Factors that teachers cannot control. Ex. Death of parent, losing home, etc.
I could go on. There are many other things wrong with this idea.
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Old 01-13-2010, 05:48 PM
 
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I share your pain. I've written to the governor--no response. I wrote to my state senator--no response. I wrote to my state representative and finally got a response:
Quote:
You ask some very good questions and so far, the administration has not been able to give us specifics, for various reasons...mostly they are "protecting the integrity and secrecy of TN's application for funds."

We will continue to press for information and I greatly appreciate your thoughts on the matter.

Keep up the great work.
My letter to them questioned making testing high-stakes for teachers but not for students, evaluations of those who don't participate in state testing (PE coaches, foreign language teachers, etc.--will their evaluations be as high-stakes as ours?), and asking just where on earth our state will find teachers for classrooms when they've run all of us out.

It stinks.
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Have you all heard of this
Old 01-13-2010, 05:55 PM
 
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Reach for the Top? What you all are talking about seems to be this program which I believe is tied into the govt's. stimulus $$.

I just read an article in one of our city papers tonight about how our state teachers' union is backing this. I understand that districts apply for these funds IF they base teacher evals, in part, on student performance, etc.

I believe the deadline for requesting this money is Friday, hence the newspaper article. I haven't googled yet to see what our particular district is doing, but I'm headed that way.

Should be concerning to all public school district staff.
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NJEA isn't backing it
Old 01-13-2010, 07:15 PM
 
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NJEA has issues with it. The local newspaper ra an editorial about how selfish teachers are not to agree to this if it gets money into the schools. Let them come in and try what we do. It isn't as easy as it looks.
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NJ too
Old 01-14-2010, 05:03 AM
 
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As a fellow NJ teacher, I am happy that the NJEA is not backing this. I don't think any teacher's union should be backing this - how come we are held responsible for kids who don't try and could care less?!? I know all of you do you absolute best each and every day, and it's still not enough.

If you also feel this is a problem, make sure your LEA has all the info needed, because in order for a district's application to go to the State gov't, it must be signed by the superintendent, BOE and LEA president. If one does not sign, then it's a no-go for that district. They can still send in the application, but it won't count.

I am taking this very personally, as I feel that merit pay does not mean students are going to magically get smarter or care more.

YUCK


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Couple of miscellaneous thoughts
Old 01-14-2010, 05:09 AM
 
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I saw an item in the NYTimes yesterday that Randi Weingarten of AFT said the union had agreed in principle to work on a new model for how public school teachers will be evaluated, promoted and removed. Her speech makes reference to using student test scores as one benchmark, but since this is so preliminary, it's unclear how they might be used. I guess the logic is that it makes more sense to try and influence the process than to stand back, complain and get run over by the truck... In the meantime, I just finished the Ruby Payne book, "A Framework for Understanding Poverty." I was struck by her comments in chapter 8 on instruction: "The emphasis since 1980 in education has been on teaching. The theory has been that if you teach well enough, then learning will occur. But we all know of situations and individuals, including ourselves, who decided in a given situation not to learn." The sidebar says, "Teaching is what occurs outside the head. Learning is what occurs inside the head." She continues, "Traditionally, we have given the research on teaching to teachers and the research on learning to counselors and early-childhood teachers. It is the research on learning that must be addressed if we are to work successfully with students from poverty." My note in the margin says, "This flies in the face of everything we are doing w/NCLB, teacher standards, etc!" Ruby Payne gets it, and many admins consider her a guru. How come nobody else is listening?...sigh...
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Let's look
Old 01-14-2010, 06:03 AM
 
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at this realistically. If they started basing our pay on our student's test scores, then here's what would happen. Many people would leave teaching because they could not afford to be in a profession where their month to month pay could not be counted on.
How could they buy a home, car, or even rent an apartment if their paycheck depended on the whims of a child and whether or not the child felt like taking a test seriously. Many people would not go into teaching for the same reasons. No one would take jobs where the children are difficult due to the same reasons.
How would this scheme affect retirement? In my state, your teacher retirement is based on your last three years of employment. If you made very little in one of those years, due to your student's test scores, then the state could lower your retirement pay. This is all I've got. We get no Social Security here.
I would like to meet anyone who would want a job where you might get paid or you might not. This whole idea is just too stupid.
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Old 01-14-2010, 06:26 AM
 
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I also saw the quotes by Weingarten. Something was also said about how this part (teacher evals) would need to be within the union negotiated teacher evals in a district -- or words similar to that.

My district offered a Ruby Payne workshop a year or so ago. Attended by many top admins in the district. Many eye-opening things were presented. Since there were so many top level admins, I felt that maybe something was up and changes were in the making.

I guessed wrong.

So why even have the workshop in the first place???
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Race to the Top
Old 01-15-2010, 01:28 PM
 
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It sounds like most states are applying and that individual districts can choose to apply. As I understand 50% of teacher evaluation in my district will be based on test scores. What worries me is that teachers will start cheating just to boost scores-and honestly, when it is your livelihood in jeopardy I can understand it. Our district is already very score oriented, I can't imagine what will happen if we get the money! I would really like to know where the money is coming from with the deficit as high as it is! If we all start making less they won't have as much tax money from us! I am afraid we are losing sight of children in this picture when all we think about is a test score.
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Old 01-15-2010, 07:34 PM
 
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I have a lot of the same concerns that others have on the issue. However, my understanding ( for Tennessee anyways) is that a a portion of our evaluation will be based on our test scores not our pay. Now maybe this will be different from district to district. In mine we paid more according to education and more based on years taught. I have heard that the association settled for 35% of the evalution.
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Old 01-16-2010, 04:24 AM
 
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We have over 320 districts and charters applying for the funds. A large number of those have the union president's approval. I find it terrifying to have pay based upon scores. I believe in my state it is up to 50% of the salary can be evaluated this way.

I teach in a private school, but find the attitudes of the students to be, "This is hard. I don't want to work at it.". I can't imagine dealing with public students, especially in high-poverty areas. I student-taught inner-city students and loved it. It has always been what I wanted to return to when my own children were older. Well, my kids are 5 years older, but I'm afraid to make the jump back into the public systems. I don't make near what public or charter teachers make, but I also am assured that I will receive what my contract states.

The fear of hard work is not what bothers me. I prep for 5 different subjects in 3 grade levels. I have taught over 13 different preps in the last 5 years. I work very hard at my job to be sure I am ready to help the kids learn, using research-based methods, etc. The fear that I am financially accountable for the lifestyle and choices of parents is terrifying.
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Old 01-16-2010, 05:45 AM
 
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What would happen to special education teachers who work with students who aren't performing on grade level to begin with? I started my career with 5 year olds who weren't feeding themselves, dressing themselves, responding to their own names or simple directions, or talking. Not even babbling. Even if these children made huge progress over their years in school, how could anyone possibly expect them to "catch up" completely given such a difficult start? A system based on test scores would have no relevance in that situation.
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I'll accept it when....
Old 01-16-2010, 07:11 PM
 
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I'll accept this plan when:

1. When Obama's health care is given only to American citizens who have earned a high school diploma.

2. When my governor's pay is based on the successful implementation of the programs he promised in his campaign speech.

3. When my state superintendent's pay is based on the overal growth of student achievement across the entire state.

4. When my state superintendent can balance her own checkbook.

5. When my county school superintendent's pay is based on the average growth of every student in the county, including a zero for every drop out.

6. When my principal's pay is based on the the feedback and performance of the teachers in the school.
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and don't forget
Old 01-16-2010, 07:18 PM
 
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7. When I am given the respect and freedom to teach my students the way I think is best, using the materials I request and don't have to pay for myself, and NOT forced to teach in the restrictive environment that has been implemented recently.

8. When I am given the authority to discipline or reward student behavior.

9. When parents are held responsible for helping and supporting me and their children with their education.

10. When parents are held accountable for getting every child to school on time every day, when parents are held accountable for the emotional and physical well being of their children, when parents are held accountable for the behavior of their children.
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