Pennies from heaven? DeKalb teacher discovers merit pay just shows up.

Merit pay in Georgia – based on a teacher evaluation system that remains controversial and dependent on scores from tests that are unproven — is going to be a contentious issue among Georgia teachers. Below, you can read a note from a DeKalb teacher to understand why.

teacherhidingGeorgia’s new educator evaluation system bases job ratings on an administrator watching teachers teach and on student academic growth. For teachers of grades and subjects covered by state tests, including math, English, social studies and science, student growth is measured by the Georgia Milestones tests.

However, for about 70 percent of teachers whose areas are not covered by state tests, student growth is measured by Student Learning Objectives or SLOs, created for each class. In some districts, teachers administer and grade the very tests used to evaluate them.

If you want a sense of how confusing merit pay is proving, read this note from a DeKalb teacher:

A colleague advised me to check my bank account today. I did.

DeKalb Schools had deposited several hundred dollars in my account.

Yesterday was stipend/merit pay deposit day. Shockingly, DeKalb does not distinguish money being paid out for merit pay, stipends for certain activities or SLO development. (Stipends were given to people for summer workshop attendance and for writing the new Student Learning Objectives. That’s right. In some cases, teachers write and score the very tests used to evaluate them.)

As I do nothing to earn a stipend, it would appear by the money that appeared in my account today that I’m one of the “lucky” (an appropriate word in this case) DeKalb teachers receiving merit pay this year.

DeKalb has not published information about merit pay. We are being told teachers would receive explanations during pre-planning.

APS announced its merit pay system in January, and the district even has a specific email contact. DeKalb? Nothing.

We teachers received no email, no letter. Many don’t even know they received money. And some may be wondering why they have the money.

Also, the amounts DeKalb disbursed differ from Atlanta’s. APS provided information stating no teacher will receive less than $1000 in merit pay.

In DeKalb, we are hearing staff members received anything from $500 to $2000. And that includes coaches/PE teachers, as well as non-teaching staff.

And some teachers are fuming, wanting to know why they didn’t receive anything and others did.

Did DeKalb really use the teacher-graded and sometimes erroneous SLOs to determine merit? Did DeKalb really use test scores from technologically questionable environments?

Did DeKalb really use dubious evaluations (some teachers weren’t evaluated the required number of times; no standardized implementation of number rankings; evaluation information can be changed with no record other than a teacher’s hard copy).

Please get a discussion started so teachers can see how other districts have rolled out merit pay.

 

Reader Comments 0

160 comments
dekalbteacher
dekalbteacher

Fred,

I think disgusted is a better description.

A few things you've overlooked:

First, this release doesn't explain that the very non-teaching staff the teacher questions are omitted. Did you know the "top" leaders (administrators) received $2,300? Do you have a good explanation for this omission?

Second, the DOE descriptions do not apply. Contact the state-as I have -and you will find out that each school district may interpret and apply the standards as they deem necessary. Like the teacher, I never saw one district-specific explanation, just the copy and paste jobs from the DOE.

I believe teachers' evaluations are. subject to open records. Don't take my, the questioning teacher, or other posters' comments and experiences as proof. If Dekalb ever publishes the names of the recipients (and why wouldn't the school district ?), see for yourself. See if all these meritorious teachers were evaluated the number of times they were supposed to. See if and how supporting information was used.

I'd love to start the school year hopeful the district has turned the corner . So far it doesn't appear so . I know more about the former superintendent's supposed accomplishments than I do about Dekalb's implementation of a federally-funded program intended to improve teaching and learning.

atln8tiv
atln8tiv

In typical fashion for GA education, teachers are the last to know. If I were one of those Dekalb teachers who received extra pay, I would put that money away somewhere safe. Who knows? In another month or two, you may be told that those checks were sent by mistake and you need to pay the money back. It wouldn't surprise me at all.

dekalbteacher
dekalbteacher

Henri,

I think this newsflash opens the gate to more speculation. It took the district four days to come up with this announcement that actually announces very little but reveals much.

Phone calls to payroll already revealed the day of deposit and so would any open records request. Why pretend it was the week of the 20th? Deposits were made days earlier, but it would appear that Superintendent Green needed days to get to the bottom of this. He was smart enough to make sure his name isn't on any of this. I like him already.

Walden's August email includes merit pay for administrators. Why is this $ 2,300 amount excluded?

Nikole explains that Beasley held numerous meetings Wasn't he the leader in charge of this Race to the Bank scam?t This announcement doesn't appear to go through him or any department. He must be too busy looking for all the information that was supposedly provided. I wonder if he remembered to transfer his first class stuff to outlook .

FredinDeKalb
FredinDeKalb

@dekalbteacher 


I hope your obvious bitterness towards DeKalb does not carry over to the classroom and the children you teach.  Perhaps you should seek employment in another school district since it seems nothing will make you happy, even a memo explaining how the information was communicated over time.  By the way, have you found out how this was handled in other school districts in the state?


Many employees have problems with their bosses.  The primary ones that don't are self employed.

dekalbteacher
dekalbteacher

Fred,

Yours is the attitude that allows Dekalb's dysfunction to continue while students suffer.

Don't like the way things are handled? Don't try to improve things; leave.

Sorry, Fred. I live in Dekalb and I work in Dekakb. I will continue to work to improve this system. One of the biggest improvements would include competent upper-level staff with integrity and interest in students. If the district handles something as insignificant to teaching and students, how does it handle the important stuff worth much more than 4 million?

Again, I hope you don't accept such explanations when dealing with your own finances.

Haven't heard about any other school districts' handling of merit pay.

FredinDeKalb
FredinDeKalb

@dekalbteacher 



Based on the posted news release, teachers in DeKalb have been aware of the RTTT grant since it became available 5 years ago.  As I mentioned earlier (and you complained about again), the allegation made by one teacher was not fact checked unless you are also saying teachers never knew about RTTT, the measurements provided by the GA DOE or receive any information about it. It is probably fair to say that other school districts used the same measurements however we cannot validate that because they were not mentioned in this blog.


Below are the comments that led me to say you must be bitter and may want to consider employment elsewhere.  If you do work to improve this system, perhaps my earlier comment was harsh.  There was a blog that no longer exists that advertised they worked to improve DeKalb Schools however spent most time in their last few years providing out of context misinformation.  If when correct information was provided, they kept moving the goal posts with their proclamations


*Right now I can't feel thankful because the money deposited in my account feels mor like the money Eliot Spitzer left at the bedside.*


*The teacher's "allegations" still stand true. Not one person on this blog has confirmed they received written or telephone notification of the merit pay.*


*I do read all messages -and district website info.-because that's how I find out what's really happening. Sorry, one supposed email months ago -August, if you go by Walden, or "winter" just isn't good enough.*


*I, too, work hard. I, too, received merit pay. However , I'm not grateful. I'm embarrassed. The way this process was implemented takes away from any purported "value.*


*This pay doesn't acknowledge value; it makes a mockery of a financially-supported initiative intended to improve education in Dekalb*


I hope you and the other teachers in DeKalb have a great school year.I will continue to speak out about misinformation regarding DeKalb Schools and help all employees focus on educating children.That is where the focus should be.I read recently in the CrossRoadNews that over 84% of students got diplomas during the last school year.  If true, hopefully that can be exceeded at the conclusion of this school year.



lakesidedekalb
lakesidedekalb

@FredinDeKalb


Your advice to the teachers in Dekalb is go to other districts instead of holding this district accountable.  


Is that what your father's generation did, moved from Selma, Alabama  to Portland, Maine? They  had the Civil Rights martyrs work it out for you until they came back?


This generation of teachers will not take cover and leave the students at the mercy of the gang in Curriculum and Instruction.

Henri P. de Vastey
Henri P. de Vastey

I am pleased that Dekalb County Schools has sent a news release. The release is going to put to rest some speculation and open the gates to more discussion. I am proud my school district is addressing the issue. 


News Release

25 July 2015

1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard

Stone Mountain, GA 30083-1027

Communications: 678-676-0720

 

STATEMENT REGARDING MERIT PAY FOR TEACHERS

During the week of July 20, 2015, the DeKalb County School District distributed merit pay from a federal program, Race to the Top, to 1,830 teachers, who were identified as the top 20 percent of teachers in SY2014-2015 using measurements from the Georgia Department of Education (GDOE).


The amount awarded to the top 10 percent of teachers was $2,500. Additionally, merit pay awards of $869.75 were given to the 2nd tier of teachers in the next highest 10 percent.


Throughout the five years of the grant including SY2014-2015, the process that determined the top 20 percent was explained many times to principals and teacher leaders.Teachers were given the opportunity to ask questions about the process through principals, teacher leaders or directly to the District Department of Curriculum and Instruction.Periodic updates were posted on the teacher electronic message board (NewsFlash) throughout the school year.In addition, faculty meetings, principal training, teacher evaluation, principal orientation with teachers, principal meetings, and central office meetings were held.


Teachers with additional questions about the merit pay program should contact their respective principals.


Contact:

Quinn Hudson

678.676.2848

quinn_hudson@dekalbschoolsga.org

nanayh
nanayh

@lakesidedekalb  and dekalbteacher,

I agree that DeKalb once again showed little consideration for teachers in the way they handled the merit pay distribution.  We work in arguably the most dysfunctional county in the metro area. Working in DeKalb is stressful enough.  We don't need to turn this into a divisive issue amongst our fellow teachers.  I am happy for you, Andreasen.  I'm sure you earned every penny of that merit pay and deserve it.  You should be proud.  To the rest of you, I know that there are probably teachers who received the pay that don't deserve it and some who deserved it and didn't get it.  If you think you received merit pay and someone in your school deserves it more, you are free to balance the system and donate your money to the more deserving teacher. 

dekalbteacher
dekalbteacher

Andreasan,

I also worked hard and received what you call a bonus but Dekalb County Scholls and the GA DOE refuse to even recognize.

Right now I can't feel thankful because the money deposited in my account feels mor like the money Eliot Spitzer left at the bedside.

lakesidedekalb
lakesidedekalb

Maureen,


I am happy you published the article about merit pay in Dekalb. The merit pay brouhaha, you must be aware, is just one of the symptoms of a school system on the verge of implosion.


I hope---if Dr. Green is in fact a qualified superintendent and not one beholden to the cabal of nitwits that has been running and ruining the system for nearly a decade-Dr. Green is rapidly becoming aware of the issues ailing Dekalb County for years now if he is reading this blog. ( Can you invite him to read it? Please?)


I hope, if Dr. Green dares to peel the covers and unmask the many charlatans in charge, he will soon realize how poorly served the students and teachers are by his staff and have the courage to bring in competent staff from around the country. 


As Fred so ironically argues and inadvertently admits guilt, such discontent is not seen in the ranks of the sister school districts. Perhaps it is because other districts, even imperfect ones, have logical, efficient, and fairer processes to operate their systems. Dekalb Schools does not in fact have such processes or safeguards. The merit pay incident is but one of many unseen manifestations of the incompetence of the Dekalb Schools System.


Columbia High School, Lakeside High School, and Rockbridge Elementary Schools have principals who not only cannot lead but are destroying every precious ounce of good in these schools. Yet, these principals are protected by a brotherhood of bumbling bullies with the power of unchecked teacher evaluations and trumped charges of insubordination.


Parents of every economic and educational stripes suffer from the Dekalb Schools ineptitude. Lakeside, a high income community, opted 2 years ago to bet on someone they thought they knew to become its principal instead of risking a Dr. Ralph Simpson type. In trying to jump out of frying pan, Lakeside jumped into the fire.


Is there hope? It's in Dr. Green's hands.      

Andreasen
Andreasen

I worked really hard this year. My students made great progress. I am thankful for the bonus.

lakesidedekalb
lakesidedekalb

@Andreasen

Yes, Andreasen, ONLY the teachers who worked hard this year + ONLY the teachers with students who made great progress ACTUALLY got merit pay. NOBODY who did as well or better as you GOT LEFT OUT. You believe it and you are grateful. Super!


But let's rephrase what you said: I am grateful I was never ticketed for a "lane change" by an incompetent and unbalanced policeman. Though luck to those of you who drove as well as I did but were ticketed!


Quit complaining everybody! I got mine!

Concerned_1
Concerned_1

@Andreasen See the thing is, it wasn't supposed to even be based on your students' learning from this year.  The student progress was based on 2013-14 CRCT with your teacher evaluations from this year making up the second part.  Congrats, though.  I think most teachers who didn't qualify would like to see how they compared, and why they were not eligible.  Transparency is non-existent up to this point, which is, sadly, the same 'ol Dekalb.

G Leandrae Sykes
G Leandrae Sykes

You can trust Dekalb to confuse you. If they learn to care about teachers and staff a lot of things we could live with. But a unprofessional principal like at Rockbridge will and should never be tolerated. If principal care instead of threaten you to be silent when children are being abused the pay of a teacher would go a lot farther. Get rid of sorry poor excuses of a principal like at Rockbridge

G Leandrae Sykes
G Leandrae Sykes

Well I know for sure some of the teachers at Rockbridge deserve more. They had to endure an unprofessional principal . Who cared about herself instead of the staff. Teachers were intimidated threaten forced to be silent. Negative evaluated demean and demoralized. Wow pay her to leave DeKalb.

dekalbteacher
dekalbteacher

Fred,


As long as Dekalb does something as poorly as other school districts, you're satisfied?


I hope you don't apply this standard to your health, financial investments, or children's education.


It would appear that this reasoning, along with walden's "If you don't like it, leave" attitude, is all school districts and the state need to keep receiving and dishing out millions of federal dollars-monies intended to improve education for students- with little to nothing to show.


Apparently, your comparisons to the corporate world stop at just that: they give bonuses. When Delta gave its bonuses, they announced it via newspaper and employee email. 


Are you really going to pretend that the lack off announcements and published information is acceptable, even if every other Georgia school district was equally _____________ (fill in the appropriate word)?






OriginalProf
OriginalProf

 View by an outsider:  What a great way to destroy morale and produce back-stabbing envy among K-12 teachers in DeKalb! Just send "merit pay" to some of them unannounced, with no explanation of the standards for "merit" and no official list of the recipients, so that those who did not receive merit pay will not even know this until they begin gossiping. Also a great way to create free-floating paranoia about the motives of the DeKalb powers-that-be.

FredinDeKalb
FredinDeKalb

@OriginalProf


I agree with your point.  this blog was started based on the allegations of one teacher that received money without personal knowledge as to how they received it. Others have mentioned seeing notifications throughout the year.   With such a small sample size, there isn't enough information to know what is true however I would lean toward the comments that notification should have also been handled at the school house. 


There are more people in DeKalb more energized for negativity despite the fact the all school districts have issues.  It seems that teachers in other districts don't poop where they work as much.

dekalbteacher
dekalbteacher

@FredinDeKalb @OriginalProf ,


The teacher's "allegations" still stand true. Not one person on this blog has confirmed they received written or telephone notification of the merit pay.


The only thing people like Nikole, Sherri, and walden have alleged or confirmed, depending on the view, is that the district supposedly emailed numerous announcements, even if the only thing that has been posted is an August 8, 2014 document. For the record, that was during pre-planning before school started and before the school district transferred to Microsoft Outlook. The previous district communication system, first class, was removed on July 1.


Keep trying, Fred. Dekalb's leaders need people like you.

nanayh
nanayh

@FredinDeKalb @OriginalProf  "It seems that teachers in other districts don't poop where they work as much."  It also seems that teachers in other districts don't get pooped on as much.  DeKalb continues to request class size waivers long after neighboring school districts have reduced class sizes to no more than the state maximums.  These districts also pay experienced teachers more, pay more for advanced degrees and haven't taken away supplemental retirement plans even during the recession.  Every year you lose more and more of your most experienced and most dynamic teachers to these neighoring counties.  Wake up and smell the kaka DeKalb!  If you want our respect and appreciation then throw a little bit of that same respect and appreciation our way.  Surely there is someone at the AIC that could have sent out an email or letter of congralutions or even a simple notification to those of us who received merit pay.

lakesidedekalb
lakesidedekalb

@OriginalProf


Some people had plenty of warning and instruction on how to avail themselves of this pay. I suspect school liaisons teachers (with minimum classroom duties) and some administrators knew the criteria in a timely fashion. 


For the majority of teachers, eligibility depended on several factors including the time to prepare and upload documents into an unfriendly website,  a manageable number of students, students who were willing to take tests seriously, AND ADMINISTRATORS WHO GAVE GREAT EVALUATIONS.


The teachers who earned merit pay on the basis of EVALUATIONS ONLY were the luckiest of all.


All this made possible by the GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION that on one hand states that the evaluation instrument is gravely flawed and one the other hand ALLOWS schools to use it MOST IMPORTANT factor in getting merit pay!


Go  Georgia! Let's catch up with Mississippi in school achievement!




lakesidedekalb
lakesidedekalb

@FredinDeKalb @OriginalProf


Freddie,


I guess nobody should have marched with Martin Luther King where they poop so they would jeopardize a working water fountain and comfortable seats in the back of the bus.


If this was just malcontents and lousy teachers venting, where is an email from Dr. Green and Quinn Hudson explaining our concerns?


Freddie, call the board members, Dr. Beasley, Ms. Tyson, Quinn Hudson, and Dr. Green to let them know there the toilet is clogged up merit pay wantabes.


lakesidedekalb
lakesidedekalb

@FredinDeKalb @OriginalProf and people who are  not in Dekalb County



I suspect this negativity is bad fruit from a bad tree!


I bet my Christmas bonus that most other school systems made sure EVERY TEACHER had AN EQUAL chance at merit pay and solid administrative support.


I bet their RTT chiefs (unlike our Dr. Beasley) were highly focused and made sure everyone was informed and uniform standards were established.


It was very hard for Dr. Beasley to stay focused merit pay FAIRNESS when he was OPENLY CAMPAINING to be the NEXT DEKALB SUPERINTENDENT! ( Dr. Beasley: didn't you tell me that come July 1 you'd be superintendent in Dekalb or somewhere else? Man of cloth and man of your word.)


That is why people are upset. Get it?


Here is a prediction, Fred: Dr. Green WILL FAIL if he keeps Dr. BEASLEY and RAMONA TYSON on the payroll! Why? To be successful, Dr. Green MUST UNDO every major program and policies these 2 and friends have CONCOCTED in the last 5-8 years! Come on, Fred, you are in the know. 

FredinDeKalb
FredinDeKalb

Maureen wanted to also see a discussion of how other districts rolled out their merit pay program. I would be curious to see anyone respond to that.  dekalbteacher is obviously not happy with the way DeKalb's way of doing things however could not point to a district that did it better. DeKalb is the *whipping district* again when we can't compare it to others, which is typically the case.



Perhaps Maureen could ask other districts to share how this information was communicated and delivered as looking solely at one district does not provide enough context.

dekalbteacher
dekalbteacher

People are claiming they've received recognition or that they or their colleagues know they've received merit pay. How? The TEM email to which Nikole refers never showed up in my inbox. Dekalb hasn't sent any announcements explaining the distribution of merit pay, and merit pay was deposited the same day stipends were.

I'd really like to know how so many of you are certain you received merit pay and how you know your colleagues did ir didn't receive merit pay.

Is this another redelivery issue, as Nikole characterizes it?

Or are there more missing emails that walden and Sherri are sure were sent but somehow can't be produced?

I guess as long as enough people got some money to keep them happy and the DOE doesn't require Dekalb to publish the names of recipients we will never know.

If we adopt walden's view, we should just trust this is legitimate because she can assure us the district leaders are not unprofessional and they posted state descriptions the district can interpret as it sees fit.

After all, when has Dekalb County Schools ever suffered from corruption or "dysfunction " ( a quote the former superintendent who approved this merit pay implementation)?

nanayh
nanayh

@dekalbteacher "I'd really like to know how so many of you are certain you received merit pay and how you know your colleagues did or didn't receive merit pay."  Honestly, I am assuming that the direct deposit from the DeKalb County School District for $2500 for an "extra activity" is merit pay based on the amounts listed for merit pay in the Newsflash that was sent out at the beginning of the school year.  I know about my collegues who received the same "extra activity" fund based on personal communications with those teachers.  In fact, I would not have known that I had the extra money if a collegue had not called to tell me to check my account. 

TBTeach
TBTeach

This system screams bias!  It is appalling that it is possible to  receive this merit pay based solely on whether or not you were liked by the administration but  not possible to receive this merit pay based solely on student growth rates!  The human factor was mentioned in several posts!  In my opinion, this is why the system is flawed!  There were physical education teachers who received $2500 while many core teachers received nothing.  The P.E. teacher has no EOCT and none of the pressure that the core teachers face daily.  There are many instances where they simply make up a grade or two when grades become due and of course the grade to give is 100%.  Most core teachers actually grade papers and give accurate feedback, but apparently this is not the behavior that the system rewards!

ATLPeach
ATLPeach

@TBTeach  Sorry, but you're wrong regarding non-core teachers. I am responsible for 600+ student grades. No core teachers has that number of students. I give monthly assessments (only because I see the students only once per week). In addition I give grades based on performance of skills taught or written assignments. We are required to give a minimum of 9 grades per semester. Do the math and you will see that we give far more grades than any core teachers. I'm not a PE teacher, however they often have 40+ kids at one time with no help. In middle and high schools those numbers are greater. They also have physical assessments that must be given to each student. It's mot as easy as you may think. By the way, the PE teacher, nor any other non-core teacher received merit pay in my school this year! NONE! We are held to standards that we can't possibly meet.


The SLOs are a joke. There are no guides to advise teachers what to focus on. When you see students less than core teachers, it is impossible to cover all the standards. There's only so much that can be done once a week for 30-45 minutes. We don't get any assistance for students with IEPs or 504 plans. Students are constantly being pulled from  your class because frankly, no one finds value in what we do. The SLO scores are not public, so they are not important to the powers that be.


This is one of those areas where you would have to "walk in my shoes" to really understand how difficult my job is.

TBTeach
TBTeach

@ATLPeach @TBTeach My post refers to first-hand knowledge at my school.  I am sorry that the non-core teachers at your school did not receive any merit pay, however, this does not mean that my statements for my school are not true!  In many cases, the people who received merit pay did so based solely on administrative evaluations written by their pals! So it seems that the best way to be rewarded in education is to simply kiss some administrative butt!

Sherri Hampton
Sherri Hampton

For the record, last winter Dekalb Co sent out a letter on Merit Pay. It explained who would get it, the amounts, and what for. As educators we push students to read for understanding but half of us don't read OR pay attention to most of the things going on in our schools..

dekalbteacher
dekalbteacher

Sheri,

You, grateful Walden, and Nkole keep claiming "this" was all announced, yet none of you can produce one announcement from outlook or one website link .

I do read all messages -and district website info.-because that's how I find out what's really happening. Sorry, one supposed email months ago -August, if you go by Walden, or "winter" just isn't good enough.

Cere
Cere

Here's an idea! Take the $4 million and just divvy it up among the 6,000 or so teachers left in DeKalb. Give everyone a bit of a bonus for having suffered the disgrace of absolutely no raise and yanking the pension contributions out from under them. Let's see... Each and EVERY teacher would net about $650.  What a morale boost!


BTW - check out their original plan for RT3. Shall we evaluate whether or not these administrators met their goals? 


http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/www/documents/news-and-info/race-to-the-top/scope-of-work-%282011-08-22%29.pdf


BCW1
BCW1

What is so ridiculous about it, it is only a 1 year deal. So why do it at all? One and done... Way to go DOE!!!

lakesidedekalb
lakesidedekalb

Fred, Tbwalden, Astro,


Are you people really accepting TEM, LEM, TAP, SLO as measuring tools to award up to $2500 to so-called MERITORIOUS TEACHERS? Be honest, you could explain--not parrott-what is involved in each of these acronyms,


Again, I am glad Dekalb County threw out some cash and some of it landed on you. I would FEEL DIRTY if it had landed on me knowing how it came to me. 

Astropig
Astropig

@lakesidedekalb


Just for the record no cash landed on me. As a taxpayer, I threw the cash (in my own county,not in DeKalb). I personally would not feel the least bit "dirty" taking money that I had earned. In fact, in my business, I don't. I actually use the money I make to buy a lot of (Irish Spring) body wash,for that fresh,refreshing feeling when I'm spending what I have earned.

lakesidedekalb
lakesidedekalb

In Dekalb, it's rigged and rotten.


The so-called merit pay was based on 2 legs: 1) student test scores (some standardized and some County-made by teachers without science or expertise---first hand knowledge here) from 2013-2014 school year and 2) Teacher Evaluations by the principal and assistant principals from 2014-2015 school year. Note: for teachers without a test (gym, ESL) or without students of their own (Special ED), only the principal's evaluations mattered.


In my neighborhood school, Lakeside High School, the principal actually made up the  majority of the evaluations. Let's say it again, Fred and Walden and others, the principal created the evaluations of most teachers out of NOTHING (Dr. Green: ask the assistant principals and the teachers of 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 for confirmation).


Out of the 6  required evaluations, most teachers, at most, have 3 (actual) evaluations on the State Evaluation Platform. This can be verified. If a  teacher said there were 1 or 2 evaluations on the platform, one or more virtual evaluations mysteriously appeared on the State Evaluation Platform (most teachers did not sign-off these virtual evaluations). This can be verified by the he State.


In cases where the summary (overall) evaluation was instrumental in qualifying for merit pay, the Lakeside principal strategically awarded his supporters in his fight for survival against the Dekalb County Schools Office of Internal Affairs.


With the shabby way Dekalb County Schools implemented and executed the merit pay program, Dr. Beasley, Ms. Tyson, and Mr. Thurmond could not have found a better formula to demoralize and balkanize the Dekalb County Schools.

Astropig
Astropig

@lakesidedekalb


I'm happy for the teachers that got merit pay. Really,really happy. I could care less about you and your pouting.


I'm sorry. The above sentence is in error. I apologize. I meant to say that I could not care less about whether you got merit pay. Glad to clear that up.

popacorn
popacorn

Teachers that get merit pay like merit pay, teachers that don't, don't. 

Sounds like the Catfight of the Century in the making. 


lakesidedekalb
lakesidedekalb

@Walden,


Glad you got merit pay. Can you honestly say you deserved your merit pay more than  your fellow teachers? Can you give us solid details what you actually did to earn this merit? I am anxious to learn from you.

nanayh
nanayh

I was elated to receive recognition for a job well done and I believe this process worked in our school.  The three people who I know received merit pay at our school were completely deserving.  They spend their days teaching kids instead of sitting behind their desks expecting the kids to teach themselves. They differentiate, work hard, and are professionals in every sense of the word.  One of the teachers is an upper grade teacher and the other two teach lower grades.  However, we are blessed to have at least one adimistrator who understands what an elementary classroom should look like and who does not play favorites when evaluating teachers.  As thankful as I am to receive merit pay, I do think it was odd that DeKalb just deposited the money in our checking accounts with no explanation.  I have been checking my Office 365 account for the last couple of days for some kind of a letter of congratulation or explanation.  My theory is that DeKalb is scared to give its "top" teachers written proof of merit pay because they are scared we will use it to get out of DeKalb.  Basically, by openly recognizing excellent teachers, DeKalb risks adding to their resumes and giving them more opportunity to leave a system that rarely shows apprecition for its teachers.

Edna Pontellier
Edna Pontellier

I am a high school teacher in DeKalb and I didn't get the merit pay. I probably deserve to feel exactly as bad about this as I do, but I'd be a lot less angry if the following weren't true: 


1 - My school only administered one class of student evaluations this year, and there were supposed to be two. Student evaluations contribute toward a teacher's TEM score.


2 - My principal (who never formally observed my class) issued the same cookie-cutter summative evaluation to nearly every faculty member. My summative evaluation only contained canned comments and as I never had a conference about it, I have no idea why my summative evaluation was significantly lower than my formative evaluation (of which I only had one, and it was performed by an assistant principal). 


3 - To my knowledge, my department colleagues who received the merit pay taught mostly EOCT courses. The teachers of SLO classes in my department did not.


But maybe that's just my sour grapes talking.

dekalbteacher
dekalbteacher

Fred,

What type of recognition does this bring?

If I were observed only three times and someone else was observed six or I was observed by an administrator who interprets differentiated instruction as one thing and a colleague was observed by an administrator was interprets differentiated instruction differently, for what am I being recognized ?

Dekalb publishes absolutely no specific illustrations of what differentiated instruction looks like in a class of 30 to 35 students. I've heard administrators explain it differently. Curiously , not one leader has demonstrated it in a class or posted a video for us teachers to learn from. So my merit pay may, in fact, recognize the absolute absence of consistency, clarity, and transparency in purportedly measurable areas of teaching value.

If my students take a test with a much higher pass rate than a test of another subject, then what is this merit pay recognizing? Good teaching or poorly constructed tests?

Zzyzxman123
Zzyzxman123

What a damn joke... Public schools are becoming the laughing stock of this country, Lets continue to blame the teachers for student performance. Parents have no role whatsoever. Ridiculous.Glad ''m almost done with this career

class80olddog
class80olddog

Merit pay for teachers means NOTHING - you know why?  Because it ain't the TEACHERS, stupid!  The three big issues at failing schools (yes, that is DeKalb) are discipline, attendance, and social promotion.  These are mostly under ADMINISTRATOR control.  That is why I asked about merit pay for ADMINISTRATORS (and no one has answered, because there IS no merit pay for them - they get fat checks already - there needs to be some reverse merit pay for them).

Retiredmathteacher
Retiredmathteacher

@class80olddog Actually, a LOT of administrators, especially those with superintendent in their title, DO get merit pay (usually called a bonus) based on district-wide or school-wide test scores.