Teachers mobilize against proposed changes to how they’re paid

Begun last year to fight jumps in healthcare costs, TRAGIC — Teachers Rally Against Georgia Insurance Changes — has expanded its focus and now rallies educators statewide on a range of concerns.

A panel appointed by Gov. Deal is looking at teacher pay.

A panel appointed by Gov. Deal is looking at teacher pay.

And there is a major concern among Georgia teachers tonight — possible changes to how they are paid.

TRAGIC won its battle over rising healthcare costs, but I’m not sure how effective it will be in pushing back on the state’s proposal to upend teacher pay.

The reforms under discussion take aim at what critics decry as lockstep salary increases that fail to distinguish and reward the top teachers.

A change in the current pay model is seen as integral to the state’s intention to use student performance as a factor in raises. The state wants to move away from a compensation system that considers experience and advanced degrees.

From the TRAGIC Facebook page, where teachers are heeding today’s call to action:

The Funding Subcommittee of the Education Reform Committee (ERC) again discussed a proposal to remove teacher pay for Experience and Education in favor of a base-pay system.

Once this new system is implemented, the state base pay would be set at just under $51,000 — the rest of a teacher’s salary would be left up to the local districts.

Can your district afford to make up any of the difference? We still have districts today who have furlough days.

The subcommittee estimates it will take $88 MILLION to fund existing education and experience credits. Let that sink in… this means they are essentially proposing an $88 MILLION pay cut for teachers and hoping we won’t notice because there is talk of “grandfathering” it in over a number of years, or simply taking a few years to implement (the ERC had no firm answer for when this would be fully implemented)..

There is talk that current teachers will be grandfathered in, but, according to a recent PAGE report, every district in the state (except two) has moved to a Charter or IE2 District models. Under current law, these districts ALREADY HAVE THE ABILITY TO CHANGE TEACHER COMPENSATION, but most have not done so.

It appears that many of the ERC funding recommendations are designed to force districts to change their compensation models away from education and experience and towards paying for performance.

Remember, the state essentially “forced” districts to move to a Charter or IE2 designation by threatening districts that remained “status quo” with removal of class size waivers and pulling some funding, why would we put it past state leaders to force districts to change their compensation models?

This plan will place a huge funding burden on local districts, will hurt future generations of educators, and will only exacerbate the looming teacher shortage in Georgia. While there may be money in the first few years to fund existing education and experience credits, how long will the state continue to give the local districts money to fund existing salaries?

This pay system will discourage teachers from reaching veteran status, since there will be no incentive to continue teaching past the first few years. This may save the state money with fewer retirement benefits paid out and lower health-care costs, but this is NOT a positive development for the children of Georgia!

PLEASE, pick up the phone the minute you are out of school today and call the Governor’s office! (Be polite and courteous – the people answering the phones do NOT set this policy!)

(404) 656-1776

Tell the Governor that we will no longer stand for this dismantling of our public education system! If we want to attract and retain QUALITY teachers, we MUST start treating teaching as a PROFESSION and treat teachers as PROFESSIONALS.

Reader Comments 0

61 comments
pamt1977
pamt1977

Where are the plans for merit pay for legislators? What about some kind of pay scale for doctors? The cost of having your appendix removed in Waycross should be the same price in Atlanta and Rome. Let's have merit pay for judges as well. And lawyers. That way it will all make sense for merit pay for those people training our future. 

high-school-teacher
high-school-teacher

Is there any profession requiring a degree that does not award pay raises based on experience? I'm in year 22 of the teaching profession and admit to not knowing the ins and outs of the private sector. Which careers do not receive incentive pay for staying with a company? And if you do, when do those incentive raises top out? I got my last raise 2 years ago for experience; I'm at the top of the scale.


As for student performance, in theory the plan sounds fair and equitable. If each kid began the year in the same spot on a graph, and each kid was motivated to learn, and each kid had a mom and a dad and a home and clean clothes and three meals a day, then perhaps teachers could be evaluated on the students' performance. However, there are too many variables at stake. Some of the most effective teachers will fail according to this model because kids don't reach a certain bar.

AlreadySheared
AlreadySheared

@high-school-teacher In many circumstances you do not "receive incentive pay for staying with a company" - long-term employees are taken for granted and abused, salary-wise.  In order to move up professionally and in salary, it is often better to switch jobs regularly (maybe every 5 years or so).

high-school-teacher
high-school-teacher

The difference is that if you change companies, you can still do the same job or same type of work. Teachers' pay is based on a state scale, so a teacher moving every 5 years doesn't profit financially unless he or she moves to s mega-district that offers a larger local supplement.

My dad stayed with the same company for 38 years, and his pay increased over time, as well as his vacation time (he is the only non-educator in the family). When he went into management, he moved to a salaried position, but he still got a raise every year or two. However, I realize that times have changed, which is why I asked.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

Deal's driveway made more money this year than the average teacher.

popcornular
popcornular

As this blog demonstrates on a daily basis, there are some real yahoos who are pulling/have pulled in lots of cash and benefits from the gravy train. It's chugging into the station as we speak, permanently.

Point
Point

Whether or not you agree with the teacher compensation plan, every tax payer needs to sit up and take notice.  The state has already cut what they send back to your local schools and county governments more than 25%.  Your property is about the only thing the state has left for local governments to tax to operate.  The compensation plan is an additional plan to keep tax dollars in Atlanta for their projects and the cost will be put back on the local systems and local tax payers.


As an example of how state decisions actually hurt the citizens....the state has cut funding to colleges and universities the same amount they have cut k-12.  Now Georgia is second nationally in tuition increases.  Georgia is number one in highest student loan debt per student.


So even if you are not a teacher, this change will affect you economically.

Astropig
Astropig

Paying better teachers more money is one of those "law of gravity" common sense things that can only be opposed for political reasons and implemented by political means (as indeed, the state is attempting to do). The model of the distant past is broken,antiquated and irrelevant in today's world.This particular genie of reform is out of the bottle and by one means or another, it will happen. It may have to be phased in by degrees,but the idea of merit pay will not go away because some militants don't want it.

class80olddog
class80olddog

I just wish they applied the same standards to administrators

Astropig
Astropig

@class80olddog


"I just wish they applied the same standards to administrators"


You know, I do too. A lot of the stupid,outrageous stuff that tarnishes public education's reputation is directly related to an idiot administrator that is trying to kiss the next idiot administrator's rear end and move up the ladder.

class80olddog
class80olddog

State education funding as a percentage of total state spending has remained steady. Although the recession reduced total state revenues dramatically after 2008, K-12 education’s share of the budget was the same (38 percent) in 2003 as it was in 2013, and was fairly consistent in the interim years. (In 2002, before the austerity cuts began, K-12’s share of the budget was 37 percent.)

MD3
MD3

@Astropig Merit pay for teachers is a political construct. Research has conclusively shown that it does not impact students in any way. But politicians keep pushing it because they see it as a budget-slashing tool.

class80olddog
class80olddog

The time to make sure you have good teachers is when they are hired. But some systems cannot attract good teachers. Who would want to work in the APS or Dekalb county war zone?

gactzn2
gactzn2

@class80olddog  I am saddened by what has become of both districts- I remember when they were premier districts that did innovative things, attracted the best teachers, and had exceptional school leadership.  That was many moons ago though....and communities, supported education.  The Atlanta area has changed and transplants, for better or worse, bring their children, value system, and any other issues with them.  Too many issues in any community will show up in the schools.  People have got to get a clue. After charter management organizations raid the coffers, who will be left with the community ramifications and cleanup?  Next question is how will this affect YOU- because it will in some shape, form, or fashion

grumpster
grumpster

@class80olddog Maybe it's time to bring in another dictator.  Jim Cherry was a my way or the highway type of person and he was definitely a harsh dictator, but under his leadership Dekalb was the best school system in the state.

I've known a few other education professionals like that.  These folks ran their schools their way.  If you disagreed with them, well, it was their school.  What set these professionals apart was their determination that the kids came first.  Everything else took a back seat to educating the kids.

When my daughter was in first grade, the principal was a dictator.  She also put the kids first.  For the first week of school, this 60 year old woman was down on the floor with the first graders, teaching them and learning who they were -- who was academically advanced, who needed more attention, who needed more work on social skills -- and by the end of the second week, she knew!

I wish I could find a hundred like her.

class80olddog
class80olddog

The good news is they also have a pay system for administrators with a base pay of $50000 and then they add money if attendance is good, discipline is handled effectively, and there is no social promotion.

Dang, and then I woke up!

RexHavoc
RexHavoc

HB689 is a much greater threat to professional public employees.  If it passes next year it will become impossible to find any talented people who will be willing to work for the State more than 2 or 3 years.  Of course, you will save billions in personnel costs, but I'm sure we will slip from 47th to 50th in education.

Derwin0
Derwin0

PROFESSIONALS earn their pay by their results, why should teachers be any different?

The advanced degree component is only an incentive to get worthless online paper degrees.

dg417s
dg417s

@Derwin0 The state took care of that problem years ago - a degree has to be in a field that relates to an educator's job in order for the salary increase to take effect. I can't go get an ed leadership degree from Phoenix and get a doctorate's rate of pay because I never want to be a principal. Also, the USDoE is taking care of the for-profit "universities" that are praying on people to get their student loan money.

grumpster
grumpster

@Derwin0 I'll assure you that advanced degrees make a difference in compensation in many fields other than teaching.  A PhD microbiologist makes considerably more money than someone with a BS in Biology.  And, although a BS in computer science gets some pretty good bucks, an MS gets more and a PhD in computer science can, if he or she is willing to relocate to say... Redmond, WA .. can make a fortune.

WW5
WW5

only in the mind of a democrat does no raise = a cut in pay

Falcaints
Falcaints

@WW5 Raise?  I'm looking forward to my first full paycheck after five years of furlough days.

Falcaints
Falcaints

What other profession would have their compensation partly determined by teenagers?  The goal of ending public education is well under way.

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

All for getting rid of the "advanced degrees" (cough cough) that teachers get via useless diploma mills.  Those seem to add zero value to their ability to teach.  Glad to see once again that our local govt is actually trying to make effective changes.


And especially excited about the focus on paying good/great teachers more, and mediocre/awful teacher WAY less.  There is such a huge difference in the value that these teachers bring to the classroom

class80olddog
class80olddog

Do you want a higher priced mechanic with a degree in social science?

Christie Dunham
Christie Dunham

@dcdcdc Some of us received "advanced degrees" via universities that are actually respected and not on line. I worked hard for mine and learned something along the way that enhances student learning.

Astropig
Astropig

@Christie Dunham @dcdcdc


"Some of us received "advanced degrees" via universities that are actually respected and not on line. I worked hard for mine and learned something along the way that enhances student learning."


If you learned things that will make you a better teacher (and I'll bet that you did!), I want to pay you more money and keep you in the system.Why would you not agree with that approach?

gactzn2
gactzn2

@Astropig @Christie Dunham @dcdcdc Education MUST have collaboration to work- it cannot replicate the DOG EAT DOG methods of corporations and sustain itself- IT WILL NOT WORK!!!!!  

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@jezel @dcdcdc 

Those with advanced degrees also usually have learned more about their content area and have more to teach their students. Those degrees very often are in content areas, not in Education....for the MAT degrees, for example. I can remember well before I retired and taught graduate classes with MAT students enrolled as well as our regular graduate students that they were fine, enthusiastic students who saw our graduate classes as a way to improve the high school classes they taught.

RexHavoc
RexHavoc

@dcdcdc So, you're criticizing educators for becoming more educated?  Like telling an auto mechanic he don't need no learning about cars.  Just figger it out as ya go.

Perhaps you should look into one of your useless diploma mills for yourself.  

teacherincumming
teacherincumming

Are you calling UGA and GA State useless diploma millls? You want a child to determine your job future? You need to rethink your comments and not put all teacher's in the same group. How insulting !!! Your kids WILL suffer!!!!

Astropig
Astropig

@gactzn2 @Astropig @Christie Dunham @dcdcdc



"Education MUST have collaboration to work- it cannot replicate the DOG EAT DOG methods of corporations and sustain itself- IT WILL NOT WORK!!!!!  "


Then I invite the teachers to collaborate and cooperate with the governor and the legislature.

jezel
jezel

@dcdcdc Some of us with "advanced degrees" enjoy school and enjoy learning. Does it improve instruction ? If you find your job enjoyable... you usually are better at it. So yea...advanced degrees improve instruction.

jaggar1
jaggar1

The entire public better start speaking up for teachers. Governor Deal wants to have for profit businesses run schools. This will equate to you paying for your child's education. There are already 4 states that are hiring people without teaching certificates. Do you remember when Georgia was hiring business people years ago and gave them a year to be certified? They all ran because the pay was so low and job demands so high. Now, we are working countless hours and have to justify why our kids don;t pass tests. 75% of new teachers are leaving by their 5-7 years. This is ludicrous!   Call the governor and stand up for the teachers!

1Robert
1Robert

@jaggar1 What do you mean by this ?  "Governor Deal wants to have for profit businesses run schools. This will equate to you paying for your child's education."  I do pay for my child's education now, what would be new ?

NGaTaxpayingCitizen
NGaTaxpayingCitizen

The new structure for establishing merit certainly is flawed. I am being asked to provide artifacts representing instructional strategies that I plan to use for six students who made a 70 on a pre-test, and the remaining 56 who did not muster a passing grade. The pre-test doesn't provide standards-aligned information, so I do not know exactly what I need to focus on to bring them up. This information is to be entered into the TKES web portal, which is the most convoluted, user-unfriendly platform ever devised. Twenty-four years in, and I need to teach six more. I complete professional learning every year, because I teach computer science, which is changing so rapidly. I do not know if I will make it. There will be no more raises, and cost-of-living in our district is non-existent. Praying I can get my own children through college and stay healthy.

class80olddog
class80olddog

Maybe if they were not socially promoted into your class...

mar1049
mar1049

So basically the more affluent districts will give more money to their teachers. And how will this help Georgia's rise from the bottom when compared to other states. 

anothercomment
anothercomment

In States that are in the top ten in Education Teachers Routinely make $80-100K.  I certainly think they should here. I went to school in a top 10 state. I was recruited as a Best and Brightest. As were alot of other Yankees that I know.  

1Robert
1Robert

@anothercomment Like those Yankees in those failing Chicago schools ?  You are most likely more able to find more gang bangers there than those in the best and brightest category.