Teachers: Changes in pay structure will demoralize, deplete profession

When the full state Education Reform Commission meets this morning, a teachers’ group hopes to share its statement of concern over proposed pay structure changes.

TRAGIC –Teachers Rally Against Georgia Insurance Changes — will be represented by Cobb middle school teacher Rebecca Johnson. The commission has been charged by Gov. Nathan Deal with looking at how to reform Georgia schools and teacher pay.

TRAGIC fears the commission will pressure Georgia schools districts to give up the education and experience model they now use to compensate teachers in favor of a pay-for-performance model.

There is a national push to base teacher pay on student performance, although there is great controversy over whether annual student test scores reveal much, if anything, about the teacher in the classroom that year. Researchers note many variables influence student scores on standardized tests, most notably the child’s socioeconomics.

Teacher statement to Education Reform Commission:

Today I represent the 21,000 members of TRAGIC and speak on behalf of the more than 100,000 teachers in Georgia who are busy working in their classrooms at this moment. These are the same teachers who went without pay raises for years during the economic crisis, who endured (and some who continue to endure) furlough days, but who continued to work tirelessly on behalf of their students.

These are the teachers whose health-care costs have skyrocketed, whose class sizes have grown, and whose workload has increased as a result of continuing “austerity cuts.”

???????????????????These are the teachers whose voices have been silenced for the most part on the work of the Education Reform Commission by the direct exclusion of professional education organizations from the commission. I speak for all of these educators today, since lawmakers are not asking professional educators who are currently in classrooms, nor the parents of children who are attending public schools for any suggestions on how to improve education.

The Teacher Recruitment, Retention and Compensation Subcommittee has noted many of the concerns of current teachers: a retirement system that has come under attack by legislators, mandates that take away from teaching and planning time, inconsistent SLOs and testing measure that are used in state-wide evaluations, and a need for a mentoring program to pair master teachers with new teachers.

However, in conjunction with the Funding Subcommittee, they are also proposing a major overhaul to how teachers are compensated.

While we should create incentives to bring new teachers into the profession and address the looming teacher shortage crisis, we cannot create incentives for new teachers by removing teachers’ desire and ability to continue in the profession.

The recent teacher salary changes in North Carolina caps teacher pay at year 20 – there are no pay increases in the final third of a teacher’s career. Imagine, no raise and no cost-of-living increase for a decade or longer?  Who could afford to remain in that profession?

Teachers in Georgia have not seen an increase in the state base pay in 10 years – the only increase has been steps for experience and any additional degrees we have earned – and we paid for those degrees ourselves.  In fact, with furlough days and exploding health-care costs, many of us bring home less now than we did six years ago.

Any pay scale that fails to incentivize experience and education can only be construed as an attempt to drive teachers out of the profession before they reach retirement.  While the state budget might benefit from paying fewer retirement benefits and lower health-care costs from fewer retirees, the children of Georgia will certainly not benefit from a revolving door of teachers.

The teaching crisis that is just now being seen in Georgia is a result of fewer teachers entering the profession, and is also a result of more teachers leaving Georgia’s schools.  You must have a mix of new and experienced teachers in every school.  New teachers bring energy, vitality, and new ideas to education, while veteran teachers bring wisdom, experience, and knowledge gained through years of interacting with children.

This combination of youth and experience makes for a good school climate; the for-profit model that saves money by cycling teachers out after five or six years will not benefit our children.

What we see happening here in Georgia is the same thing that is happening in North Carolina, Kansas, Louisiana and other states where the agenda is to destroy public education in a systematic way; to bring in for-profit charters that are not required to hire certified teachers so these for-profit corporations can make money on the backs of children.

The state of Washington has just declared for-profit charter school unconstitutional in their state, for-profit charters are failing in Louisiana, while Kansas schools are in chaos because there has been a mass exodus of teachers to states that actually value teachers.

The state of Georgia has failed to meet its education funding obligations under QBE because the legislature has, for the past decade, exempted itself from meeting those obligations.  At the latest “School Choice” Subcommittee meeting, there was actually a proposal to increase tax revenues to help pay for charter schools… while at the same time the Funding Subcommittee is preparing to legalize the shameful “austerity cuts” that have robbed PUBLIC schools of billions over the last decade.

Some on this commission want to hand over public buildings and facilities, tax-free, to for-profit corporations.  This will shift taxpayer property and taxpayer dollars to corporations whose guiding principles are profits, not children.

Why not provide these additional funds to schools that are struggling? Why not pay to put high-quality educators in those schools and provide adequate support systems to help support the at-risk students who seem to be falling through the cracks?

This commission is standing at a crossroads for Georgia’s educational system.  You can return teaching to a valued profession by giving schools the funding they need, by ensuring educators are compensated as professionals, and by making teaching a desired career for young people in Georgia.  Or, you can turn Georgia’s schools over to the so-called education “reformers” who see our children as an opportunity to make a profit at the expense of taxpayers.

You have the ability to stop this systematic dismantling of our public education system, if you will just listen to the stakeholders and not the shareholders.

 

Reader Comments 0

85 comments
Equity4Everyone
Equity4Everyone

Here's an idea:  Tax parents who do not send their children to school every day, thereby negatively affecting an educator's evaluation.  Award those tax dollars to the educator to offset the earnings missed through loss of instructional time with the student.

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

The current years x degree matrix salary structure is a terrible way to pay teachers.  You cannot convince me that the taxpayers are getting full value of paying premium salaries to grade school teachers with "doctorates".  Same goes for Librarians,  PE teachers,  Hell, anybody who doesn't teach advanced high school classes - and even that is questionable.   And to top it off, schools complain that they cannot attract math and science teachers because they have other options than teaching.

That said, trying to tie salaries to test scores is an even worse idea.  What the educrats and politicians want to do is to plug student scores into a computer and viola!!, the teacher salary is calculated.

"I'm sorry Ms Smith.  I know you're a good teacher.  But I have to pay what the computer tells me to pay.  It's not my fault...if it were up to me....."

Jim Retired
Jim Retired

Note to Nathan, you have all ready demoralize the teaching profession. From a person who heard you tell a school system when you first ran for public office, as a Democrat, that you were in it for the people, what happen? 

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

A challenge to the business minded people:


1. If you need 30 employees, you have to hire the 30 closest residents to your place of business.

2. You cannot make them come to work, fire them or make them work

3. If you are a good supervisor, you will make your team productive despite their abilities, disabilities, attendance, or motivation

4. Your job security and pay are dependent on your employees performance and an employee survey of your performance

5. You can never make more than 50,000 per year


Interested?


Teacher24/7
Teacher24/7

@AvgGeorgian What some people don't realize is that attendance is now becoming a factor that can have a HUGE impact on a teacher's performance data. The new rating policies for both schools and teachers set the attendance goal at less than 6 absences for students. Once a student misses 6 days of school their scores or growth data do not count for a teacher or school. This doesn't mean that the student is taken out of the classroom number, however. If a teacher has 30 students in his/her class, the denominator in the effectiveness formula will always be 30, no matter what. However, if 10 of those students missed 6 or more days of school, their scores/growth won't be counted in the numerator. Those students with attendance issues will effectively be counted as "does not meet" or "no growth", regardless of whether they actually met expectations or showed growth. So, if 10 students miss 6 or more days of school that year, the best case scenario for that teacher's effectiveness score is that they cultivated growth in 67% of their students. Even if teacher performance based on standardized assessments were a valid measurement, the effectiveness score of a teacher will be diluted by a factor that teachers cannot control: attendance. 


There are just so many things wrong with this aspect of the policy. First, how does a student's attendance reflect the teacher's effectiveness/worth? Secondly, how did 6 absences become viewed to be excessive? Thirdly, if attendance is that big of a deal, why not just take the "truant" students out of the equation; just change the denominator so that they don't count at all. Finally, if a student is able to perform well and show growth, in spite of his/her absences, wouldn't that indicate that something valuable may be going on in the classroom? I think that the "truant" students that perform well should provide extra points towards the teacher's effectiveness. 


I'm sure that some of you may think that there won't be enough students missing more than 5 days of school to really impact a teacher's performance rating. I can assure you, however, that it will. Last year more than 1/3 of my students missed more than 5 days. Most of the absences were due to illnesses (the flu was rampant), but there were a couple of students who missed due to family vacations. This trend was consistent in many of the classrooms in my school. 


This is my main problem: say that growth percentiles, standardized assessments, and SLOs are effective measures of teacher effectiveness. Why does student attendance have the power to cancel all of that out? Why should a student's scores/growth become null and void if these measures are so reliable, valid, and important? (And why does the public not know of the existence of this policy?)

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Teacher24/7 

 What an eye-opener.  Thank you very much for your posts this evening.  Something is terribly wrong regarding how attendance of students is being handled. 

Niobe
Niobe

No, Miss Johnson—you don't represent the 100,000+ teachers in Georgia busy working in their classrooms at this moment.

And I seriously doubt your group has 21,000 "members." More like a few hundred union activists who repeatedly click on your website to make it look like way more.

Despite all the free publicity this newspaper column keeps providing you.

Niobe
Niobe

@Skeetercat 

I'm a retired teacher who has witnessed much union misrepresentation of education issues through the years. I also rely on the very health insurance TRAGIC was supposedly formed to protest -- and consistently find its coverage superior to most corporate plans.

But of course you'll insist that you speak for 110% of teachers. 

redweather
redweather

@Niobe @Skeetercat In what state did you witness the "union misrepresentation," because as you must know we don't have teacher unions in Georgia.

Skeetercat
Skeetercat

@Niobe @Skeetercat I suspect you will continue to vote Republican, despite the fact they would love to rid you of your teacher retirement.  

By the way, I do not speak for anyone other than myself.  I am proud to be a teacher and I will fight the good fight to protect my career, my educational degrees, and my salary. 

Lastly, if you are truly a "retired teacher" from Georgia, you should know better that we do not have union representation.  If we did, we wouldn't be having this conversation. 

God help the teachers in this state!

Skeetercat
Skeetercat

@Niobe Do you know anything about TRAGIC?  Have you been to their Facebook page?  Do you know that this group was able to persuade the state government to correct our health plans two years ago?  Do you know Ms. Johnson personally? You sound like another blogger who "hates" teachers.  What is wrong with standing up for your career....and your salary?  Would you really want your pay cut?  I think not!!!!!!  Get your facts straight before you write another repulsive diatribe.


What is wrong with those in this state who want to destroy the careers of teachers?  Teaching is an honorable profession.  We take care of the children in this state.  We taught people like YOU   to read and write along with so much more.  Shame on you!


teacherincumming
teacherincumming

TRAGIC represents many of us and just recently 60 of my friends have joined TRAGIC and donated because they are helping us through the MAZE of our health insurance problems. Where were you last winter when we had the "crappy" insurance coverage???? And who do you think helped us get better coverage? T.R.A.G.I.C !!!! And you did benefit.... if you actually taught in the state of GA!!!

SV23
SV23

@Niobe 

By "bulk" I assume you mean 90-95%.



CARMS
CARMS

@Niobe @Skeetercat Once again, we don't have unions in Georgia.  You are trying to convince otherwise, but you are failing.  We don't have education unions in Georgia.  Also, YES, there are 21,000 members of T.R.A.G.I.C.

BG927
BG927

@OriginalProf @heyteacher @Niobe @Skeetercat I would venture to say they are identical.  And seriously, EdUktr/Niobe, give it a rest already.  All the regular readers of this blog know your stance.  And as I said below to B Broch, you're being disingenuous. No one in GA has to join a union as a condition of employment, since we are a right to work state. I would venture to guess any teacher opting to join GAE is well aware and ok with their political leanings.  After speaking to teachers in states with real unions, to even act as though that's what we have here is ridiculous.

itsyourmoney
itsyourmoney

Who evaluates the Administration  ?  The Education Institution doesn't allow enough money to make it to the class room teacher, they are busy giving it to other positions who don't even teach.   Why ?  well politics as pawns in the game....  check out www.open.ga.gov and search for your schools / county and see for your self who makes the big bucks in the school systems (sort on salary).  


Tcope
Tcope

As the spouse of a teacher in metro Atlanta, my insight might shed a little light on the subject. My spouse has never once complained that teachers do not make enough money for what they do. A lot of other complaints have occurred in our house but not that one.

Starting pay in metro ATL is just over 30k with full benefits, including a rare pension. With the generous benefits, pension and 2.5 months off a year, a first year teachers real cost to the government is closer to $50k. Teachers work 9.5 months a year.  Very few entry level jobs pay this well in America today with this many days off. With an easily obtained, and cheap, Masters degree in education, you are bumped into the mid-40's as starting pay.


My solution to this controversy is to make teachers work thru the summer. We could find all kinds of creative ways to help students that have problems with all these extra teaching hours. I would adjust their pay up to reflect this increase in work.

Looking4truth
Looking4truth

@Tcope As an about to retire teacher, let me just say I've worked (school planning meetings, staff development, working on lesson plans to begin the school year) every year except the year my granddaughter was born.  I don't do this job for the money - thankfully, I have a husband with a well-paying job to pay most of our living expenses. I do it because I love my subject, love kids and love teaching.


Now with that said, my situation doesn't mean that teachers shouldn't be paid a fair wage for their work.  Many teachers work 9+ hours a day without a break for "coffee" or for lunch.  They have to eat lunch while on "cafeteria duty."  After the kids leave, there are papers to grade, parents to call/e-mail, staff development and meetings.  Teaching in Georgia violates all sorts of Fair Labor Standards regs, yet people still choose to do it for relatively low hourly wage (as calculated salary/hours worked).  And now, there are those who want to cut the pay or "restructure" it to encourage harder work.  I'm sorry, but I wore the wrong shoes for manure spreading.  

Skeetercat
Skeetercat

@Tcope The state government would currently like to cut our salaries for a 190 day contract. We are NOT paid for our time off.  Our pay checks are pro-rated for 12 months.  Some smaller school districts, through out the state, are still not back to a full schedule and continue to have furlough days.  How in the world would you get this government to pay for two extra months during the summer?  By the way, I do not normally work a 40 hour week.  I often work into the night, planning and grading papers.  I am at the school by 6:30 am and when I coach a sport, I do not leave the school until 9:30 or 10 pm.  I consider the summer months to be my comp time.  

Skeetercat
Skeetercat

I am rather perplexed by the blogs that contain negative remarks regarding teachers and/or their salaries.  The incentive for working hard, getting a college degree, as well as advanced degrees, is money.  Isn't that the capitalistic mantra  in this country?  I decided to get advanced degrees in order to increase my salary, so I could provide a decent standard of living for my family. What is wrong with that?  I put forth the effort (night school and weekends); I spent my own money for the tuition.   The knowledge bestowed upon me has been extremely beneficial to my practice in the classroom.  Moreover, the universities I attended were NOT for profit organizations, but highly reputable institutions.


To those of you who like to belittle teachers and make them feel worthless, let me ask you this:  would you say the same thing to police officers, or nurses?  They too go on to receive advanced degrees and expect an increase in salary and position when they receive their diplomas.  For those of you who think teachers have a cushy job, I challenge you to walk in my shoes for one week.  If you are going to "talk the talk" you need to "walk the walk."  Furthermore, wouldn't you be angry if your employer wanted to reduce your salary from a master or doctorate level  to that of a bachelor level?


Remember, you wouldn't be in the occupation you currently hold or retired from, if it wasn't for teachers.

hssped
hssped

Teachers need to make enough to support their families.  I'm in my 50s with 22 years of experience and 3 degrees and I still have to work p/t jobs (all year round) to make ends meet.  I don't live high on the hog either.  I tell all youngsters starting out in college....don't go into education unless you plan on marrying rich.  It's a dead-end job.  And I guess it is about to get worse. 

oldgrumpyguy
oldgrumpyguy

@hssped  I agree, good teachers are not paid enough to keep them there and this will make it worse. 

The flip side to this, however, is that there are too many people now in the teaching profession not to teach, but to have summers off.  That was very apparent to me in the last four years of my children's public education.  

Maybe if we paid our teachers well enough, we would get more of the cream rising to the top, and we wouldn't have to be satisfied with the rest. 


BG927
BG927

@oldgrumpyguy @hssped OGG - in 15 years of teaching, I've found those who go into it for "the summers off" or "the great benefits" don't last very long - they tend to counsel themselves out.  They realize that the summers off are really just comp time, the benefits aren't that great, and you have to last ten years before you're even vested in TRS. There is a reason why teacher turnover is so high (as much as 50% in the first 5 years).

I'm not discounting your experience; I'm just saying chances are those teachers aren't even in the profession anymore.  Do you really think we're going to attract the "best and brightest" to this profession with policies like these?  With pay scales like this? With public perception like this?  


My personal children are done, and I'm glad - I don't know who will be left in the classroom when I have grandchildren, and I'm worried.

EliasDenny
EliasDenny

Its time for our great legislature to listen to teachers for once and as for me I agree with all the points made in this article.

straker
straker

Every dollar Republicans can save in teacher's salaries is another dollar they can give to their corporate sponsors in tax breaks and other perks.

Can'o'corn
Can'o'corn

pay for performance, based on kids taking a standardized test is absolutely ludicrous. 

palepadre
palepadre

Of course, the reading, writing and arithmetic, standards  are no longer high enough. The U.S. has an influx of young people from countries, which in the "Old Days," meaning slow travel mode, instead of jet travel. Trickled in and usually when they were finished with college, went back to their own countries. Now, with countries in turmoil, they don't want to return. Children  from Kindergarten on up are now being challenged by these "Remainers." Families that value education (Families meaning a Mother and Father in the home and active in the child's life) Will fill in for the teacher after school. The jobs that you could get if you dropped out in 9th grade(My uncle in the 1940s) are gone. Or don't pay enough for a family to live on.     Teachers must accept the same conditions, entertainers do. If a sports figure can't  help the team win, they are traded or cut. Doctors who cause a practice to lose patients are encouraged to leave. Regardless, of a teacher's race or union affiliation, if they show that their students get poor grades, consistently, they should be let go. At some point, many realize that what they wanted to be in life, Teacher, Ballplayer, Singer and so on. They didn't have the skills and talent and must accept that. Teachers must accept that also. And not hide behind, race or the unions.

satan
satan

@palepadre


You obviously haven't been in a public school classroom in Georgia. There are no teacher unions in this state. Do you think this conversation would even be happening if there was a union?????   Hmm...states with teaching unions consistently perform better than Georgia. Certainly no connection there...

 No qualified teacher would object to pay for performance. The problem is, most counties cannot afford to pay teachers what they should actually earn. What then happens when the county can just say...oops..don't have the extra funds this year to give you the performance pay.  You think it's bad now...every qualified teacher in the state than can move will migrate over the border to Alabama or Tennessee. 

BurroughstonBroch
BurroughstonBroch

@satan @palepadre  satan always speaks with a forked tongue. Georgia has teacher's unions, but they don't have the power to force collective bargaining and strikes.

States with teacher's unions consistently perform better than Georgia? Prove it with valid statistics from a non-biased source. Some states with teacher's unions I will agree, but not all states with teacher's unions - there is no linkage between teacher's unions and educational performance. If there were, NYC, LA, and Chicago would be at the top of the list.

BG927
BG927

@BurroughstonBroch @satan @palepadre BB, there is a difference between a professional organization and a true union, and you know it.  Quit being disingenuous. 


GAE and GFT are state branches of the NEA and AFt, respectively.  If a teacher chooses to be a part of those organizations (and it IS a choice - as a right to work state, teachers cannot be compelled to join a union as a condition of employment), then you know a portion of your dues are going to support their national causes.  You also know that GAE and GFT can't collectively bargain on your behalf - that being the main part of unions that some people don't like.  That DOESN'T happen here, and you know it.


GAE, GFT, PAGE, Educator's First - they can lobby the General Assembly, they can inform their membership, they can help in a limited manner if a teacher gets in trouble, and they can offer discounts.  That's about it.  That's not much different than a lot of other professional organizations.


I am a participant in several national teacher forums and Facebook groups.  I am always astounded at what powers true unions have when situations come up.  If a teacher posts about an incident or a concern, some of the advice from teachers in union states (which would work there), would never, NEVER fly here. Example - there was a post about how lunch teachers' lunches were.  I posted that mine were 25 minutes and I eat with the students.  Teachers from union states were flabbergasted, "How does your union allow that?"  Simple.  We don't have one. 

Please quit saying we do when you know it isn't even remotely true.

MD3
MD3

@BurroughstonBroch Taking a look at NAEP results, it certainly seems that northern states which are unionized consistently outperform southern states, which tend to be right-to-work states. It's important to remember that the working conditions of teachers are also the learning conditions of our children. Schools that tend to be hostile working environments couldn't really be considered the best places for kids to learn. I sure wish common sense was a little more common...  http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/statecomparisons/

Billy2121
Billy2121

The Socialist party or what used to be called the Democrat party and the Communist teachers unions run via a totalitarian army of goons and despite s cry wolf when they have to be held accountable.... our public schools for the most part are a national disgrace and who has run this schools into the ground for the last 40 plus years.... the new socialist party and thug unions... We the people will take back our schools and gov't from you gov't cronies very soon... it is already happening and your power will be taken!!!

MortalWombat
MortalWombat

@Billy2121 You must be a product of this "national disgrace." I want you to bookmark this page, because I am about to to do you a huge favor: government. Just refer back to this page, and my reply, and you will never have to type "gov't" again. Eventually, with time and practice, you may be able to spell "government" on your own. 


I am not even going to touch your use of "despite s" in place of "despots" or the seemingly random spacing and wholly incorrect usage of ellipses.


I guess what I want you to take away from this is an appreciation of the irony you present us with when you so forcefully state that "power will be taken!!!" when you failed to even take the grammar instruction provided to you for free in 4th grade.

Courtney2
Courtney2

"Teachers in Georgia have not seen an increase in the state base pay in 10 years" - Government Schools are Dead.  Most good teachers have moved onto other careers or soon will.  Georgia is becoming a third world country.  No wonder all the employers are no longer relocating here.

Tcope
Tcope

@Courtney2 I hate to bust your pessimistic bubble, but I guess you never heard about Mercedes Benz relocating to Sandy Springs from the union utopia of New Jersey?

dg417s
dg417s

@Tcope @Courtney2 How many more of these examples do you think we will have if the education in Georgia gets worse than it is? MB will need an educated workforce and I can't imagine the employees being happy with an education system full of new teachers turning over every year.

booful98
booful98

Here's something interesting about this: in my suburban neighborhood, moms talk a lot. It amazes me just how much in agreement these women are on who is a good teacher and who isn't. They don't look at the scores or tenure or education. But the mothers ALWAYS know who is a good teacher and who isn't.


It is not rocket science. The only people that dislike evaluation are people who know won't pass.

booful98
booful98

@Point @booful98 True and there are some disagreements. But by and large, most of the moms agree. My children between them have had 10 elementary school teachers and I have agreed with the assessment "around the neighborhood" every single time.

liberal4life
liberal4life

@booful98 

Maybe we should make that (parent's opinions) a factor instead of students' test scores.

booful98
booful98

@liberal4life @booful98 Im sorry, I didn't mean to suggest that the parents evaluate the teachers. What I am saying is that teachers CAN be evaluated in other ways. 

I asked this below and no one answered: student teachers get evaluated do they not? Can a similar model work with regular teachers?

Point
Point

@booful98 @Point  Glad you have had a great experience, but that still doesn't mean the rest of the teachers in that grade level were horrible

booful98
booful98

@BG927 Ok, so far every teacher has problem with how they are evaluated.

Please tell me what YOU think is viable model for evaluating teachers. And I am sorry, but there has to be something.

Independent ED
Independent ED

@booful98 @liberal4life  Student teachers are evaluated by mentors/professors from their colleges based on observations and visits where the student teacher is working.  The classroom teacher he/she is working with also has a say in the evaluation of the student teacher.  Numerical data isn't involved (not counting their grades, of course).  Student test scores are not involved.  Prior to the latest pendulum swing (TKES), student test score data was not formally involved for the evaluation of teachers.  School level administrators observed teachers and evaluated them at the end of the year.  Test score data was considered, but it was part of a more holistic evaluation process based on job performance and observations.  


With TKES, the usage of test data in evaluation has become codified by essentially turning every student into a number, crunching it into a convoluted algorithm, and spitting out Student Growth Percentiles that are supposed to tell what the teacher has done throughout the year.  As if that number is a true representation of who that child is and what he/she has done for the year.

booful98
booful98

@Independent ED @booful98 @BG927 "t should be based on what her administrators see her doing each day through formal and informal observation."

I don't disagree with this being a fair assessment. However, I can totally see a teacher saying: "That is completely subjective and you are at the mercy of whether your administrator likes you or not. You have no protection, you have no data, just the opinion of one person".

Which is, of course, how evaluations work in the corporate world and everyone deals with it.

Independent ED
Independent ED

@booful98 @Independent ED @BG927 You're exactly right.  Two things can be at play here.  One, administrators can be jerks and completely base evaluations on who they like vs who they don't like.  Two, teachers can be unwilling to see any flaws in anything they do.  How do we mitigate this?  It's about hiring, retaining, and promoting trustworthy, upstanding people.  It's about having enough of a relationship with someone that you can have tough conversations without it being personal.  Truthfully, if an administrator is doing his/her job throughout the year, there shouldn't be bad evaluations unless someone is going to be leaving the profession.  It's an administrator's job to identify struggling teachers early and work with them to help them grow throughout the year. If they are unwilling to take the help or heed the advice, they need to move on.  It's no different than working with kids.  It's okay if you struggle at first.  Learn from it and move on. 


Honestly, the new TKES process really does a good job in this area.  It fails when it tries to use test data in ways that it was never intended to be used.

BG927
BG927

Teachers ARE evaluated. I don't know where this perception came from that they aren't. If they don't get a good evaluation, they DON'T get step increases. I don't know where this idea that teachets got automatic raises w/o any performance came from.

Now you can complain about the quality of the evaluation and possibly the qualifications of the evaluator, but that is a different argument.

In the 15 years I have taught in Georgia, I have seen at least 3 evaluation models - each supposedly more rigorous than the last. Up until the current model, TKES, they were also very similar to what I saw in the private sector - as a matter of fact, one time, my husband, son, and I all compared our evals - my son's for a well known retailer, my husband's for a large corporation, and mine. They were more alike than different.

TKES is a whole 'nother animal. Teachers are observed SIX times in a year - 4 ten minute walk through and 2 30-minute observations. We are assessed on 10 different factors including planning, class management, and professionalism. Students take surveys and their results are factored in and/or used to support admin onservations. This is supposed to be 50% of the eval, with the other 50 coming from test scores. My opinions on the problems with the current implementation of that would require a blog of its own

heyteacher
heyteacher

@booful98 @liberal4life


I answered this below but in brief, student teacher evaluations are labor intensive and quantitative. My student teacher last year was not evaluated on test scores, but instead three different sets of university professors came through to give feedback. School systems don't have the money to implement that kind of system with out side evaluators (GSU did not allow my student's mentor to be the evaluator, for example). 

Point
Point

@booful98  But that depends on what the parents value.  Some parents do not want the teacher who holds students and parents accountable.

Tcope
Tcope

@Point @booful98 She didn't say she had a great experience each time. She just mentioned the mom coffee club was very accurate at teacher evaluation.

Point
Point

@booful98 @Tcope @Point My system allows parents to request teachers so I know how it works.  Typically, the moms get together to select one teacher for request so they can all be in the same class,  It's more about the social aspect than academics.  That's been my experience, not suggesting it's yours.

BearCasey
BearCasey

@booful98 @BG927  There is.  It's labor intensive and relatively expensive.  The state has always wanted evaluation on-the-cheap.  You get what you pay for.

BG927
BG927

Did I say I had a problem with being evaluated? I think not. I don't even have a problem with the 50 % of TKES that is within my control. I control my lesson plans; I control my class management; I control whether I show up on time, contribute to the running of the school, and communicate with parents. I do my job, and I do it well (15 years of excellent evaluations support that).

You mentioned that in a previous job 10% of your evaluation was based on factors out of your control. How happy would you have been and how long would you have stayed if it had been changed to 50%?? That's what teachers face.

Let me fill you in on some other facts about these test scores. First, these tests were developed in less than a year, and have not been evaluated for validity in terms of showing "growth." Second, no one, NO ONE, at the DOE can explain how growth can be shown from two entirely different subjects. I teach 8th grade physical science. My students had 7th grade life science. How are you supposed to determine "growth" from that? Third, there is a reading comprehension issue. A student may know the topic well, but if they have trouble reading and comprehending the questions (which are often excessively wordy IMHO), then what are we truly testing? I've had students tell me "Oh that question was too long so I just guessed." WHAT? Not to mention that ELL (English Language Learners) do not get exempted from math or science - even if they've only been here a day! How valid are THOSE scores? Finally, we have the inherently unequal SLOs vs the Milestone. Some teachers will be evaluated by the state developed Milestone, a test we are not allowed to see or receive feed back on. Others will be evaluated by a district developed SLO which will be given as a pre and post test, and in some districts has been tweaked to ensure that all material will have been covered by the post test date. If you don't understand why teachers would have a problem with this, then I can't help you. I didn't even get into the argument that statisticians have said that VAMs are not even reliable.

You want to evaluate my effectiveness with a test? Fine. Make it a valid and reliable pre and post test designed to measure teacher effectiveness (which may or may not reflect student learning - the two are not equivalent). It will need to be adaptive to the students' reading ability. It won't be cheap and you probably shouldn't go with the lowest bidder.

Independent ED
Independent ED

@booful98 @BG927 I don't know of any teacher who minds being evaluated.  What they don't like is being held accountable for things they can't possibly control.  For example, our PE teacher's students are given a score based on a beginning of the year fitness test and an end of the year fitness test.  They're then compared against other students who began with the same pretest.  Tell me, is that PE teacher completely responsible for the fitness level of her students?  Does she control their diet?  Does she control their activity level?  Does she control their effort on the day of either test?  Absolutely not.  


Well, then, how should she be evaluated?  It should be based on what her administrators see her doing each day through formal and informal observation.  It should be based on her contribution to the school and staff as a whole.  Is she helping kids discover new activities that they might want to try outside of school?  Is she helping to teach them needed motor skills?  Is she being a help to the school's faculty, parents, etc.?  


When you have good administrators, you'll have sound evaluations.  They know who is doing a good job in their schools and who isn't.  Someone else mentioned how parents "just know."  In large part, they do.  They know this without having the first inkling as to what an SLO, SGP, or TKES evaluation is.  We know who is doing a good job, and teachers/administrators do not like to see their colleagues doing a bad job because it gives everyone a bad name.  The heart of the issue is how willing is the administration of a school and/or district when it comes to retaining good teachers and letting go or working hard to help those who may be struggling.  Some schools and systems do well with this.  Some do not.


A child cannot be reduced to a number, and you can't take that number to then reduce a teacher to a number.  It's a fundamental flaw of how many view education.  It's a mistake often made by those who have no idea how the process works.  I love my Falcons and I've yelled at playcalling many times while watching a game, but attending games and watching it on TV does not qualify me to be the offensive coordinator.  Simply because someone has attended school doesn't mean they know what teaching is all about.  I hate the bureaucracy that has taken over education.  It's ruining it, sadly.  Good teachers want to teach.  They care about their students, and they want to make a difference.  We impede and discourage good teachers when we create the 9 circles of hell that public education is becoming.


And none of this novel I wrote even begins to talk about students and how they've changed over the years or the varying levels of preparedness and socioeconomic levels they bring to the table.  That's another novel.