Georgia teachers already dealing with new tests and standards. Is merit pay next on state’s agenda?

Given the higher standards and tougher tests introduced into Georgia schools, couldn’t we spare teachers any more new initiatives for a while and let them teach?

If the governor has his way, teachers could confront a merit pay system that would attempt to quantify how their instruction enhanced student learning and pay them accordingly.

teacherhidingGov. Nathan Deal told the AJC he intends to push for merit pay and ask lawmakers to make a “significant” step toward tying teacher pay to their classroom performance.

“We’re not going to go to a fully merit-based pay system, but I do think there is a portion of the teachers’ pay that should go to how good a teacher they are,” Deal said. “Now, getting the education community to support that is sometimes difficult.”

We want it to be an objective assessment,” said Deal. “Much of it has to, of course, be subjective. We think there’s a way to do it, and we’re going to try to move it along the road. We’re not going to get as far as perhaps some would like for us to go, but we think the first step is significant.”

Georgia began talking in earnest about merit pay a few years ago. Several factors stopped the concept from moving forward, including opposition from teachers. The political support for performance pay has cooled a bit as research shows it’s difficult to quantify teacher effectiveness based on student scores. Without a reliable way to judge the most effective teachers and tease out what a teacher brings to the student performance equation, it’s hard to defend merit pay.

Value-added measures — using student growth as measured by tests to analyze how much a teacher advanced the learning of each individual student —  are still being debated as studies show a large proportion of teachers rated highly one year fall to the bottom the next.

Good teacher evaluation systems are complex. In Denver, teachers and administrators created a system that incorporates 10 weights to assess success, such as pursuing professional development, working in a high-needs school, receiving a glowing evaluation and raising test scores.

What does not work – and where Deal appears to be headed – is a top-down performance pay system developed without the input of teachers.

The governor already stands accused of excluding teachers from the table. He did not appoint any practicing classroom teachers to his 35-member Education Reform Commission. The commission had five subcommittees; funding, early childhood, move on when ready, educational options committee and teacher recruitment, retention and compensation.

As PAGE Director of Legislative Affairs Margaret Ciccarelli told the commission, “The commission missed an opportunity to include classroom teachers’ experience, expertise and concerns. That critical voice would have been very helpful in policy proposals aimed at preparing students for the future and recruiting, retaining and compensating teachers …Georgia is poised to double and triple down testing by continuing the rollout of high-stakes educator performance evaluations premised on student test scores. Now, the first priority recommendation from the teacher recruitment, retention and compensation committee, in coordination with the funding committee, is to raise the stakes even higher by mandating districts base new teacher pay on their performance.”

A few years back, I talked to researcher Richard Ingersoll about this issue. Performance pay can’t work, he said, if we don’t address the deprofessionalization of teaching, citing his own research that teachers report less of a role in decisions about textbooks, content and grading, all of which are foundational to what they do.

“The whole accountability regime tends to be a top-down thing that hasn’t included teachers. It violates basic management principles — you can’t hold employees responsible for things that they don’t have any control over or don’t have the tools to do,” he said. “If you give people autonomy and tools and don’t hold them accountable, then you get corruption. If you hold them accountable and don’t give them autonomy and tools, then you drive employees out — the best ones first.”

 

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31 comments
Jaydhugs
Jaydhugs

Coming Soon: Merit pay for Cardiologists! Pay will be based off of patient cholesterol scores.


Things to Consider:

(1) Pray you DO get a group of overweight patients who are WILLING learn to change their lives and make gains in weight-loss (so you can show growth).

(2) Pray you DO get a group of patients who fully submit and understand that it is their job and your job to pass the cholesterol test (so they know what is important). 

(3) Pray you DON'T get a bunch of the ideal, health-nut, marathon running, patients, because when you are measured for growth it's really tough to show (growth).

(4) Pray you DON'T get a bunch of overweight patients who show up on test day eating a double cheese burgers and drinking Route 44s (so you don't have to change a life-time of bad habits and overcome home lives full of negative influences).

BCW1
BCW1

He will do that in a nonelection year. if he was seeking reelection he would not touch this issue with a 10 foot pole!!!

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Merit pay for teachers has two strong limitations:


(1)  Assessment of who teachers of "merit" are may become personal and political, easily.

(2)  Unless assessment is likewise made of the IQ levels of every student a given teacher teaches, the assessment of who is a "merit teacher" can never be a valid one.  And, I don't think we want to go there.



sneakpeakintoeducation
sneakpeakintoeducation

Governor Deal, show us where merit pay for teachers has worked and maybe you'll get a positive reaction. 


Unfortunately, he is jumping on another of the "bad ideas" band wagon, just like the failed school recovery districts around our country. When the American Statistical Association has come out to confirm that the VAM is highly flawed then you have to wonder why he (Deal) would still push for something that is so controversial and invalid. 


http://www.amstat.org/policy/pdfs/ASA_VAM_Statement.pdf

Falcaints
Falcaints

Merit pay is impossible for several reasons.  One not every subject is tested.  How can use honestly evaluate a PE SLO? What about Art and Music teachers, should they be penalized if students lack the natural ability to draw or sing?  Left out of all of this is any responsibility on the part of the student.  Since the removal of the graduation test, a student can fail every EOC and SLO and still graduate. Once again ALEC has been given free reign, follow the money spent on testing to see the real reason for school reform.

Travelfish
Travelfish

Another of those convinced ALEC is lurking under your bed at night?

Bitcoined
Bitcoined

Google "NEA" and "contributions" and see how deep the anti-reform teachers' union is into Democrat pockets!

Here in Georgia, in Washington, and elsewhere.

Falcaints
Falcaints

@Travelfish ALEC is actually a real organization unlike the fictitious "unions" you harp about.

dg417s
dg417s

@Bitcoined One other thought for you regarding where the NEA Fund (an optional fund for members) contributes to. Educators contributing to the modern Republican party is like chickens contributing to Colonel Sanders. There was a story recently about a man from Kentucky who voted for Matt Bevin because "He's not a career politician" even though Mr. Bevin has vowed to discontinue Kentucky's participation in the Medicaid expansion (which the man relies on) and Kentucky's exchange. The man admitted he probably voted for his own death.

Travelfish
Travelfish

And yet all that "pedagogy" has failed to raise test scores. Which brings us to the demand for real reform.

Travelfish
Travelfish

The union's reported political expenditures are only the tip of the iceberg.

dg417s
dg417s

@Bitcoined You know what, you're right. I'm anti-it's-failed-for-the-last-decade-and-a-half-reform. Why should I, or any sane person, be in favor of the failed policies. Heck, the measures they want to use to show student growth are based on cow birth predictions. I am proud to be a member of NEA and GAE. What's wrong with teachers speaking with one voice to say that we do indeed know what students need more than crooked politicians or well-intentioned individuals who haven't stepped foot in a classroom since they graduated and don't know the pedagogy necessary to truly teach students. 

dg417s
dg417s

@Travelfish Why should you fear the unity of educators? Are you afraid of teachers?

cyadra
cyadra

So where is Georgia going to get all of its new teachers when a bunch of good teachers leave the state or retire because they are tired of this BS? It is bad enough they are threatening to cap salaries and do away with the state pay structure and level of education. I have a 100% graduation rate and over 90% pass rate for the GMAS/EOCT test I give every year, and even though I have no worries about merit pay, I feel for others who are forced to teach in situations where students really don't care if they pass or not. Those students will be the ones to drive teachers out. 


Any smart teacher will dust off their resume's now, its time to leave the state.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@cyadra I'm not willing to blame those students. They have been ALLOWED to run the show, but not by the teachers who try to teach them.


It is state and national legislators, local, state, and federal "leaders," and administrators who have changed public education so badly for almost everyone.


Standards should apply to EVERYONE.

CSpinks
CSpinks

So long as some local school board members use school system employment as a means of exercising and expanding their political power and other personal agendas, should we hope to see significant learning progress in the public school systems they supervise? When nepotism, other forms of favoritism, and the provision of sexual favors frequently guide decisions as to who stands in front of many of our classrooms, should we expect any progress in student outcomes?  

Courtney2
Courtney2

The War on teachers continues.  Principals are the ones holding down education.  Look at what happened with APS and the bullying there by admins to teachers.  Now we are giving principals unlimited power over teachers?  

Travelfish
Travelfish

The fight by teachers' unions and their media allies to avoid accountability continues ...

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@Falcaints @Travelfish Incapable of switching the channel.  Would require too much effort on his/her part.  Just tell him/her what to think and say.

Falcaints
Falcaints

@Travelfish Yawn, unions that don't exist.  You should really watch something other than FOX news.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@Travelfish Don't see any dodging in those.  Perhaps you also see other imaginary boogymen?

DisenchantedVoter
DisenchantedVoter

What part of this column indicated that teachers are dodging accountability?

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Wascatlady 

FOX News gets the adrenaline flowing, just like a football game does.  That mindless high is all important to some, unfortunately.

Falcaints
Falcaints

@Travelfish Perhaps you should read the Georgia Constitution which forbids teachers unions.  No power to collectively bargain means no power.

Travelfish
Travelfish

You pretend workplace militancy is all that unions are about. But using members money to fight education reform is a much bigger evil.

And inner-city children are the primary victims.