Georgia House Speaker David Ralston: I disagree with governor on merit pay

In a recent meeting with teachers in his home county of Gilmer, Georgia House Speaker David Ralston said he’s leery of merit pay for the state’s teachers.  Teachers will be happy to hear that as many of them are also wary of Nathan Deal’s plan to tie their pay to the performance of their students. (See previous post for a former Gwinnett teacher’s poetic take on merit pay.)

Gov. Deal intends to push for pay for performance as part of a sweeping package of education reforms that includes a new funding formula.

(You can watch video of Ralston’s comments here and read a detailed account at FetchYourNews.com)

House Speaker David Ralston

“I try to support our governor when I can and, when I can’t, I tell him very respectfully that he and I disagree. I told him as recently as yesterday at 2 o’clock that I cannot go with him on this yet,” said Ralston. “I support his efforts to move education forward in Georgia, and, when you say merit-based pay or pay for performance, it sounds very good but I am going to have to become a lot more convinced than I am to support including that piece.”

“I want to see the metric,” Ralston said. “I know a little about football. Georgia State University is thrilled to death with a coach who finished with a 6 win, 6 loss record. The University of Georgia, my alma mater, just fired a coach who was 9 and 3. Coming up with a plan that accurately measures that, I am not sure we’re  there.”

Joining Ralston at the teacher meeting were House Education Committee Chair Brooks Coleman, R-Duluth,  and House Appropriations Chairman Terry England, R-Auburn. Coleman predicted extensive debate about the merit pay.

Teachers in the audience were polite but skeptical about using student test scores to decide a teacher’s worth.

“More testing is not going to solve the issue,” said one teacher in the audience. “On top of that, have we thought about what this is going to do with teacher retention and people going into the profession?”

“We agree with you,” said Coleman. “Our committee has been hearing for years we are over testing. We need to look at testing that helps you diagnose and teach your children.”

“I hear that frustration everywhere from people in teaching,” said Ralston. “A point we don’t make often enough, our public schools in Georgia are doing a lot better than we give them credit for.”

 

 

Reader Comments 0

29 comments
northernneighbor
northernneighbor

I like the Speaker's football analogy.  He speaks a language most will understand. 

sneakpeakintoeducation
sneakpeakintoeducation

To all those who think that merit pay for teachers is the answer please show research and examples showing a successful implementation of such a system. 

class80olddog
class80olddog

Parents want CHOICE - so much that they are willing to break the law to get their kids to a better school. And yet most on here want to TRAP the kids in their zip code schools!

Bitcoined
Bitcoined

That's because most on here are union shills.

dg417s
dg417s

@class80olddog No need to break the law - HB251 passed about 7 years ago that allows for transfers to a different school in the district if space allows. What also needs to happen is the school needs to be able to send that student back if he or she is a discipline problem. I've seen that happen and we have a hard time sending problems students back who are problems because they will suddenly have proof of residency.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@Bitcoined 

And you're not a charter school shill or maybe an ALEC shill (formerly called EdUktr)?

taylor48
taylor48

@Bitcoined Sorry, don't belong to GAE.  So, where am I getting my talking points from?  Oh, that's right.  EXPERIENCE.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@class80olddog

Class - Are you consistent in your choice beliefs? Should taxpayers with no children to educate have the choice to keep their education tax money?

JBBrown1968
JBBrown1968

@class80olddog No one wants kids trapped anywhere! Some people are not willing to work harder for their own children. Home school them if the zip code school is so bad! Stop begging for other people to educate your children.

You can't make your mind up what side of the isle  you are on.

jezel
jezel

Speaker Ralston it is great to see an elected official who is not self serving. Georgia needs statesmen...not politicians..dealing with issues involving education.


You understand exactly what is going on with education reform. Am sure that you will be attacked and tempted to give in. Stay strong and....PUT AN END TO THIS FOOLISHNESS.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

I give high praise to House Speaker David Ralston and House Education Committee Chair Brooks Coleman for their words of caution regarding the national Republican agenda, as well as Gov. Deal's agenda, of implementing merit pay for teachers. It should be noted that both Speaker Ralston and Chairman Coleman are Republican leaders in Georgia.  Thank you both! 


As a retired teacher in Georgia, I have written the following regarding the limitations of merit pay for teachers:


"Merit pay for teachers has two strong limitations:

(1)  The assessment of who teachers of "merit" are may easily become based on the personal and the political.

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

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

I especially concur with these words of House Education Chair Brooks Coleman (a former educator, himself):


“We agree with you,” said Coleman. “Our committee has been hearing for years we are over testing. We need to look at testing that helps you diagnose and teach your children.”

Travelfish
Travelfish

If the Speaker, in effect, doesn't believe in accountability then he's in the minority in Georgia.

Travelfish
Travelfish

And yet, some teachers are consistently able to raise their students' test scores.

Others consistently do the opposite.

yet_another_display_name
yet_another_display_name

@Travelfish  The problem is that children with less chaotic homes learn better, and unfortunately that chaos is not spread evenly throughout classrooms. So until we have detailed enough demographic data the difference the teacher is making is swamped out by the differences in kids.


On the other hand, why are elementary school parents not surveyed at the end of every year on how much they liked their children's teachers? As every bad teacher I know of us would have gotten lousy scores on that sort of survey.

Travelfish
Travelfish

Parents fully empowered to choose the schools best for their kids -- the way wealthy liberals do now -- wouldn't have any difficulty making that determination, using published test scores and the parent grapevine.

Travelfish
Travelfish

The concept of Adequate Yearly Progress called for exactly that, regardless of the starting point for each child or group of children.

Stop trying to suggest it mandated exactly equal outcomes.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Travelfish 

Your post, above, amounts to presenting generalized assumptions as fact, without data to back up your remarks.

HollyJones
HollyJones

@Travelfish So there are only the children of "wealthy liberals" in private schools?  Oh I forgot, conservatives are bastions of support for public schools.  <sarcasm>

sneakpeakintoeducation
sneakpeakintoeducation

@Travelfish


This statement shows how little you understand the machinations of teaching and the intricacies of dealing with human behavior/emotions that cannot be reduced to a data point.

ALW930
ALW930

An opinion survey on how much parents like their child's teacher is a ridiculously stupid idea. Education is not a popularity contest, and most parents and the the public in general are ignorant of what teachers do, or what good teaching looks like. My mother was a very good elementary teacher with high expectations. Students and parents often disliked her because of her high expectations. In addition, the parents and children were used to a teacher from the previous grade who was popular and had low standards. She demanded little and was an easy grader. Parents and students were shocked when they got to my mother's class with high expectations, and a teacher who taught what was expected. Yet, according to an opinion survey the popular teacher would look like the better teacher.

Teachers need to be evaluated by education professionals who know what quality teaching looks like. Parent or student opinions and standardized testing are not valid measures of teacher performance.

ScienceTeacher671
ScienceTeacher671

@Travelfish To some extent, rating teachers on student test scores is like basing a dentist's ratings on how many cavities his/her patients get.  The dentist might do a great job cleaning and caring for a patient's teeth, but if the patient doesn't brush and floss, and eats many sugary snacks and drink sodas all day, are the cavities the fault of the dentist?

FlaTony
FlaTony

@Travelfish Merit pay, as presented by Gov. Deal, has nothing to do with accountability.

CSpinks
CSpinks

@ScienceTeacher671 @Travelfish I have no problem recognizing that we teachers are partially accountable for our respective students' learning and that valid, reliable standardized tests can attest to that learning. However, I do have a problem with teachers' having partial accountability if the students themselves have no accountability. If students are allowed to receive credit for courses in which their learning does not meet learning standards; are promoted when they have not demonstrated the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for success in the next grade; or are graduated when they have not acquired the knowledge, skills and attitudes required for adult success, our kids and our society will have a much bigger problem than I now have.

Justin Sumner
Justin Sumner

@Travelfish He didn't say he didn't believe in accountability, he questioned how to properly measure it. As a teacher who supports merit pay, I have the same reservations. Show me a valid way to measure teachers and I'm all for it. Basing it solely on student test scores is not a valid way. No other job bases their pay on how well someone else does their job, why should teachers be paid based on how well a student takes a test? I guess what I'm saying is factor student test scores into the formula, but it needs to go much further than that.