Final report of Deal’s Ed Reform Commission prompts opponents and supporters to launch campaigns

The Foundation for Excellence in Education, an advocacy group founded by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, is kicking off a campaign to promote the new funding formula proposed by Gov. Nathan Deal’s Education Reform Commission.

The commission submitted its final report to the governor Tuesday. While the foundation applauded the commission’s recommendations — which include merit pay for teachers — there is opposition.

I wrote earlier this week about the reservations of House Speaker David Ralston. And the president of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators voiced her concerns on the blog earlier.

Today, the Georgia Association of Educators will hold a 1 p.m. press conference at the Capitol to explain why it does not back the commission’s recommendations or the constitutional amendment to empower the state to take over low-performing schools.

GAE intends to offer “alternative strategies” and will be joined by speakers from the Southern Education Foundation and the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University.  Clarke County Superintendent Phillip Lanoue, who is National Superintendent of the Year, will also speak.

As Lanoue and other speakers point out failings in the recommendations, radio ads and mailers from the Foundation for Excellence in Education will endorse the commission’s efforts.

“We’re making sure Georgia families have the facts about a new system that treats children like individuals, not numbers, and improves student achievement,” said ExcelinEd Southeast Regional Advocacy Director Ryan Mahoney. “In the final recommendations, the Education Reform Commission charted a new course for Georgia’s children, moving our education system to one that is student-focused and away from one that is school-based. Student-based funding gives educators more flexibility to target individual student needs, while giving parents and taxpayers more transparency. Student-based funding tells us exactly where and why each dollar is allocated.”

Here is a video by the foundation:

Reader Comments 0

13 comments
EdJohnson
EdJohnson

Jay Bookman’s AJC opinion column, Merit pay for teachers a great idea … in theory, should be taken to heart.However, take care with his opening paragraph:

“Theoretically, merit pay sounds great. You take the industrial model of quality improvement — measuring output and rewarding those producers who perform best — and you simply apply it to education. It’s such a simple concept: What could go wrong?”

“[M]easuring output and rewarding those producers who perform best” mischaracterizes “the industrial model of quality improvement” for the simple reason there is no such thing as “the industrial model of quality improvement.”

Industrial model?  Yes.  Quality improvement?  Yes.  But not “industrial model of quality improvement.”

The reality is that there are principles and methods of quality improvement that have proven workable in industry as well as in education, in government, and elsewhere.  Specifically, proven quality improvement principles and methods reject merit pay, pay for performance, management by objectives, targets without methods, SMART Goals for their own sake, and such other “evil practices.”

The fact that one’s perspective may be limited to quality improvement applied to industry should not lead one to think quality improvement principles and methods are nowhere else applicable.  An insidious source of such thinking is that quality improvement has nothing to do with ever needing quality improvement of leadership, that quality improvement is something only lowly workers – such as teachers – must do, and that if each of them would just “execute with fidelity” then the results will magically add up to quality.  Nothing could be further from the truth, yet this untruth is a common aspect of the business model applied to education with destructive consequences.

But hopefully our Georgia State Board of Education and Superintendent Richard Woods and all local Boards of Education and superintendents will consider the points Bookman makes about the unworkability of merit pay and then take the moral high-ground to reject the evil practice, so as to better position themselves to improve the quality of their leadership, continually.

cellophane
cellophane

Transparent? Will someone please review the increases the state charter schools are getting (brick and mortar, not cybers) under the ERC Proposal? it's all over the map and some are getting ridiculous increases in their state supplement with no valid reason. Those dollars have no strings attached, just a blank check-- and some of these "market-based" charters are losing enrollment-- so they get rewarded. The ERC left five state charters off their funding sheet and didn't account for the five new ones that will start up next year, so the dollars aren't even accurate. Why should we give more $$ to schools with non-elected boards (no accountability) while new headlines about graft, corruption and legal issues surface daily about this sector (which continues to show mixed or worse results than the public counterparts)??? Answer that, "excellence in education" foundation!

jezel
jezel

What does ALEC want ?

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Peter_Smagorinsky 

Here was my response to Jay Bookman's column regarding merit pay for teachers:

"Well analyzed.  Thank you. 

I wish to state that in the 15 years that I was the Reading Department Chair for a suburban all-black high school in the metro area, that the range of reading grade levels of all 9th graders, tested by our department in conjunction with the English Department teachers on the internal Nelson Reading Test, was from 3rd grade level through grade level 16.  That was for all 400 9th grade students, annually.  We also tested all 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students with a similar reading range shown in vocabulary and comprehension skills.


After we tested, we shared with all 100 teachers the results and gave reading in the content area training.  Our individual Reading Center served 500 students personally daily.  My experience and training tells me that, if teachers know how to address the correct instructional levels of each of their students (with simple reading techniques), then the impact that they would have upon increased student performance would be much higher than a maximum of 14%.  However, I do not support teacher merit pay and my next post will explain why, which reinforces Jay Bookman's thinking on this issue."

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Peter_Smagorinsky 

My follow-up paragraph on AJC columnist Jay Bookman's blog regarding merit pay for teachers:


"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."

HILUX
HILUX

Want to bet those "alternative strategies" of the local teachers' union affiliate will involve zero accountability but vastly more spending?

Along with less parental choice.

taylor48
taylor48

@HILUX There's already zero accountability for parents.  When will that start?

CSpinks
CSpinks

TWO  MORE  ESSENTIAL  QUESTIONS: (1) From morale, equity, and student-outcome perspectives, how can GaPubEd continue to pay incompetent teachers the same amount of money as it pays competent ones with similar numbers of years of experience and certification levels? (2) Haven't our statisticians developed algorithms of sufficient sophistication to control for student differences in determining teachers' merit as learning facilitators?

dg417s
dg417s

The "best" formulas that have been applied to public ed are formulas that have been used to predict cattle birth. The Amercan Statistical Association says the teacher is about 1-14% of the difference in a student's test score. Hardly worth determining pay. Also, how many incompetent teachers make it past a few years? Teaching isn't easy. The bad ones don't usually stay around long enough to earn the "big" bucks that 20 year teachers earn. Most teachers leave within the first 5 years anyway.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@CSpinks 

 Merit pay is a not-thought-through plan to turn traditional public schools from a public service model to a business model.  That's equivalent to trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.  Not workable - as Jay Bookman has explained in detail in the link provided by Peter Smagorinski, above.

class80olddog
class80olddog

They do in the bad school systems - because they cannot hire any better. Who wants to teach in a war zone?