The governor wants to give teachers 3 percent raise. Will that make them less leery of merit pay?

When I asked a teacher about the promise of a 3 percent raise from Gov. Nathan Deal in his state of the state speech, she described it as a “bribe” so she and her colleagues would be mollified and accept his push for merit pay.

Gov. Deal wants to give teachers a 3 percent raise this year.

Gov. Deal wants to give teachers a 3 percent raise this year.

Not happening, she said. The raise is long overdue and teachers will be grateful, she said, but they were not going to stop fighting the governor on linking student scores on the yet unproven Milestones tests to influence and set teacher pay.

While avoiding any specific mention of  his controversial performance pay idea — even the Republican House Speaker has come out against it– Deal referenced his intentions to consider using student performance to evaluate teachers. He said:

As we continue to discuss the recommendations of the Education Reform Commission, it is important for teachers and administrators to know that just because we are examining ways to more appropriately allocate taxpayer dollars and put in place different models to achieve better education results, it does not mean that you are not appreciated.  Just as a sailor should not be insulted when someone repairs a leak in his boat and replaces his oars with a motor, neither should our teachers take offense when we try to do the metaphorical equivalent for them.

I fully understand that there are many factors that impact test scores and graduation rates, and many of these are not within the control of our teachers. A good parent that is dedicated to seeing his or her child succeed in school is the best ally a teacher can have.

My AJC colleague James Salzer has a front page story today on the 3 percent teacher raise that Deal has included in his budget proposal:

Deal used the annual address to talk about what he’d like to see done in education, but he also promised a more deliberative process before asking lawmakers to approve the changes he wants to make. He detailed little of his spending plan for fiscal 2017 — which begins July 1 — other than to say he would request an additional $300 million for k-12 schools. The teacher pay raises would cost districts $233 million.

“With the additional funding this year, furloughs should be a thing of the past, and teachers should receive that 3 percent pay raise, ” Deal said.

In his address, the governor expressed appreciation for teachers and state employees. But he also said teachers shouldn’t be insulted by some of the changes — such as merit pay for educators — that are being proposed.

Since the Great Recession, employees and teachers have gotten little in the way of state-funded raises. Many saw their pay decline because the state and school districts furloughed staffers, meaning they had to take days off without pay.

While Deal included relatively small amounts of money in agency and district budgets for raises last year, some systems said they used the money to add back school days or eliminate furloughs left over from the recession.

 

Reader Comments 0

15 comments
AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

Maureen - please do not call Deal's one time allocation to school districts to spend as they please, a raise. A raise is a permanent increase in pay.


This is a political year scam.


If Deal wanted to give a raise, he would increase the state salary schedule.


Again. THIS IS NOT A RAISE!


HILUX
HILUX

This column is a well-known mouthpiece for teachers' unions which oppose ANY education reform. Day in and day out it reprints union propaganda.

Parents need an AJC column that takes OUR side.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@HILUX

Please explain how teacher's unions affect education reform in GA.

JBBrown1968
JBBrown1968

@HILUX Feel free to start you own  home school and give your poor children the education they deserve.

HILUX
HILUX

Please explain what it is you don't understand about union PACs and money.

jerryeads
jerryeads

No. (The answer to the question). And teachers should (and will) be insulted by the merit pay fiasco - not because being recognized for one's merit is a bad idea, but because we can't in a knee-jerk moment do it well. 

Kid tests will NEVER be accurate enough to be a (useful) major component of individual teacher evaluation - not only because we're lousy at test building but as has been shown over and over and over and over again there's just too much else going on that's not even measured by one badly built fifty minute sample of possible effort.

Want accountability? Keep working on the administrator and teacher (LKES & LKES) evaluation systems, and make sure board member Billy Jo Bob's 3rd cousin twice removed who failed as the football coach (and everything else) isn't retired to the principal's position in the local elementary school. And no, I'm not talking about all the fabulous ones who put in 70-100 hours a week.

Ralph-43
Ralph-43

Three percent?  Not enough to repair the withdrawal of adequate health insurance.  Teachers deserve a 10 percent pay raise across the board and a salary schedule based on level of education, publications, years of service, and - perhaps - some assessment of merit - based on supervisor's assessment and not pupils test scores.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@Ralph-45 And supervisors, CO staff, and state government leaders are also assessed on merit!

EddieHall
EddieHall

If we are going to pay teachers based on student performance, ( and I don't think we should) then we should examine a merit based system for students as well. IF you perform and excel, then you progress towards college prep if that is your choice. If not, then you are put on a technical track that prepares for the workforce. Forcing students through the system and handing them a diploma does no one any good.


Falcaints
Falcaints

I don't trust my system to actually give us the raise, it will disappear into that black whole called the central office.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

Like Sonny's Funny Money, no.


Merit pay rests on several highly questionable assumptions:

1) Teachers can be induced to try harder. They aren't giving it their all now.

2) We can accurately measure student learning with a very long, one-time test.  The test results are reliable and verifiable.

3) Students will give the test their very best effort, for every hour and minute of the test. 

4) What happens at school, and, particularly what that teacher does or doesn't do, is the major determinant of student success.

5) Current policies of the federal government, and especially the state government, brings out the best for all students.