Merit pay jitters

California teachers want to know how the governor’s merit pay proposal would work, reports the Sacramento Bee.

Last week, Republican state Sen. George Runner introduced a bill, sponsored by the governor, that would amend the California Constitution to tie teacher and school administrator pay to performance evaluations and student improvement on state standardized tests. Such a move would be a dramatic departure from the current system, which compensates seniority and advanced degrees, not test scores or performance.

The bill also extends the probationary period to win tenure for new employees from two years to 10. It requires all information to be posted on the Internet. The rest is left to individual districts.

There, experts say, merit pay could flourish – or fail.

Or be watered down to nothing. As Education Professor Michael Kirst says, it might be better to experiment with Wyoming, not California.

About Joanne

Comments

  1. Just fix a few small problems, and I’m sure this program will be ready to roll.

    To really see if a teacher can teach, all the classes will need to be equal. So there can be no more of those “gifted” or “remedial” courses, as that would be financially unfair to the teachers. Plus, someone has to make a test for social studies, art, dance, drama, physical education, journalism, band, orchestra, and chorus, since those teachers will need to have access to this bonus money, right? And only students who showed up can be tested, since you can’t judge a teacher on the basis of a student he hasn’t had a chance to teach. I’m sure there won’t need to be a lot of expensive paperwork to determine if students A-Z and teacher A’s pay can be related.

    I’m sure it’s just a few little bugs. Nothing much. Won’t cost too much to implement. Won’t lead to any court cases. No morale issues. And of course it will work. Why it hasn’t been done already baffles me.

  2. Mike in Texas says:

    Plus, a ten year probation period will help administrators easily get rid of all those teachers with bad attitudes, you know those kind who questions things. As an example, let’s say a teacher complains about a stupid policy, like not letting 7 year olds have recess, then the administrator has 10 years to get rid of that bad apple.

  3. I much prefer a situation in which the competence of a teacher is assumed to be a function of pay.

    If you want better teachers, you pay them more. If you want the current batch, the ones willing to go to work at the lower rate of pay, to be better teachers, pay them more.

    It’s not that these same teachers wouldn’t give a pint of blood, a kidney, work without pay, to see the moment of discovery that lights up a child’s face. Of course they would. But there’s just some mystical, unexplainable connection between rate of pay and teacher quality. They’re better teachers because they’re paid more even though they’d happily work for free because of their infinite compassion.

    Of course, those teachers would have to be properly vetted. I think the best place for that is in ed schools. There they can learn that sneering condescension and obfuscatory language are the hallmarks of expertise. There they can also learn that teaching is such an arcane process that to attempt to measure it with something as mundane as an integer or – Derrida preserve us! – a decimal point, is simply a measure of the ignorance of the person who believes such a preposterous idea.

    It takes an aggressive winnowing process to find those individuals who understand that expertise comes not from knowledge and results but from position and attitude. But the ed schools are clearly up to the challenge of finding those individuals without, in any way, being judgemental.

    But simply paying teachers the same rate as basketball players isn’t enough. No, they need to perform their non-denominational magic under the umbrella of a greater educational structure. Administrators, assistant administrators, administrative assistants, vice-administrators, curriculum advisors, principals, vice-principals, guidance counselors and numberless other functionaries are necessary for education to occur.

    It’s not that they acctually do any teaching – that’s the preserve of the teacher-wizard – but their presence makes teaching possible.

    There’s a direct correlation between non-teaching positions and education. The more people who aren’t teaching the better the education teachers can provide. This has been proven repeatedly with the consolidation smaller, local school districts into metropolis-spanning mega-districts. Without exception they’ve proven to be more financially efficient and more educationally effective then the small school districts they absorbed.

    I really can’t see any flaw in this system. That it would work is simply common sense and anyone who sees any fault with it is probably mentally unbalanced or a child molester.

  4. Mad Scientist says:

    Hey MiT:

    What about the millions of us who work under at-will employment rules? Many of us have similar complaints about stupid policies, and we somehow manage to keep our jobs.

    Unless you truly believe that the educational system has managed to acquire all of the petty individuals in the US and put them in positions of authority.

    D’jaever stop to actually think that some of those supposedly “stupid policies” are there for a reason?

    I doubt it.

  5. cowboylogic says:

    I hope that the local districts (where the power really should be centered) develop the plans for merit pay such that a backward state, such as Wyoming, can implement a plan which only works to promote the profession of teaching as a profession and creates a higher level of accountability for the teachers. I beleive the longer wait for tenure, and the reduction of the idea that if you just hang in there the retirement fund will make all the suffering worthwhile, will weed out those who feel they are entitled to respect and pay because they serve the noble cause of teaching. We need to create a system where respect and pay are earned based on production and quality. Even here in Wyoming we understand the value of capitalistic ideals.

  6. Mike in Texas says:

    Mad Scientist wrote:

    What about the millions of us who work under at-will employment rules? Many of us have similar complaints about stupid policies, and we somehow manage to keep our jobs.

    Assuming you work in some type of profession I’m sure you have rules protecting you from arbritrary firings and retaliations. If not you have the courts to fall back on .

    Believe it or not, education administrations are not known for their tolerance of differing opinions and can be very vindictive against people who speak out.

  7. Mad Scientist says:

    MiT:

    Actually, no. I work in an at-will state. My boss can come to me and tell me to clean out my desk at any time, for any reason. They usually take the time to make a well documented case, but when they have to move quickly, they move.

    Last year one co-worker was summarily fired for allegedly sexually harassing another employee. It did not help the guy was a general ass, but while they were trying to make a case to keep him on the job, the story just got worse. He was gone within 24 hours.

    Courts only offer you so much protection, but once you are out the door, the burden of proof tends to be on you.

    So, I renew my question: Did the educational establishment manage to hire all the petty jackasses out there? Or are you waiting to be a jackass until you get tenure? You seem to be getting plenty of practice on these fora.

    See, if the situation were as bad as you make it out to be, no one could keep a job teaching. That conclusion is so silly it is laughable. Millions of people in private and parochial schools manage quite well without tenure or unions.

    First, eliminate unions. Next, eliminate tenure.

    Something you ought to ponder.

  8. Mike in Texas says:

    Or are you waiting to be a jackass until you get tenure? You seem to be getting plenty of practice on these fora.

    As I often tell others, resorting to name calling merely shows a weakness in your arguements, or a lack of vocabulary.

    Education is different from any other profession out there. Often times what’s best for a child is at odds with what’s best (monetarily and effort-wise) for the local school district and someone has to speak up for the child or children. The protection provided to teachers by tenure is supposed to make speaking up and speaking out protected by law.

    I am fortunate enough to work in a state where, although I don’t have tenure, the district has to have a damn good reason to fire me. However, if they wanted to cook something up against me I have no doubt they could. If i were incompetent there is a process by which I can be removed.

  9. Mike in Texas wrote:

    As I often tell others, resorting to name calling merely shows a weakness in your arguements, or a lack of vocabulary.

    And carefully ignoring the arguments you can make no substantive or morally defensible response too is what? a display of courage?

    If i were incompetent there is a process by which I can be removed.

    Yawn.

    Yeah, we’ve covered this before.

    In New Jersey it averages $300,000 and two years to fire a tenured teacher. Care to reveal the what it costs to can a bum teacher in Texas? Oh, and sources. I know how particular you are when it comes to the opinions of others. Good for goose, etc.

  10. Mike in Texas says:

    Allen,

    I honestly have no idea. I have seen a couple of teachers get non renewals of contracts; one very deservedly so and one simply b/c she was not liked (in this case the feeling was universal). Since she was at another school I really can’t tell you what kind of teacher she was.

  11. Mad Scientist says:

    MiT:

    If you can’t tell the difference between the statement: “You are a jackass” and the wholly different question “Or are you waiting to be a jackass until you get tenure?”, then I don’t know if I would want you to be teaching any of the children I do not have.

    See, the first example: “You are a jackass” is a statement that directly conveys my estimation of your character.

    The second example: “Or are you waiting to be a jackass until you get tenure?” is a question that simply implies that you aspire to jackassdom. In no way does it convey any estimation of your character. It simply asks what are your future plans with respect to becoming a jackass.

    Further, the statement: “You seem to be getting plenty of practice on these fora.” is simply meant to convey that if you do indeed aspire to become a jackass, your debating tactics are preparing you well for your future career choice.

    In any event, you simply evaded the topic. Education is decidedly not different from any other profession out there. In every human endeavor, there are those who make the policy and those tasked to carry out the policy. Those who are tasked to carry out a policy and disagree with it have two simple choices: 1) have a big cup of shut the hell up and do your job, or 2) quit.

    Note that not opting for option 1) is equivalent to choosing option 2) because you are effectively choosing to not be part of the team. Your superiors are simply validating your choice.

  12. Mike in Texas says:

    Mad Scientist,

    Don’t beat around the bush and try to thump your chest after the fact; your statements were meant to imply I’m a jackass. Why not just admit it? You and I have hard disagreements before. At least if you’d had the balls to say you think I’m a jackass I would be a little less disdainful of you.

    Those who are tasked to carry out a policy and disagree with it have two simple choices: 1) have a big cup of shut the hell up and do your job, or 2) quit.

    And this in a nutshell is why people like you should not be responsible for events that will effect the lives of others. I seem to remember some engineers from NASA who drank their big cup of shut the hell up and it ended up costing 7 people their lives. But hey, at least they were team players.

    The thing that sets many teachers apart is they refuse to drink from the big cup b/c they know its poison, and the kids they are entrusted to educate will suffer the consequences.

  13. Mike in Texas says:

    And carefully ignoring the arguments you can make no substantive or morally defensible response too is what? a display of courage?

    And what was this brilliant arguement I supposedly cannot counter?

  14. Mad Scientist says:

    MiT:

    Tell me, why can’t you stick to the topic? Typical liberal misdirection.

    The fact is that if you are unhappy where you work, openly rebel against authority and fear reprisals, go find either something else to do, or find somewhere else to do it.

    The canard that “children are the most important resource” (or future, or hope, or whatever) is a typical non-sequitor. You are paid to teach a specific curriculum. You don’t want to be held accountable by being held to standards you don’t agree with.

    Bottom line: Go work someplace else.

    But the topic was Merit Pay,

    The problem most people who hold opinions similar to yours with the concept of Merit Pay is that any system won’t be fair. Guess what? Life ain’t fair. If you don’t like it, go find another line of work.

    Another issue is that people like you worry too much that someone else will get more than you will because of some subjective criteria. This is the typical union screed. You can make your life a whole lot more pleasant by worrying about what you (and only you) do or do not get. Try not sticking your nose in other people’s business, and it won’t get bent out of shape so often.

    Now quit your whining.

  15. Mike in Texas says:

    MS wrote:

    You don’t want to be held accountable by being held to standards you don’t agree with.

    Actually, I’ve said many times I’m not afraid of accountability, I just won’t buckle under to some meaningless system of it.

    Try not sticking your nose in other people’s business, and it won’t get bent out of shape so often.Try not sticking your nose in other people’s business, and it won’t get bent out of shape so often.

  16. Mike in Texas wrote:

    Actually, I’ve said many times I’m not afraid of accountability, I just won’t buckle under to some meaningless system of it.

    Yeah you will. Or you’ll get out of the profession. Your description of the accountability system not withstanding.

    While you clearly don’t like it, accountability, in one form or another, is coming to the public education system.

    You can either have some input to the process by accepting it or you can just be bulldozed aside but in either case the real, wide-spread, multi-level nature of education reform is here to stay and one of its elements is going to be teacher accountability.

  17. Mad Scientist says:

    Actually, I was talking about merit pay. You were claiming that education administrators were the petty jackasses that would fire you if you complained too loudly and needed their protection.

    When you decide to discuss merit pay on it’s merits, rather than going off on unrelated tangents, I will be happy to debate you.

    Until then, you are just bloviating.

  18. Mike in Texas says:

    How can you disuss merit pay without discussing administrators. As a teacher I can tell you tons of stories about people the administration absolutely loves but who should be thrown out on their butts.

    Merit pay will create a system for administrators to reward their little pets. It will also create a system where no one will want to teach anything that will not result in a bonus and why should they? We are people with families and bills to pay like everyone else. But someone has to teach the special ed kids, teach PE, work in the labs and work in the libraries.

    The real problem I have with it is I know a child’s education is a cumulative process, effected by many things outside of school. There are tons of variables involved, including socioeconomic status, family life, previous teachers, education level of the parents, etc. I do not believe politicians would ever develop an effective system where the outstanding teachers would truly be recognized. Instead it will turn into a reward the pets programs.

    My school has a class for severely mentally handicapped kids. The teacher tells me she spends most of her time changing diapers and wiping kids behinds. Bring the politicians and businessmen in and their answer will be to test these kids. They surely won’t inspect the kids’ behinds to see if she did a good job.

    So, Mad Scientist, how do you measure the teachers who wipe kids behinds, or the multitudes of teachers who teach in areas not directly covered by the idiotic tests the politicians insist on?

  19. Mad Scientist says:

    You really need to focus on the issue: where the majority of the kids are. Sure, you can always cite an example that is so far out of the norm as to be meaningless.

    As for merit pay, you still seem to care far too much about what other people will get. But you have a hard time understanding it:

    Merit Pay is a system to force a desired behavior. If your idea of administrators having “pets” is that that actually get along better with people who don’t give them trouble, then THAT is a behavior they are trying to encourage. So drink your cup of shut the hell up and do your job – you too will get your merit pay.

    In addition, in most merit pay systems I have seen, individual awards are capped at some percentage, depending upon your level in the organization. For example, where I work, hourly workers can get a maximum of 10%; the high level executives can get as much as 40%.

    Oh yeah, and they are measured on different things as well. Hourly workers are paid according to how the company did as a whole and some local plant measurements (i.e., productivity, cost savings, safety record, etc.). I am measured on how the company does as a whole, how the specific division does, and how I have handled specific, measurable projects. People above me are graded on things more related to the bottom line – what they have control over. The exact measurements are not important. Just that something can be measured.

    And yes, if a significant portion of a “teacher’s” job is wipe kids asses, then track the cases of diaper rash, the reduction of such cases, or some other meaningful metric.

    Use some friggin imagination.

  20. Mike in Texas says:

    Mad Scientist,

    Explain to me then what your criteria is for measuring teacher performance. Since you told me to use some friggin imagination let’s hear what your plan is. Besides testing (whose effectiveness is whole other subject) how would you measure what teachers acheive in the classroom?

  21. Mad Scientist says:

    Obviously you have no imagination, and only want me to supply you with answers you can deride. Fine.

    1) How about preparation of specific lesson plans filed in the main office in the correct format and on-time.

    2) Acting as a mentor to a new faculty member.

    3) Completing specific coursework towards an MS or MA degree.

    4) Completing other Professional Development activities.

    5) Representing the school or district at regional or national meetings of professional (NOT UNION) societies.

    6) Delivering a paper/presentation on an effective teaching method you have used either to your peers during an “in service” day or at a Professional Society meeting.

    If you can’t come up with some of your own, then you do not have the imagination necessary for your job.

  22. Mike in Texas says:

    Actually Mad Scientist I have plenty of imagination. I was paying you the courtesy of asking for your opinion.

    Believe it or not, I have no intention of deriding your opinion. In fact, you have named many of the things already included in my evaluation (and the evaluation of all teachers) in Texas.

    I wish they would implement your suggestion #3; here in Texas school districts are not required to pay extra to anyone with an advanced degree. Some districts choose to do so and many don’t. Those that don’t are usually in close proximity to a university with an education program.

    I would also welcome your suggestion #6; I get sick of going to staff developments led by a paid employee of some company with a plan to push. Usually they are their for a fee and haven’t set foot in a classroom for years. I would much rather spend my day listening to other teachers share what they have found to be successful.

    The problem with merit pay, Mad Scientist, is it will not be designed by people like yourself who have put thought into it. It will be a flimsy piece of garbage thrown together by politicians whose main goal will be to make themselves look better. After the fact, they will slap themselves on the back for a job well done and totally ignore all the unintended consequences that occur afterwards.

    For example, here in Texas all 4th graders are required to take a Writing proficiency exam as well as Reading and Math. Texas schools cannot retain 4th grade teachers. My school averages about a 60%turnover rate for 4th grade teachers. In the 10 years I have taught at this school we have had every 4th grade teacher return for the next year only once;the responsibility is greater and the stress level is greater. One of the very best teachers I’ve ever known, who taught my own child, told the administration to either move her out of 4th grade or she would quit. You and I might say school districts should pay these teachers more but do you think that has ever occured to some politician in Austin? It hasn’t b/c most politicians are only worried about the next election cycle. Anything with effects further away from then can be ignored. Paying 4th grade teachers more would cost more (making them look bad in the short-term) and its negative effects wouldn’t appear for several years down the line (after they are re-elected).

  23. Andy Freeman says:

    > Actually, I’ve said many times I’m not afraid of accountability, I just won’t buckle under to some meaningless system of it.

    We’re still waiting for MiT to describe an acceptable to him accountability system.

    We do see him criticize strawmen, but have we ever seen him comment on “years in the classroom” as a measure of merit?

    Let’s see it MiT – how do you think that teacher success should be MEASURED. Note – the rest of us think that we’re paying teachers for the difference that they make in students. If you don’t, fine, but please address the issue one way or the other.

  24. Mike in Texas wrote:

    The problem with merit pay, Mad Scientist, is it will not be designed by people like yourself who have put thought into it.

    Oh look, Mad Scientist has a new, best friend!

    It will be a flimsy piece of garbage thrown together by politicians whose main goal will be to make themselves look better.

    Yeah, that representative democracy thing is really a pain, isn’t it?

    Any alternatives you care to suggest or should we just leave it at a gratuitous swipe at politicians in general and move quickly on?

    And what was this brilliant arguement I supposedly cannot counter?

    Teacher as mercenary saint.

    When it suits you, a teacher is a paragon of compassion, willing, no, anxious, to go beyond the call of duty. A saintly individual who’s society’s only hope of overcoming ignorance, hatred and bigotry and thus beyond the judgement of mere mortals. A practitioner of a skill so difficult, so undefinable that an attempt to measure it is to demean it and you.

    And from mythic figure you seque seemlessly to brow-beaten, poorly-compensated employee.

    So which one is it, Mike? Are you an earth-bound angel or are you in it for the money?

  25. Andy Freeman says:

    > It will be a flimsy piece of garbage thrown together by politicians whose main goal will be to make themselves look better.

    MiT didn’t mention the horrible part – they’re trying to look better to the rabble.

    I can pick my MD, I can pick my car salesman, why shouldn’t I be allowed to pick my child’s teacher?

  26. Mike in Texas says:

    Hmm, Andy and Allen, where should I start?

    how do you think that teacher success should be MEASURED.

    Texas has a fair system of teacher evaluation (fair as in OK). You can find the specifics at this site: http://www.tea.state.tx.us/eddev/PDAS/

    Domains 1 -4 actually relate to our classroom teaching skills. One thing I would add is an element from the evaluations used when I taught in Florida, students on task. During the course of the evaluation the administrator would pick 4 times at random to actually count how many kids were paying attention. I would also add an evaluation of the class in transition i.e. moving from the classroom to other areas, or changing activities in the classroom.

    Domain #8 is just a euphemism for test scores. If it were evaluated with some other criteria I would include it.

    I’m already required to do Mad Scientists’ #1 idea, why not include it?

    I would also like to see his element #4 implemented to a greater extent.

    MiT didn’t mention the horrible part – they’re trying to look better to the rabble.
    Rabble is your choice of words, not mine.

    Are you an earth-bound angel or are you in it for the money?

    I am neither. What I am is a person committed to his profession who works hard at it to be the best he can be. I am also a family man with a mortage, car notes and a child in college to pay for. Before you ride off on your high horse would you refuse a raise?

    And from mythic figure you seque seemlessly to brow-beaten, poorly-compensated employee.

    I have never claimed to be brow-beaten or poorly compensated.

    I can pick my MD, I can pick my car salesman, why shouldn’t I be allowed to pick my child’s teacher

    Here in Texas you can choose your child’s teacher. All it takes is a little effort on the parents’ part to find out about the teachers and about 2 minutes to write a letter out saying you want your child in that teacher’s class.

  27. Mike in Texas wrote:

    Texas has a fair system of teacher evaluation

    Politicians involved in the development of that fair system?

    Rabble is your choice of words, not mine.

    Demean the representatives of the people and you demean the people.

    What I am is a person committed to his profession who works hard at it to be the best he can be.

    You’ll understand that I’m not willing to take your word for it since you expect to be payed for doing it?

    I am also a family man with a mortage, car notes and a child in college to pay for.

    Then you’ll understand why I insist on a hard-nosed method of teacher accountability. You want the best terms on your house note, the best car for your money and the best education for your kid; I want the best public education system my public education tax dollars can buy.

    I have never claimed to be brow-beaten or poorly compensated.

    So when you were complaining about stupid administrators and stupid politicians and stupid parents who want football stadiums, you weren’t so much complaining as giving an objective description? Right.

    You haven’t had a raise in three years. Is that complaining about being poorly compensated? If not, what is it?

    Oh, and since you seem to take refuge in evasiveness any time the temperature goes up a trifle, care to tell us where those anti-NCLB hordes of parents are organizing? I’ve been keeping an eye opened for anything resembling a grass-roots movement against the NCLB and, other then in your imagination, it doesn’t seem to have materialized.

    Was that just a prediction based on fear or is there some actual organization you can point to?

  28. Mike in Texas says:

    Allen wrote:

    I’ve been keeping an eye opened for anything resembling a grass-roots movement against the NCLB and, other then in your imagination, it doesn’t seem to have materialized.

    Perhaps you’ve missed a couple of stories in the news these last couple of days.

    http://www.ctnow.com/news/education/hc-nochild0120.artjan20,1,3295420.story?coll=hc-headlines-education&ctrack=2&cset=true

    Please note the 3rd and 4th lines of this story that say “would cost additional millions without any benefit.

    Or this story: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A22279-2005Jan19.html

    where the state of VA is seeking exemptions from NCLB.

    I seem to have forgotten; state entities such as boards of education don’t count as grassroots do they?

    when you were complaining about stupid administrators and stupid politicians and stupid parents who want football stadiums, you weren’t so much complaining as giving an objective description?

    I believe this came up in a discussion where I was clamoring for more fiscal responsiblity from school administrations. Since you’re a bottom lost cost kind of person you should be agreeing with me on this.

    You haven’t had a raise in three years.

    I forgot to mention, I did get a raise. I’m now making $23 a month more. Of course, I’m fortunate I don’t have to purchase my health insurance through the school district. Many of those same people are now making less after their latest raise.

    Demean the representatives of the people and you demean the people.

    You’re right, I shouldn’t be speaking out against some of the people who have diligently toiled for the good of the people, like Ted Kennedy, Joseph Biden, Tom DeLay or what’s his name Traficant? They should be placed on a pedestal and worshipped for their service.

    BTW Allen, what is your system of teacher evaluation to determine who gets merit pay? Remember it has to include a way to evaluate those teachers who wipe bottoms and other non-traditional roles.

    Politicians involved in the development of that fair system?

    To the best of my knowledge, no.

  29. Andy Freeman says:

    > Here in Texas you can choose your child’s teacher.

    Really? I can put my kid to the good private school near my house and the money comes with her?

  30. Mike in Texas says:

    What money Andy? Are you talking about the property taxes you paid or do you want other people to subsidize your child’s religious education?

  31. Mike in Texas wrote:

    I seem to have forgotten; state entities such as boards of education don’t count as grassroots do they?

    Right you are. That means I’m still waiting for some proof of a grassroots movement that’ll sweep aside the NCLB-supporting rabble like Ted Kennedy. My guess is I’ll be waiting a long time. Forever if I have to depend on you for an answer.

    Oh, and the links you provide? Neither state is seeking exemptions from NCLB. Both want to “fine tune” NCLB requirements and “work with” the federal agencies.

    In case your education is inadequate to the task of interpreting that mush, it means they want their current system and they want the federal bucks.

    Given your history of misrepresenting issue and news stories and conjuring grassroots movements out of your fevered imagination, did you think I wouldn’t read the articles?

    I forgot to mention, I did get a raise. I’m now making $23 a month more.

    Bully for you.

    So, does that mean you’re in it for the money?

    You’re right, I shouldn’t be speaking out against some of the people who have diligently toiled for the good of the people, like Ted Kennedy, Joseph Biden, Tom DeLay or what’s his name Traficant?

    Speak out agains whom ever it pleases you to speak out against. But if the system isn’t working to your liking, that’s not the fault of the system.

    Besides, this establishes you as just a garden variety partisan. Except for Kennedy of course. He voted for NCLB.

    BTW Allen, what is your system of teacher evaluation to determine who gets merit pay?

    Good teachers get more, bad teachers get less. Rotten teachers get the boot.

    Also, the ratings ought to be public record.

    Remember it has to include a way to evaluate those teachers who wipe bottoms and other non-traditional roles.

    No, it doesn’t. It has to take into account only what’s of value to the people for whom the system exists. That isn’t teachers.

  32. Andy Freeman says:

    > What money Andy? Are you talking about the property taxes you paid or do you want other people to subsidize your child’s religious education?

    I’m talking about the money paid to educate said child. If my taxes can pay for someone to someone who’s going to Notre Dame, why shouldn’t they be able to go to someone who’s going to Sacred Heart?

    When the typical public school is as effective teaching “not religion” as the typical Catholic school is, I might start caring about whether there’s a crucifix on the wall. (No, I’m not Catholic.)

    Then again, unlike MiT, I’m more interested in education than religion.

  33. Mike in Texas says:

    Good teachers get more, bad teachers get less. Rotten teachers get the boot

    And how exactly would you determine that, Allen?

    BTW, I mentioned Ted Kennedy as someone worthy of demeaning, not as a supporter of NCLB (which he is currently backsliding on) but b/c of his little bridge incident? Remember that? A young woman died and neither he or his buddies tried to help. Then he used his family’s wealth and connections to skip out of town. I brought up Joseph Biden b/c I’ve seen him speak on TV and he comes across as one of the dumbest individuals on the face of the planet, Republican or Democrat. Tom DeLay is currently under investigation for misusing funds, although it looks like he has may have managed to convince enough underlings to do his time for him.

    It has to take into account only what’s of value to the people for whom the system exists.

    If your child is one of those kids who is too impaired to wipe his own bottem it will have value to you. Geez, you “refomers” are all heart when it comes to the well being of children.

  34. Mike in Texas wrote:

    And how exactly would you determine that, Allen?

    Starting with the relatively safe assumption that the value of an accountability scheme is directly proportional to the volume of the complaints coming from the previously unaccountable, I’d say the NCLB is fine starting point.

    If your child is one of those kids who is too impaired to wipe his own bottem it will have value to you.

    Still trying to pose the outliers as the norm, hey?

    Right back atcha.

    What are we going to do with the kids who don’t need their bottoms wiped but do need stable curricula that are designed to educate the kids and not fatten ed school coffers and teachers egos?

    I’m beginning to think that the occupational hazard of the teaching profession is megalomania. Cripes, I want the slugs out of the profession and all of a sudden I’m dealing with a profession that consists of nothing but Anne Sullivans.

    Let me clue you in from my vantage point outside the profession: you ain’t no Anne Sullivan. You’re just another working stiff who has what many other working stiffs consider a pretty sweet deal.

    Back when a teacher’s pay was enough to keep a frugal, single woman from starving to death you had a legitimate claim on sainthood but those days are long past. You may still buy into the myth but it’s grip on the public started ebbing some years ago and it won’t be coming back. Get used to that.

    If you want to be treated like professional and paid like professionals then you’re going to be measured like professionals. On your ability to deliver. And your complaints about the unfairness of the measuring scheme? Those’ll be diluted by your status as a professional and it’ll be assumed that you’re concerned with your self first and your customers when necessary. In other words, your complaints will fall on largely deaf ears.

    Geez, you “refomers” are all heart when it comes to the well being of children.

    When you stop complaining about your pay you can assume the role of children’s advocate. Until then those children are just a way to make your mortgage payment.

  35. Geez, you two. I realize I’m probably about to get slammed by both sides – but then at least you’ll agree on something. ๐Ÿ™‚

    allen and MiT: PLEASE COOL OFF!! Neither one of you has added anything new in your latest posts, neither one of you is going to convert the other. I’d think you would have realized that by now, after the months you’ve been carping at each other on various threads here. Now you both may *think* you’re just responding calmly to the other guy’s diatribe, but from where I’m sitting there’s not a whole lot to choose between you. The last two posts in particular I could only tell who was writing b/c you were both oh-so-helpful in attributing your quotes. Please, for the love of little green men, STOP, turn off your computers and go play with some kids for a while.

    Suzanne in Utah

  36. Mike in Texas says:

    Suzanne,

    Not to worry, I don’t get mad about Allen’s posts and I’m sure he doesn’t get mad about mine. We are merely sniping at each other for the fun of argueing.

    One of the problems with communicating in writing is the non-verbal component is removed, so that many opinions come across as harsh.

    I doubt very seriously Allen has any throbbing veins on his forehead when he reads my posts, and I know I don’t when I read his.

  37. Mike in Texas says:

    Suzanne wrote:

    The last two posts in particular I could only tell who was writing b/c you were both oh-so-helpful in attributing your quotes

    You see, Allen? I’m slowing converting you to my point of view; even Suzanne thinks so ๐Ÿ˜‰

  38. howitzersmom says:

    Okay, i think i’ve got the point.

    Have allen or any of the others than Mike in TX ever taught in K-12?

    I am one of the 50 percenters that left before her fifth year. I couldn’t take being told that how often a student dresses for physical education that is what his/her grade should be based. Then again it could be tested easily.

    Silly physical educators like me expected performance you know, for example fitness standards….but alas no state standard, therefore no merit pay. Just grade ’em on whether they dress for class and this is WHAT year! with kids HOW fat?

    jeannie

  39. Mike in Texas says:

    Jeannie,

    I’m in my 12th year of teaching

  40. >>One of the problems with communicating in writing is the non-verbal component is removed, so that many opinions come across as harsh.

    MiT, thanks for reminding me of that – I often forget. ๐Ÿ™‚ I guess I’m just accustomed to bb’s that use more emoticons.

    Here in foggy Utah the legislature is currently trying to design a new merit pay system that would cover the whole state. I believe they’re currently involving the teachers, but since I can’t find a link don’t quote me on that – I could be up in the night. I do know that the UEA (the union) is obscenely powerful here, so anything that does come out of Salt Lake may be watered down to nothing before being actually implemented. ๐Ÿ™

    Suzanne in Utah

  41. Mike in Texas says:

    Suzanne,

    Here in Texas the unions are basically powerless.

  42. I have no basis whatsoever on which to determine whether this is a good idea or not. However, what I DO know is that every state constitution I’ve ever worked with or even looked at is a cluttered chaotic mess, and that policy decisions like this belong out in the plain old rough-and-tumble legislative process of drafting or amending ordinary statutes, not enshrined as constitutional law. One would think a Republican state senator would realize that every time a new line appears in the state constitution it takes power away from him and his constituents and hands it to the courts. One would also think this would NOT be regarded as a good thing…if one believed such people usually had any real principles at all, of course.

  43. Mike in Texas wrote:

    Here in Texas the unions are basically powerless.

    Hmmm. Now here’s a problem.

    Considering the source, that would mean that Texas is actually an iron-fisted edu-ocracy run by and for the convenience of the union hierarchy. Since Texas has charter schools, an iron-fisted edu-ocracy probably isn’t an accurate description.

    On the other hand, there’s the fluidity of definition. For instance, if you define “basically powerless” as anything other then an iron-fisted edu-ocracy run by and for the convenience of the union hierarchy then the explanation makes sense.

    By the way Mike, I came up with a natural ally for the defenders of the status quo: municipal governments.

    One of the big losers in Texas from the imposition of the idiotically named “Robin Hood” school funding program is the municipalities. The erosion of housing prices kicked off by Robin Hood will, if it hasn’t already, hit the municipalities hard.

    They certainly won’t be supportive of the logical extension of Robin Hood – uniform, state-wide per-pupil spending, i.e. charterization of the public education system. One of the distinguishing characateristics of the wealthier municipalities will go away and they won’t let that happen without a fight.

  44. Mike in Texas says:

    Considering the source, that would mean that Texas is actually an iron-fisted edu-ocracy run by and for the convenience of the union hierarchy

    Allen, the word you’re try to tiptoe around is liar. You have assumed that since I’m a teacher and I disagree with you about nearly everything regarding education that I am lying. However, as someone with experience in the topic we’re debating let me suggest you consider the fact Texas is a no strike state as far as teachers are concerned. If our unions were as omnipotent as you claim they are that law would have never made it on the books. Once that law was passed teachers unions in Texas became not much more than associations that most of us join for the liability insurance and to purchase legal help in dealing with our administrations.

  45. Mike in Texas wrote:

    Allen, the word you’re try to tiptoe around is liar.

    Just trying for a little artfulness.

    I’ve caught you in a number of lies already – your portrayal of state responses to the NCLB and your misstatement of the public education budget system in Texas – so you don’t get any credibility credit. But just bluntly calling you a liar gets old pretty quick even if you’re still lying up a storm.

    Of course, what else are you going to do? You’ve got a mortgage, a college education and what remains of your self-respect to protect. Against that, what’s something as elusive and open to debate as the truth?

    If our unions were as omnipotent as you claim they are that law would have never made it on the books.

    Oh, is omnipotence the standard you use to determine political clout? You sure set a high standard.

    Most people would say that if the TEA lobbyist calls and legislators pick up the call on the first ring, the union’s got some serious clout. But I guess that when you’re within arm’s reach of omnipotence, anything less looks pretty lousy. You have my condolences.

    Once that law was passed teachers unions in Texas became not much more than associations that most of us join for the liability insurance and to purchase legal help in dealing with our administrations.

    Which would mean that your dues are commensurately less then those of unions in states where the union is omnipotent or, at least, more potent then Texas teacher’s union? Do I have to go check? Or will you wait for this topic to roll off?

    By the way, given one of the alternate meanings of the word “potent” I think its use is particularly apt.

  46. Mike in Texas says:

    Allen,

    I don’t know what the union dues in other states are but I pay $130 a year. I think the other teachers’ union dues are around $200.

  47. Mike in Texas says:

    I’ve caught you in a number of lies already

    You’ve never caught me in a lie b/c there is no need for me to lie, but I believe you’ve deluded yourself into thinking so.

    I seem to remember you claiming teachers were forced to join a union in some states. You were even kind enough to provide me with a link to a right to work organization. Of course one of the first things I found was by federal law you cannot be required to join a union. I seem to remember you let that topic “roll off” w/o comment.

Trackbacks

  1. Extra Credit Assignment: Great Reading..

    Once again, I’ve put on my electronic walking shoes and have taken a little stroll around the Education Mini-Sphere to see…