San Jose teachers agree to ‘quality panel’

San Jose teachers have agreed to a contract that links pay increases to teaching skill rather than college credits and creates a career ladder for outstanding teachers, reports the San Jose Mercury News. Ineffective teachers could be denied a raise.

Instead of analyzing student test scores, the contract creates a teacher quality panel to evaluate teachers’ effectiveness. A proposal to pay teachers more to work at high-poverty, low-achieving schools was dropped.

While student performance will be part of the discussion on evaluations, teachers won’t be penalized if students don’t meet expectations.

“What will drive this is the belief that teachers can be trusted to self-assess,” San Jose Teachers Association president Jennifer Thomas said.

If the district finds outside sources of revenue, the contract will create new categories of teachers who will mentor, advise and evaluate their peers. With 30 years of experience, a “model” teacher could earn as much as $97,228 and a “master” teacher up to $112,278.

Across the state, teachers move up the salary schedule based on both longevity and college credits. Currently, a beginning San Jose Unified teacher with 44 credits beyond a bachelor’s degree earns $47,716 for working 186 days a year. Completing 16 more units adds more than $5,000; a master’s degree adds $2,576.

The new schedule will keep the longevity steps and degree stipends but replace the credits with categories based on skills and expertise.

Evaluations will be more detailed and will be done by both administrators and a team of teachers.

The contract lets the district add a third year to new teachers’ probationary status, rather than making a tenure-or-fire decision after two years. But that will require a state waiver.

Student performance must be part of teacher evaluations by California law, writes Chris Reed in Cal Watchdog.

Thanks to a 2012 Los Angeles Superior Court ruling, school districts in California are on notice that the 1971 Stull Act is still a binding state law. And among the law’s many provisions is a specific requirement that student performance be part of teacher evaluations.

Yet the way the Merc-News story reads, student performance can only be considered if it is positive — not if it is poor. Huh?

If the teacher quality panel decides that a tenured teacher isn’t doing a good job, does the teacher stay on, but without a raise?

According to Thomas, the teachers’ union president, a tenured teacher deemed ineffective by the panel can be moved to Peer Assistance and Review. Till now, that decision was made by the principal. “Now, the evaluations will be validated by a panel, not the single purview of an administrative evaluator. Additionally, if a teacher needs support or needs to improve, there will be another person to bring that to light if the administrator doesn’t. It’s a two-way system meant to make everyone better.”

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  1. Alice Roddy says:

    I suppose the object of this exercise is to improve student performance and I foresee that it won’t work. Sigh.
    I’ve nothing against this plan; it’s just that the problem of student performance lies more in the home that in the school. Ending unilateral no-fault divorce and reestablishing two parent, stable families as would do a world of good for children. Kids need dads and there is a reason that dads tend to be the disciplinarians. Moms have a different job to do.
    We’re like the drunk looking for the car keys he lost under the street light. He didn’t lose them there but that’s where it is easier to look. Teachers didn’t create these children who are hard to reach and teach but it is easier for society to go after them than anyone else.

  2. Look! A new arrangement for the deck chairs on the Titanic.

    That *is* exciting!

  3. Florida resident says:

    Article: “In Silicon Valley, even high-achieving schools fail Latinos, report says”:
    Steve Sailer about it: “Latinos don’t fail school, school fails Latinos! “:
    With deep respect of Ms. Jacobs’ work,