Supported by a $15 million four-year grant from the Carroll and Milton Petrie Foundation, the Partnership will address New York City’s need for highly qualified, well-trained teachers who will immediately be able to excel in the City’s public schools.
Through an unprecedented collaboration among K-12 educators and higher education faculty in education and the arts and sciences, the Partnership plans innovations in how pre-service teachers–students who are receiving formal education but have not yet become full-time teachers–are taught and by whom; how they first learn the craft of teaching, and how they continue to develop teaching skill throughout their careers. The Partnership will demonstrate how teacher education can be responsive to the City’s most pressing needs, how learning what to teach and learning how to teach can better come together, and how beginning teachers can be ready from the start to work effectively in urban classrooms.
Sweden did: ($$):
In Sweden the fixed pay scheme for teachers was abolished in the mid-1990s as part of an agreement designed to enhance local autonomy and flexibility in the school system. The government committed itself to substantially raise teacher salaries over a five-year period, but on the condition that not all teachers received the same increase. There is accordingly no fixed upper limit and only a minimum basic salary is centrally negotiated, along with the aggregate rise in the teacher salary bill. Salaries are negotiated when a teacher is hired and teacher and employer agree on the salary to be paid upon commencement of the term of employment. Teachers’ work roles and performance are considered in the negotiation and linked to the pay. There is now much greater variety in teachers’ pay, with those in areas of shortage and with higher demonstrated performance able to negotiate more.
It may seem strange that a social democracy so willing to limit economic freedom would embrace market-oriented reform of teacher pay. But according to this, Swedish policymakers concluded that “an expansion and improved quality of social services could not be accomplished without improving the efficiency in the public sector.” And the unions agreed, “in order to improve salaries and working conditions.”
Too often in America, we are forced to choose between destroying the public sector and preserving its every bad feature. But this guy was on to something. There is, well, a third way. And it’s a little sad when Sweden is working harder to find it than we are.
Jason Shepherd writing in the December 29, 2005 Isthmus:
- Superintendent Art Rainwater: says the “most frustrating” part of his job is knowing there are ways to boost achievement with more resources, but not being able to allocate them. Instead, the district must each year try to find ways to minimize the hurt.
- Board member Lawrie Kobza wants the board to review its strategic plan to ensure all students are being challenged with a rigorous curriculum.
- Carol Carstensen, the current Board President says the “heterogenous” groupings, central to the West controversy (English 10, 1 curriculum for all), will be among the most important curriculum issues for 2006.
- Ruth Robarts is closely watching an upcoming review of the district’s health insurance plans and pushing to ensure that performance goals for Rainwater include targeted gains for student achievement.
- Johnny Winston says he’ll continue to seek additional revenue streams, including selling district land.
Read the full article here.
With respect to funding and new programs, the district spends a great deal on the controversial Reading Recovery program. The district also turned down millions in federal funds last year for the Reading First Program. Perhaps there are some opportunities to think differently with respect to curriculum and dollars in the district’s $329M+ budget, which increases annually.
Teacher Barb Williams offers her perspective on the expensive Reading Recovery program and the district’s language curriculum.
Board Candidate Maya Cole offers her thoughts on Transparency and the Budget
We asked our nine districts what their biggest barriers were in achieving excellence at scale, and they described five categories of management challenges:
- Implementing a district-wide strategy
- Achieving organizational coherence in support of the strategy
- Developing and managing human capital
- Allocating resources in alignment with the strategy
- Using performance data for decision making and accountability
In this essay we hear from Chris Coffey, an educator who has gone into teaching as a second career and who thinks it’s time for a lot of us to do more than talk about improving education. Chris Coffey is a lawyer who has returned to education and teaches in the Law Magnet Program at South Mountain High School in the Phoenix Union High School District.
Diane Duffy, a teacher at Kyrene de la Mirada Elementary School in the Kyrene School District, talks about gifts for teachers during the holiday season.
Here is the full text of SLC Evaluator Bruce King’s recent report on the plan to implement a common English 10 course at West HS.
Evaluation of the SLC Project at West High School
The 10th Grade English Course
M.Bruce King, Project Evaluator
2 November 2005
The development and implementation of the common 10th grade English course is a significant initiative for two related reasons. First, the course is central to providing instruction in the core content areas within each of the four small learning communities in grade 10, as outlined in the SLC grant proposal. And second, the course represents a major change from the elective course system for 10th graders that has been in existence at West for many years. Given the importance of this effort, we want to understand what members of the English Department thought of the work to date.
Denver residents will vote Tuesday on whether to approve a far-reaching plan to pay teachers extra based on their students’ performance. School districts across the country are under pressure to raise test scores, and they are watching the vote closely.
Dear La Follette Parents & Taxpayers,
I am writing because I am greatly distressed about conditions at La Follette High School under the 4-block system. I strongly believe that as parents and taxpayers you have the right to be included in the debate about your child’s education. Because I believe the future of the 4-block will be decided in the near future I am compelled to provide you with some information.
Students in the traditional MMSD high schools are required to spend 50% of the credits required for graduation in academic areas. La Follette students are required to spend only 42% of their time in academic areas. Why does the district believe that La Follette students need less time in academic areas? Do the taxpayers support this decision? I understand that this is a debatable question. What I do not understand is why there is a different answer for La Follette students.
Rafael Gomez organized an excellent Forum Wednesday evening on Poverty and Education. Participants include:
- Tom Kaplan: Associate Director of the Institute for Research on Poverty kaplan at ssc.wisc.edu
- Ray Allen, Former Madison Board of Education Member, Publisher – Madison Times
- Maria Covarrubias: A Teacher at Chavez Elementary mcovarrubias at madison.k12.wi.us
- Mary Kay Baum: Executive Director; Madison-Area Urban Ministry mkb at emum.org
- Bob Howard: Madison School District rhoward at madison.k12.wi.us
|Maria Covarrubias: A Teacher at Chavez Elementary describes her journey from a California migrant worker to a UW Educated Madison Teacher. Video|
She went to the Public Education Foundation of Little Rock. The Foundation had no money for her, and the Little Rock system’s budget was a non-starter. So the Foundation produced a private, anonymous donor, which made union approval unnecessary.
Together this small group worked out the program’s details. The Stanford test results would be the basis for the bonuses. For each student in a teacher’s charge whose Stanford score rose up to 4% over the year, the teacher got $100; 5% to 9% — $200; 10% to 14% — $300; and more than 15% — $400. This straight-line pay-for-performance formula awarded teachers objectively in a way that squares with popular notions of fairness and skirts fears of subjective judgment. In most merit-based lines of work, say baseball, it’s called getting paid for “putting numbers on the board.”
Still, it required a leap of faith. “I will tell you the truth,” said Karen Carter, “we thought one student would improve more than 15%.” The tests and financial incentives, however, turned out to be a powerful combination. The August test gave the teachers a detailed analysis of individual student strengths and weaknesses. From this, they tailored instruction for each student. It paid off on every level.
The large majority of teachers, of course, are well-qualified and dedicated. Parents should weigh a child’s complaints carefully: Is the problem really a bad teacher, or a misdirected kid? “Many times the parent only gets the child’s side of the story,” says John Mitchell, deputy director of the American Federation of Teachers union.
The rumor mill can be misleading. Matt Sabella of Armonk, N.Y., was warned by other elementary-school parents that his daughter’s teacher was “so-so.” He found the opposite to be true. The teacher “helped my daughter become a whiz in math,” Mr. Sabella says. Also, if you rescue a child too quickly, you risk producing what some administrators call “teacups” — carefully crafted but fragile kids who lack resiliency, says Patrick Bassett of the National Association of Independent Schools, Washington, D.C.
Thousands of rookie teachers across the country nervously contemplate study plans and wonder if they can live up to the expectations of students, parents, the principal and themselves. Classroom veterans offer advice to the new teachers. Guests:
Jennifer Westra, first-time teacher at Liliam Lujan Hickey Elementary School in Las Vegas, Nev.
Rafe Esquith, author of There Are No Shortcuts and longtime fifth-grade teacher in Los Angeles
David Espinosa, New York City teaching fellow
The results are almost unanimous: Standards are low, teacher training is poor and unless something is done right away, there will be an enormous teacher shortage, particularly in math and science, within the next decade. The Teaching Commission — a group whose board includes former IBM chief executive Louis V. Gerstner Jr. and former first lady Barbara Bush — concluded that rigid rules for teacher pay have failed to attract teachers to more difficult schools and more difficult subjects; that education schools needed higher standards; and that teacher licensing should be more rigorous. Last May the National Academy of Education issued a set of recommendations designed to deal with precisely the same problems: performance-linked teacher pay, incentives to teach in urban and poor rural schools, higher standards for teacher training, and more support for beginning teachers. The Education Trust, which has studied the extraordinarily weak content of teacher training curriculums, advocates rigorous quality standards that will make the entire teaching “market” more effective by identifying better teachers and allowing them to command higher salaries.
Joanne Jacobs has an interesting set of links and comments on teacher merit pay:
Teacher Quality Bulletin’s merit pay round-up includes a story on a privately funded plan at an elementary school in Little Rock, Arkansas. Each teacher got a bonus based on the percentage increase in her students’ test scores.
For each pupil who made up to a 4 percent gain on the May test when compared with the pre-test last August, the teacher was entitled to $100. For each pupil who made a gain of between 5 percent and 9 percent, the bonus was $200. If the pupils gain was between 10 percent and 14 percent, the bonus was $300 and if the gain exceeded 15 percent, the bonus was $400.
Bonuses ranged from $1,800 to $8,600, and cost $65,000. The entire cost was $145,000 including testing costs and bonuses — based on the overall 17 percent gain of students schoolwide — to 25 other employees, including math and literacy coaches, the media specialist and maintenance and cafeteria workers.
In Florida, some districts give merit pay to many teachers; others have plans that make it impossible to qualify. The union wants it that way.
The Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association was bitterly opposed to performance pay and helped set the eligibility bar so high that union chief Jade Moore said it would “make it nearly impossible” for any teachers to earn them.
Hillsborough is more flexible and leaves much of the bonus-granting power in the hands of principals.
Meanwhile Florida is having trouble with teacher certification scams (pdf). One 24-year-old claimed to have earned a bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate within three months.
Tod Seal discusses teacher evaluations in three parts:
- Student Voices
Students choosing the easy route make up a large percentage of any public school. I’d say that easily 80% of the students in any high school will choose the teacher who shows movies and simply requires basic recall of class lecture over the teacher who reads novels and requires challenging essays. Yes, students in public school choose Advanced Placement (AP) classes.
- Teacher Voices
It’s been suggested that there is a struggle to create “objective, articulable standards” [sic] for teacher evaluation. It’s further been suggested that teachers be evaluated based on subjective standards, in the absence of those “articulable standards.” I, for one, certainly don’t want to be judged on subjective standards and I don’t want other teachers evaluated thusly. I wouldn’t judge my students subjectively and I wouldn’t expect any boss to evaluate employees subjectively.
- Administrator View
Teachers in my school district are currently evaluated by a bi-annual visit from an administrator (principals and the like). Every 2 years, an administrator spends 53 minutes in my classroom, taking notes on what happens during that time. That 53-minute period, that solitary visit to my classroom on a day and time that I know about well in advance is supposed to be some type of record of how effective I am as an educator. That visit is the single requirement our district has for teacher evaluation.
Clearly, this is a flawed system
The National Council on Teacher Quality has published their first Square off, where two economists debate: “Are Teachers Underpaid“?
A new worldwide chain of for-profit colleges started to go public with its plans last month for Whitney International University, which will offer a range of programs in numerous countries. At the time, Best Associates, the Dallas-based merchant bank that is creating Whitney, said it also had plans for teacher education in the United States.
Those plans are now starting to emerge — and the American College of Education, as this effort will be called, represents a new model for training teachers. In fact, organizers of the teacher education program make no effort to hide their disdain for most programs that exist today.
A smaller-than-expected contract for Madison teachers would leave about $400,000 for the School Board to spend on cash-strapped programs, although critics say more was available.
Superintendent Art Rainwater and board President Carol Carstensen would not speculate Tuesday on what programs could benefit, but board member Ruth Robarts said maintaining the Open Classroom program at Lincoln Elementary School and alleviating planned class-size increases for art, music and gym teachers could be possibilities.
Rainwater, Carstensen and Madison Teachers Inc. Executive Director John Matthews presented the proposed contract at a news conference at MTI headquarters Tuesday.
This isn’t to diminish the many great teachers who work their hearts out for poor kids in trying conditions. But it’s these teachers who’ve told me with passion how mediocre many of their colleagues are. We’re essentially relying on missionaries to staff schools in poor neighborhoods. How many more years have to pass before we admit that the missionary “plan” isn’t working?
Yet the problem with most pay reforms (like Arnold’s) is that they’re all stick and no carrot. Or they offer such small bonuses (say, $2,000) that teachers have no reason to rethink their aversion to pay differentials based on anything but seniority.
The answer is to think bigger. Consider this “grand bargain.” We’d raise salaries for teachers in poor schools by 50 percent. But this offer would be conditioned on two major reforms. First, the unions would have to abandon their lock-step pay scale so that we could raise the top half of performers (and those in shortage fields like math and science) another 50 percent. Second, the unions would have to make it much easier to fire the worst teachers, who are blighting the lives of countless kids.
“MadTeach is all about….teaching in Madison…..getting mad about teaching….and of course, getting mad about teaching in Madison……….”
The award that Tina Murray received Sunday may not go far in helping fund a new environmental project she started last week at Shabazz City High School, but it was gratifying nonetheless.
Murray, who has worked as a technology teacher at Shabazz for seven years, was one of 10 Dane County teachers to receive the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation Fellowship award.
“It’s true. We do pay more,” said Greta Roskom, a charter-school principal and a former Albuquerque Public Schools principal and administrator.
By and large, charter schools are paying their teachers more than APS pays theirs.
The Hacker Highschool project is the development of license-free, security and privacy awareness teaching materials and back-end support for teachers of elementary, junior high, and high school students.
Today’s kids and teens are in a world with major communication and productivity channels open to them and they don’t have the knowledge to defend themselves against the fraud, identity theft, privacy leaks and other attacks made against them just for using the Internet. This is the reason for Hacker Highschool.
Madison Teachers, Inc. is currently bargaining with the Madison School District. The current agreement can be found here (167 page PDF). I ran some google searches and found the following teacher contracts online:
I’ll continue to add to this list, along with the new MMSD/Madison Teachers Agreement when it is available. MTI’s weekly Solidarity is well worth checking out, for another view into our schools.
In a departure from their usual procedure, the two sides are first considering all the changes in contract language put forward by Madison Teachers Inc.
This proposal, covering such changes as whether teachers would gain free access to after-school events and intellectual property rights to the curriculums they design for the classroom, was presented Wednesday afternoon to Superintendent Art Rainwater and his staff.
The Fitchburg city council unanimously approved a redevelopment resolution Tuesday night that calls for a possible condemnation of the Ridgewood Apartments, and may use tax increment financing to support improvements.
These are the apartments across the street from Leopold Elementary. The Board is basing much of its claim that the school will remain at a high capacity due to these low income apartments.
There may be several years until these apartments are full again and will the population and price of these apartments affect the population?
On March 28, the Madison School Board will cast the final vote on the proposed referendum for $14.5M to build a second school on the Leopold Elementary School site. The proposed “paired” school will open its doors to students in September of 2007 and will house up to 550 Kindergarten through second grade students and another 550 third through fifth grade students. If the Leopold community’s current population mix holds, a school of 1100 or more will include 275 (25%) students for whom English is a second language and 121 (11%) who have Special Educational needs. Over half of the students will come from low income homes. Unlike other Madison paired schools that are on different sites, Leopold’s buildings will be on the same grounds and will be physically linked in an L-shape. Students from both schools will share lunch rooms and playground facilities. Students will have separate entrances, but will share buses to and from school.
My duty as a board member is to weigh the pros and cons of this recommendation from the administration. Although I see why current Leopold parents expect great positives from the new building, I believe that these are short-term gains for the school and community and that the negatives of creating an extremely large elementary school may outweigh the short-term advantages. I am particularly concerned that the short-term relief for overcrowding will be undermined when the building reaches full capacity and houses two schools, each of which is far bigger than any K-2 or 3-5 school today. It is my responsibility to ask whether we have the experience to make such a joint school work and what additional resources will be required to assure student success under such conditions.
I recently watched the 1987 film, Stand & Deliver; A moving, mostly-true story of famed East L.A. math teacher Jaime Escalante (Edward James Olmos), who finds himself in a classroom of rebellious remedial-math students. He stuns fellow faculty members with his plans to teach AP Calculus. Jerry Jesness dives deep into the story and talks with many of the players. Quite interesting.
MTI Executive Director John Matthews on LaFollette Principal Mike Meissen’s basketball coach selection process.
Aaron Nathans on the local Milken Award.
Barbara Hummel [bhummel at chorus.net]:
Courage to Teach, an important local effort to renew and support educators in Madison and Dane County, is holding a fall dinner fund-raiser Wednesday, October 27 at CUNA Mutual.
Courage to Teach (CTT) is an innovative program that has brought remarkable renewal to public educators in nearly 50 communities across the United States and Canada. Over the past two years, Bonnie Trudell and I have had the privilege of facilitating a local CTT group for 20 educators, thanks to the generous support of CUNA Mutual Group Foundation, the Foundation for Madison Public Schools, and many other businesses and individuals. The teachers who participate make a commitment of $500 themselves, in addition to giving 5 week-ends of their time over the year and a half program.
The impact of CTT on local educators was significant, as documented in the attached excerpt from the final report to CUNA Mutual Group Foundation. Participants reported steady and impressive improvements in all of the following areas:
- Amount of time spent in focused reflection of their teaching practice;
- Quality of connections with students and classroom practices;
- Strength of collegial relationships at their school sites; and
- Commitment to their educational practice.
Needless to say, we’re excited about the promise this holds for sustaining teachers in the essential task of preparing our children to become vibrant, informed future citizens and leaders of our community.
From Education Week an article by Catherine Gewertz
New data from a survey of more than 500 school districts show the average salary of their superintendents has risen by more than 12 percent over the past decade in inflation-adjusted dollars, and that of their high school principals by more than 4 percent, while the average teacher salary declined by nearly 2 percent.
The salary survey of employees in precollegiate public schools also shows that the gap between teachers� and superintendents� salaries grew a bit wider in the same period. In 1993-94, the superintendents were paid on average 2.4 times as much as teachers. By 2003-04, the difference was 2.75 times.
The data come from the National Survey of Salaries and Wages in Public Schools and were released to Education Week this month by Educational Research Service as part of a research partnership.
A strongly substantiated rumor has it the Ed Holmes, the current principal of Wright Middle School, is all but certain to be selected as the next principal of West High School. People who are more informed and more involved at West than I am believe that Mr. Holmes would be a very bad match for West High.
Highly respected East High School biology teacher Paul de Vair, who chairs the school’s National Honor Society Selection Committee, wrote a two-and-a-half page memo to Principal Catherine Tillman on May 7.
It starts, “I am writing this letter to formally protest the debacle involving six honor students who were elected to the National Honor Society by the Selection Committee and who were denied membership on the day of the induction ceremony.”
He goes through the details of “the mess you (Tillman) created,” resigns as chair of the Selection Committee, and concludes in italics, ” Never in my 40 years in education (which includes MTI and WEAC presidencies and terms on the NEA Board of Directors) have I seen a faculty’s spirit and enthusiasm plunge so rapidly as it has in the last 2 years at East High School.”
Mr. du Vair’s memo seems to be a public document, so I assume that I’m not violating any confidences by quoting it. He copied it to President, Board of Education; Superintendent of Schools; NHS Selection Committee; East High School Administration; EHS Faculty and Staff.
Denver is the first major city to approve a salary structure that rewards teachers for the progress of their students, according to this article by Diana Jean Schemo.
As a teacher of emotionally disturbed children, Jeremy Abshire sets goals for each of his students. Geronimo, 14, an American Indian who knew only the letters for “Jerry,” will read and write, and sign his true name. Shaneesa, a meek 12-year-old reading at a first-grade level, will catch up to her middle-school peers and attend regular classes in the fall.
Under a proposal approved by teachers here and to be considered by voters next year, if Mr. Abshire’s students reach the goals he sets, his salary will grow. But if his classroom becomes a mere holding tank, his salary, too, will stagnate.
“The bottom line is, do you reward teachers for just sitting here and sticking it out, or for doing something?” said Mr. Abshire, who has been teaching for four years. “The free market doesn’t handle things that way, so why should it be any different here?”
In March, Denver’s teachers became the first in a major city to approve, by a 59 percent majority, a full-scale overhaul of the salary structure to allow “pay for performance,” a controversial approach that rewards teachers for the progress of their students.
At a time when more and more superintendents are supporting moves away from the traditional salary structure for teachers, and finding their efforts stymied in an atmosphere of suspicion and financial austerity, Denver teachers’ vote is a major breakthrough.