Thursday, August 10, 2006

A bold step?

1,162 public schools in Texas, 68 in Dallas alone, are getting rewarded for their efforts and we have 2 schools in Nashville in line for this MNPS pilot performance pay plan. Two in Nashville. This is a "bold step" and shows we're "eager to reward" according to Schools Director Pedro Garica.

From: Brown, Olivia H (MNPS) []
Sent: Thursday, August 10, 2006 4:07 PM
Subject: New diversified pay plan will begin in two Metro public schools

Press Release

Contact: Woody McMillin

Public Information Director

New diversified pay plan will begin in two Metro public schools

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Aug. 10, 2006) - Two Metro public elementary schools will be the first in the district to implement a diversified pay plan to reward staff members for exceptional student achievement.

Under an agreement reached yesterday, the teachers at Inglewood and Alex Green elementary schools will receive bonus pay-for-performance if student achievement at the conclusion of the 2006-07 school year exceeds pre-set benchmarks. In addition, all school support personnel such as secretaries, educational aides and custodians will be eligible for bonuses for their efforts in raising student performance above the benchmarks.

The new plan will place Metro public schools in step with a national trend to recognize exceptional teachers and staff members for exceptional work.

"This bold step shows the community we are eager to reward those who do great work in our schools," said Metro Schools Director Pedro Garcia. " [emphasis added]It shows we are open to new ideas and new ways of doing the most important business of educating our children."

The diversified pay plan at the two schools will serve as a three-year pilot study, with salary bonuses funded through private donations and grants to the district. Details of the pay plan will be finalized no later than Sept. 26 by a cooperative task force of district officials and members of the Metro Nashville Education Association, which agreed to the pilot plan in a contract negotiations session last night.

"The Metro Nashville Board of Education and the MNEA entered into a new today together to embrace a collaborative diversified pay plan," said School Board member Marsha Warden, who served as negotiations liaison for the Board. "Working on faith, both groups agreed this is important step and that a task group would be appointed to work out the details for this school year. Our efforts will dovetail with trends across the country to develop incentive plans that model the business-world application of bonuses and incentives."

In step with a national trend? Dovetail with trends? We're going get trampled if we don't catch up fast. Actually, it's our children that will get run over. Pick up the pace folks. These children don't have much time.


jim collins said...

you don't really believe in a "quick fix",do you Kay.It is without a doubt a slow,long term process,that has to begin with a better foundation in the early years.We can point fingers and wring our hands over what has,or hasn't happened in the past,or we can take the proper steps to ensure a better program for our children,and hence our societies future,NO MATTER THE COST!

Kay Brooks said...

Well, I'm not a believer in "no matter what the cost". I don't think the MNEA is either--otherwise they'd have loosened their grip on the process already.

My biggest concern is not the elementary kids--it's the wobbly foundation too many of our high schoolers already have. What are we going to do to shore up their educational foundations?

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Brooks- Maybe as a board member, you can answer a question for me. Why, when the mayor says he will (and did I guess) fully fund the budget, and the board made efforts to keep from cutting staffs- did the staffing formula for schools change. In high school, the formula used to be 1 teacher per 20.8 students and this year is 1 for every 21.3 students (although please be aware, these are not actual class sizes, which are significantly higher.) Elementary school teachers are also reporting that positions have been cut, so obviously that formula has been adjusted as well. If the budget was fully funded, and teachers are being cut (and class sizes rising) where did this money go? And why wasn't this explained to the public? I don't mean this as an attack at all. I thought you might be in a position to help me understand this better.

Kay Brooks said...

This wasn't something the board voted on while I was on it so I've asked the board secretary and the Chair (Pam Garrett) for an explanation.

I guess I'll have to post the response here since you didn't leave any contact information.

Anonymous said...

For starters, $486,000 went to fund the new vocabulary program that's being implemented at all schools, even the magnets that are producing exemplary test scores already. That's about 5 teachers worth right there.

Anonymous said...

the wobbly foundation too many of our high schoolers already have. What are we going to do to shore up their educational foundations?

1. Make "the test" harder.
2. Lower class size so each child can get more attention from his or her teacher
3. Make sure they read. Have them spend extra hours in tutoring where the main thing that they do is read aloud and stop to reflect on what they've read. Too many of them are not reading at home and it is just not something a teacher can adequately (in terms of time for each student)have them do exclusively in class with middle and high school class sizes at 25-35. We have to see to it that they actually read what is assigned.

Anonymous said...

And the vocabulary program is essentially a bunch of preformatted pages for them to write words the teacher gives them, explain, in their words, what the word means, and then space to have them draw a picture to help them remember the word- which is an okay way to do vocabulary, and kids without reading going on much need this foundation to catch up to their peers- but it can easily be done on paper. As part of the package, they get a ring binder notebook to put it in. And- my favorite part- even for this huge sum, no vocabulary lists: Metro educators had to get together to come up with the word lists.

So, an extra half a kid but cool vocabulary paper and a binder.