Wednesday, June 03, 2009

2009-06-3 Education Round Up

Charter schools are only mostly dead: Nice to see that Obama's administration isn't too busy running corporate America to have the Secretary of Education Arne Duncan call into Tennessee. According to the City Paper:

Education Secretary Arne Duncan singled out Tennessee last week in an interview with the Associated Press. Duncan said states that don’t provide more school choice could be missing out on $100 million or more in federal stimulus funds.

Since that time, Duncan has had multiple conversations with House leadership including caucus chairman Rep. Mike Turner.
Caucus sources said last week they took issue with the fact that Rep. Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) was the lead sponsor for the legislation.

Oh, for pity's sake. Put your big boy pants on Dems and put the children first. Quit kowtowing to the TEA (Tennessee Education Association). Their fear that because some 70% of MNPS students might qualify for charter schools means they'll be held accountable, lose members and lose their standing as a bargaining agent is very real, but they've had their chance. It's time for a new way.

Irony all over HR0087 sponsored by Rep. John DeBerry (D-Memphis) and passed unanimously by the House:
WHEREAS, parental choice and involvement are crucial to excellence in education; and
WHEREAS, denial of the basic right of parents to choose the manner in which their children are educated goes against the ideals of individual liberty and freedom; and
...well, except if they want their child in a charter school (or their homeschooled child to be a police officer). It's OK to tell Germany how to run their education choices but here in America we let the teacher's union do it.

It will be the death of MNPS. Over and over again programs that parents say are working are eliminated. Here the Tennessean reports on the Ombudsman program and parental pleas to keep it going.

5% is a start: I've long been an advocate for paying teachers based on their performance and market forces. I'm happy to see this in a recent WZTV report:
"As an added incentive to get the best educators, Metro schools are offering a 5% pay increase for teachers at the five fresh start schools."

"Why Would Thomas Jefferson Love Napster?" This seemed an interesting link for Nashville.
"Not pleased with the copyright curricula generated by Big Content, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has produced classroom materials of its own. Not surprisingly, fair use, the public domain, and artists who love P2P file-sharing of their music all make appearances."


N.S. Allen said...

How in the world is the 5% pay increase "performance pay" or pay "based on market forces?"

The way the article makes it sound, the school system is providing increased pay not for teachers' performance but for their work at specific schools. Indeed, this doesn't even seem to be restricted to those teachers that the article says have been recruited for their past performance.

Unless the plan is being described very poorly, that's just not pay being set by market forces. It's a government agency intervening in the (already less than free) market for teachers in order to fulfill a pressing, public need. Sure, economic self-interest on the teachers' part will make the plan effective, but the incentive itself will be a product of public planning.

Which isn't to say that that it's a bad idea. On the contrary, it's a great one. But it's government control working well, not market forces magically making everything better.

din819go said...

N S Allen -- I agree with your question. Performance pay is paying someone for their degree, experience, success, abilities, leadership, etc. Giving a 5% raise across the board to entice teachers to come to specific schools is not performance pay.

Until we see teachers getting paid for their training, degrees and most importantly effectiveness in the classromm we will not have performance based pay in education. Educators are chicken when it comes to paying teachers with different skills, experiences and effectiveness varying amounts of money.

However, if they did use a differientiated pay scale wouldn't they run the risk of attracting a better trained, more qualified, more effective group of teachers to the system who know they will be paid for what they bring to the district? Will some please tell me what is wrong with this?

The real world (which education is anything but) uses pay for performance to attract first rate associates to their businesses. It is where you see unions that are fearful of those smarter, stronger in abilities and effectiveness where you see stronger workers repressed and weaker workers retained.

Don't get me wrong, MNPS has several teachers that deserve to be paid based on their abilities. They have many other that need to be fired due to the lack of them. Let's change the pay system to attract more top notch teachers.

Kay, you used the term "the death of MNPS". Maybe it is time for MNPS to be torn down completely and rebuilt. If only those tests scores would hurry up and be reported...however, I bet they increased and the district made safe harbor. If correct, it will be another two years before the district will be taken over...if in fact the cut scores under the diploma project are in fact raised. I fear those standards will be weaker than what we have now...

Kay Brooks said...

It's based on market forces because the 5% is provided to teachers willing to move to these 'fresh started' schools. They need teachers. Teachers need money. If we give you more money will you move to a 'fresh start' school? Ball's in their court. I suspect they won't have any trouble obtaining the teachers they need.

The standards are regularly going down. They cover that by changing the test/rules/report so they always have the convenient excuse that we're comparing apples and oranges.

They dress the window with requiring Algebra II and Chemistry but that won't change the bottom line. We've got to ensure the vast majority of our students are solid on the basics before bragging about how our student are required to take higher level courses. Requiring them and passing them are two different things...apples and oranges--again.