Sunday, March 11, 2007

Governor's Business Council Supports Pay for Performance for Teachers

If you live in Texas, no doubt you have heard a new commercial aired on televisions. It’s a rather suspicious ad that starts out with “Experts are now calling the high school dropout rate in Texas a crisis . . .“ It announces the fact that Texas legislators “now considering a bill that will give Texas teachers the training incentives and tools to keep our kids in schools”. If finishes by urging viewers to “Take a stand” and to contact “Texans for Excellence in Classrooms”.

I’ll bite. What bill are we talking about?

So I went to the website and looked around. No bill mentioned. But the group seems to be behind a report called Excellence in the Classroom authored by “The Governor’s Business Council”.

So I started reading the report and came to a halt on the 3rd paragraph . . . uh oh. “Pay for performance and differentiated pay for teachers will now be utilized more in Texas than in any other state.”

So I browsed through their research and reports and got angrier and angrier. They decried the fact that fewer and fewer college graduates are electing to go into education, and proposed raising the starting salaries of new teachers. Where do they get the money to do this? Do away with the old salary schedules, and stop paying teachers based on their years of experience and level of education. Their studies show that while new teachers are not effective, they undergo about 5 years of continuous improvement. After 5 years they level off, and toward retirement, even decline in effectiveness. So they want a system in place that rewards highly effective teachers and punishes ineffective teachers.

The reports liken the current pay schedules to that of pay schedules from union negotiations. And we all know that unions are bad.

So what we are going to have thrust down our throats is pay for performance, and that performance will be based on, you guessed it, student achievement on standardized tests.

Pay for performance works well in the private sector. I’ve been there, I know. But these people have spent zero time in the public sector where it’s just different.

Guaranteed, all this will do is drive effective teachers to other states or into other lines of work.


Van said...

So if you are a walking idiot and/or coach and are assigned bright students, you get the better pay. If you are a good teacher but are assigned students who have resisting learning and imitating rocks down to a fine art, it's just tough shucks, huh? Well, when we quit electing our educational failures, maybe Texas legislators will begin to get some respect for educators and actually consider them as professionals. They consider nail technicians professionals, but not teachers. Isn't that sad? Isn't that pathetic?

aed said...

Ah, I am so glad I found someone evaluating this piece of information! We got a very glossy, pretty brochure in the mail about this and my antennae immediately went up. I have been trying to look up information about this group Texans for Excellence in the Classroom and haven't had much success. I wonder if they are connected to the movement to try and expand the charter schools in Texas? They scare me when they do not list who they are made up of and give some basic information as to their political slant (which we all know is going to be very pro-business, pro-Republican)! Thanks for your input!

Hal said...

And upon reflection, the TV ads, yes there are more than one, are in reference to HB 1, but also the Shapiro/Eissler bills. They're connected.