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Monday, October 12, 2009

Reminders

[Update: There is also a SAP Boundaries meeting tonight at McClure Middle School , 1915 1st Avenue West from 6:30-8:30 p.m.]


Tonight there is a candidate forum with mayoral, City Council, City Attorney and School Board Candidates.

Eckstein Middle School
3003 NE 75th Street
7-9:00 p.m.

7:00 – 8:00 City Council, City Attorney, Mayoral Candidates — Moderated, timed, questions and brief answers, 2.5 – 3.00 minute closing statements.

8:00 – 9:00 City of Seattle School Board Candidates — Moderated, timed, questions and brief answers. Answers to written questions from the audience.

Clearly, a longer time for School Board Candidates so it should be interesting to see what they might get asked since the new boundaries for the SAP have come out.

Also, on Wednesday, the 14th, the National Council on Teacher Quality is issuing a report titled, "Human Capital in SPS: Rethinking How to Attract, Develop, and Retain Teachers."

I was invited to come to the media portion of this release so I will be attending that in the afternoon.

In the evening there is a community forum.
Seattle University Campus - Campion Tower Ballroom
914 E. Jefferson Street
6:30- 8 p.m. (doors open at 5:30)

Speakers will be Kate Walsh, President of NCTQ, Patrick D'Amelio, President and CEO of the Alliance for Education as well as reps from SPS and SEA.

I cannot attend the evening session as I am going to the Ballard SAP boundaries meeting. If you go, please let us know about it.

12 comments:

Moose said...
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Moose said...

There is also a SAP meeting (community feedback) tonight at McClure MS.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Ack! Thanks Moose, I'll update the thread.

wseadawg said...

Hmmm... Let me guess: It will say the state isn't doing enough to retain its bright young teachers (hint, hint). It will say performance based pay works wonders (ignoring its destructive effect in collaboration), and it will say, or imply, that alternative routes to certification should be explored (vs. Education Colleges - The Great Evil Empires where teachers come from).

I love the Soilent-Green like phrase "human capital" by the way.

Roy Smith said...

It will say performance based pay works wonders (ignoring its destructive effect in collaboration)

What effect is that?

Many (most? - thought I'm not including the banking sector here) private businesses do just fine combining performance-based pay with a workplace that promotes effective collaboration.

Mark Swardstrom said...
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MathTeacher42 said...

I wonder if this vaunted report will have ONE idea which is costed out in the time it takes to implement, AND, then has cost estimates attached with those time estimates ...

yawn.

Maybe all these big credentialed big degreed big shots could do something useful, like make things run better? BUT, since this America, it is really un-American for consultants and senior managements to be accountable, so I might as well forget that pipe dream!

To make your ideas useful, either pay for the ideas, OR, print them on Kleenex.

R. Murphy
a citizen with first hand knowledge, NOT representing or speaking for any union, school, district ... unless someone lies!

Josh Hayes said...

Roy sez:

"Many (most? - thought I'm not including the banking sector here) private businesses do just fine combining performance-based pay with a workplace that promotes effective collaboration."

Gee, Roy, I think you SHOULD include the banking sector here: it's a wonderful example.

Second, however, any useful "performance-based" scale has to have, perforce, a method to measure performance. Given the structural inequities of the school system in particular, and society in general, there is no such thing. Moreover, there can be no such thing. The work required to provide a fair and equitable appraisal of a teacher's "performance" is beyond the capabilities of the SPS, and even if lip service is paid to doing a thorough, balanced job of it, we all know they'll bail out to some simple, easy, completely back-assward assessment scale (like, e.g. how did their kids do on the WASL?).

The public schools are not, as you say, private businesses. The assumption that what works in one venue must necessarily work in the other is demonstrably false. I'm surprised this needs pointing out.

sixwrens said...

It seems like some type of performance pay should be okay, though the key is how performance is measured. It's important to take into account differences in populations served.

Sometimes people can become demoralized without recognition that can come in the form of performance pay, especially if there is promotion on the basis of seniority. I am sure many understand that there are some among them deserving of extra recognition. To stereotype, teachers seem to be less susceptible to this type of demoralization (as most seem to have a "calling" to the field)... but I doubt that they are immune.

One way to do this would be to solicit the feedback of both parents and colleagues (surveys, online even), include information describing additional training, and combine this information with some sort of *adjusted* performance measure that counts for maybe 0.25 of the overall score.

Performance should determine pay above some minimum. I think we could view this as a way to raise salaries. I would oppose any move to lower the range on salaries in conjunction with a performance pay system.

owlhouse said...

"Sometimes people can become demoralized without recognition that can come in the form of performance pay, ..."

In general, I'd say this is not the case w/ teachers, who enter the field knowing it is low paying and does not have mechanisms for merit pay. In my experience, teachers are more likely to become demoralized when their profession belittled. When their professional experience is devalued and they are expected to deliver packaged curriculum aimed at tests they know don't serve their students. When they are faulted for "low performing" students who in fact are products of a society struggling with a lifetime of historical injustices. When they are assumed to be giving less than they might if a system of ranking and bonuses was in place. When they learn that administration is taking a larger and larger portion of the budget while their class sizes grow and libraries shrink.

There are many conversations on the possibilities of merit pay in education. The latest versions make some qualification for differences in student population. I'm skeptical. I'm especially skeptical of the work of NCTQ as they are not neutral and stand to gain with the union-busting, "no excuses", standardization tactics of the modern "reformers".

West Seattle said...
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Roy Smith said...

Gee, Roy, I think you SHOULD include the banking sector here: it's a wonderful example.

Not really. The banking sector wouldn't even exist right now if it weren't for government intervention. Many successful organizations performance pay and a collaborative work environment just fine. Banks worshipped at the altar of unbridled competition and an every-man-for-himself ethic, and they destroyed themselves as a result.

Second, however, any useful "performance-based" scale has to have, perforce, a method to measure performance. Given the structural inequities of the school system in particular, and society in general, there is no such thing. Moreover, there can be no such thing.

It would have to be a system based on subjective evaluations, and that uses some kind of (again, subjective) process to compare those evaluations to each other and to make decisions about who gets pay increases and who doesn't.

The U.S. military (another big unwieldy bureaucracy) uses exactly this sort of system to determine who gets promotions, and it is generally seen as fair. Arguably, it would be hard to do in SPS as teachers generally don't seem to trust management, and some (at least a vocal minority) don't even trust their principals to be fair and not play favorites. To me, this points at some deeper problems than what sort of pay system is used.

The work required to provide a fair and equitable appraisal of a teacher's "performance" is beyond the capabilities of the SPS, and even if lip service is paid to doing a thorough, balanced job of it, we all know they'll bail out to some simple, easy, completely back-assward assessment scale (like, e.g. how did their kids do on the WASL?).

Given what we know of SPS, this is a fairly reasonable argument. But saying that SPS is incompetent to implement a concept is not the same thing as saying that the concept is flawed.

And this is all something of a distraction from my original point. That point is that performance based pay and the fostering of a collaborative work environment are in no way mutually exclusive. There are some reasonable arguments against using performance based pay in schools (at least until competent management for school districts can be found), but that it has some "destructive effect on collaboration" is not one of them.