Thursday, December 10, 2009

She's Giving the Bonus to Charity

From the Seattle Times, the Superintendent is donating her bonus to charity. From the article:

"The School Board approved the bonus Wednesday by a vote of 5-0, with the two newly elected members, Betty Patu and Kay Smith-Blum, abstaining."

And that follows what you might expect.


"School Board President Michael DeBell said he hopes the incentive bonus eventually will be the main way superintendents can increase their pay."

Interesting. Is he saying instead of a raise, you show progress/success and get better paid through bonuses?


ParentofThree said...

"School Board President Michael DeBell said he hopes the incentive bonus eventually will be the main way superintendents can increase their pay."

Increase pay to what amount, she makes more than the gov and VP of the USA for gripes sake.

Didn't he mean to say, "the main way teachers can increase their pay."

But can't since their contract forbids merit pay.

Unknown said...

Not hard for MGJ to believe in merit pay when she makes $250,000. MGJ is getting extra pay for the hard work of the SPS teachers. Schools are not businesses, teachers are not factory workers, students are not products. There is NO, none, evidence that merit pay increases student achievement.

Lori said...

"Goals, without accountability for achieving them, is not enough," board member Steve Sundquist said.

Hmmmm.... goals is not enough? Is our children learning? Who got this wrong - our board member or the reporter/editor at the Times?

Sorry, but the irony of such a blatant grammatical error in a story about how we met only 4 of 20 academic goals for our schools this year was too much for me to pass up. :-)

Renee said...

I wish I would get bonus pay for getting 20% and missing 80% of my goals. Also, she makes $262,000 - she got a 10% raise a year or so ago. This is just another slap in the face for teachers. How about to balance the budget, we cut money from her salary AND from the Broad Foundation Resident? We could hire a teacher or two for that. And I agree - the business model version of a school is frustrating. I think merit pay can work for people who choose to work at high-needs schools, and I think that it can work for things besides just test scores (I wish the good teachers could somehow get paid more for what they do compared to the bad teachers - we all know who they are, but I know that it probably won't happen - BUT this has NOTHING to do with MGJ's insane salary)

John said...

So if she wasn't offered incentive bonuses ... what? She wouldn't work as hard? She would just let some things slide? Love her or hate her, I really don't think that's the case, so why bother with the bonuses at all? The whole idea seems inappropriate from the very beginning.

gavroche said...

Which "charity" did she choose?

They say 'charity begins at home,' so what better place to start than Seattle's public schools?

She should give the money right back to our kids' schools.

gavroche said...

By the way, "merit pay" doesn't work.


Study: Texas' teacher merit pay program hasn't boosted student performance
09:28 AM CST on Wednesday, November 4, 2009
By TERRENCE STUTZ / The Dallas Morning News

AUSTIN – For the $300 million spent on merit pay for teachers over the last three years, Texas was hoping for a big boost in student achievement.

But it didn't happen with the now-defunct program, according to experts hired by the state.

The Texas Educator Excellence Grant, or TEEG, plan did not produce the academic improvements that proponents – including Gov. Rick Perry – hoped for when the program was launched with much fanfare in 2006, a new report from the National Center on Performance Incentives said.

"There is no systematic evidence that TEEG had an impact on student achievement gains," said researchers for Texas A&M University, Vanderbilt University and the University of Missouri.

The study focused on flaws in the way the program was designed and did not conclude whether merit pay for teachers in general is a good idea. A spokeswoman for Perry, who established a pilot merit pay program four years ago that grew into the TEEG program, said the governor still endorses the concept of performance-based pay.

"The governor supports incentivizing our best teachers through merit pay and he worked with the Legislature to consolidate these programs into one with an increase in total funding," said Allison Castle, a Perry spokeswoman.

The researchers examined reading scores on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills for more than 140,000 students at schools participating in the program.

The TEEG plan, which provided incentive pay for teachers at about 1,000 campuses a year in lower-income neighborhoods, was discontinued by the Legislature after the 2008-09 school year because of design problems.

Until the national center report, however, there had been no analysis of whether the merit pay plan was working to improve student achievement – as shown by TAKS scores.

Lori Taylor of Texas A&M, one of the authors of the study, said one possible cause of the program's failure was that bonuses were relatively small and were given to most teachers at each school – about 70 percent – so that the incentive for individual teachers to push for higher scores was "relatively weak."

In addition, campuses that qualified already had to be higher performers, so it was difficult to register much improvement. "There were no significant declines at the schools, but there were no significant improvements, either," Taylor said.

The researchers also found little impact on another aim of the program: reducing teacher turnover.

Researchers note that in the first year of the program, teachers who received larger-than-average bonuses were less likely to leave their school. But most teachers received payments that were far less than what the state recommended.

While the Texas Education Agency recommended a minimum bonus of $3,000 and a maximum bonus of $10,000 for top teachers, school districts paid an average of $1,982 the first year of the program and $2,094 the second.

That indicates school districts decided to spread the money around rather than give it to a smaller, select group of teachers.

"We're not surprised by the findings," said Richard Kouri of the Texas State Teachers Association. "We predicted the program would be a flop, and that's what it turned out to be."

Still, he added, it put extra money in some teachers' pockets, so it wasn't all bad.

(cont'd on next post)

gavroche said...

(cont'd from previous post):

Although lawmakers discontinued TEEG, they provided nearly $200 million a year for another merit pay plan that began last year – the District Awards for Teacher Excellence, or DATE. Several North Texas districts, including Dallas, are participating in what is one of the largest merit pay plans in the nation.

In all, about one in five districts in the state signed up for the program and has distributed the first bonuses – based on 2009 TAKS scores and other factors – to qualifying teachers this fall. More than 800 districts skipped the plan last year, but some are opting in this year.

Skeptical teachers

But teacher groups remain skeptical of the new plan, particularly its heavy reliance on student test scores – also a key feature of the TEEG plan.

"The problem is that these tests aren't designed for this purpose," said Jennifer Canaday of the Association of Texas Professional Educators. "You can't take a snapshot of students' performance on one day and extrapolate from that whether their teacher is highly effective over the entire school year."

One of the biggest problems in the TEEG plan was the stringent eligibility criteria, which caused significant turnover among participating schools from year to year. And that, researchers say, severely handicapped the program.

"The volatile participation rates was one of the biggest problems as large numbers of schools were in one year and out the next mainly because of the eligibility criteria," Taylor said.

Taylor said the new DATE plan will avoid the pitfalls that plagued its predecessor because eligibility guidelines are not as rigid and districts have more discretion in using the funding.


Under the DATE plan, at least 60 percent of the funds must be used for bonuses based on student performance. Remaining funds can be used as stipends for teachers at hard-to-staff schools or in high-demand subjects such as math and science. Stipends can also be paid to teacher mentors and for professional development.

In addition to the Dallas school district, which is getting $10.5 million a year in DATE funds, a dozen other area districts also are participating. Among them are Garland, Irving, Mesquite, Plano and Richardson.

Charlie Mas said...

Maybe she should donate it to the State of Washington. They're tapped out.