Monday, January 15, 2007

Teacher Bonus Plan is an unwarranted attack?

Well isn't this just great.

Florida came up with a plan to reward the top 25% of the teachers in it's state. (View the plan here).

But, instead of embracing a chance to reward and recognize those teachers that are most effective, the teacher's union in Florida want's to drag them down.

School boards have until March 1, 2007, to submit their plans, or lose out on the money.

The Palm Beach County School District created a plan, and announced it with this motivating comment from teacher leader Theo Harris:

"There's no way we can place our stamp of approval on this process," said union President Theo Harris. "It was something we were forced to do. We did what was required."

Sun-Sentinel: Palm Beach County teachers, district agree on bonus pay (12/20/06)

The plan "proposes 5 percent bonuses based on student learning gains on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, other tests and annual job evaluations."

"In October, Hillsborough County became the first to have a merit pay plan approved by the state Board of Education."

Broward School Board apparently approved a plan, but "agreed that the (state's) performance plan was flawed but did not want to risk losing the district's $15 million share."

This is nearly $150 million in additional money for teachers, and these guys are all huffing and puffing! Why? Because it's not equal for all. They seem to feel everyone should get more, whether you're good, bad, or just average.

In December 2006 the Florida Education Association filed a lawsuit to challenge the bonus program, and on January 12, 2007, the Miami-Dade teacher's union, filed a lawsuit to halt the plan.

CNN / AP: Teachers union challenges Florida's pioneering bonus-pay plan (01/15/07)

Their press release is here.

The most absurd statement to come from the union was this comment about the STAR bonus plan, which they say is "forced upon the Miami-Dade School officials by the State Department of Education":

"It is just another example of the continuing unwarranted attack on dedicated teachers and on public education."

Offering a bonus is now an "unwarranted attack"?

They also described it as a "misguided attempt", "this latest gimmick hatched by some Tallahassee politicians", and an "ill conceived tactic".

I don't think any of this does much to serve their self-described goal of "fostering... professional status for teachers".

The union had one legitimate concern, which is that some teachers are not eligable for the bonus, such as special education teachers. The union should've celebrated the opportunity to reward outstanding teachers now, but kept lobbying for change to the law to make it more inclusive.

But no, it seems they just want more money, no strings, expectations, or other "meddling" allowed.

I wonder if we'll see picketing soon, with "No Bonus for Me!" placards.

==> Mike.


Anonymous said...

I am so sick of teachers wanting more, more, more. They already get paid well for working 2/3 of the year. This sounds like another stupid move to prop up education. What we need is competition. If teachers are good, they get raises. If they are bad.... ta da... they actually get fired. What a thought.

Anonymous said...

I'm tired of the folks who overexagerate teacher pay and understate the days/hours that teachers work. 2/3 of a year? I don't think so!

As for firing bad teachers? Why not look into the tenure law. In most States, teachers have 2-3 years to prove they are good and if they can't, they are fired. Get your facts straight, folks.

Anonymous said...

Just the facts:

1. I am a teacher who leaves school around 6:00 p.m. nightly. There are others who leave after me.

2. I arrive at work around 7:15 a.m. daily. Others begin at 6:00 a.m.

3. I have calculated that last week I was at work an extra 25 hours, without pay.

4. I have 4 Special Education children in my class.

5. I have 3 children who do not speak English.

6. I have 11 boys.

7. I have 9 girls.

8. I must take 300 hours of non-paid, after school classes of sensitivity training for children who speak other languages. Then, I will pay $50 to add this to my certificate.

9. Lunch - 30 minutes. Spend 15 of those minutes helping people get lunch.

10. Planning Time - 3:00 - 6:00

11. Rest Time - Not!

12. I teach Kindergarten