Thursday, August 5, 2010

Good work. No bonus.

North Carolina will release its ABC report on test scores today. Details for all schools (including charters) are now available here.

Based on early results reported by Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Wake and other districts, it's safe to predict statewide gains on many academic measures.

But no matter how good the results are, teachers won't collect any cash. The ABC bonus program rolled out in the 1990s, offering up to $750 for teachers at schools that met state goals for student progress and $1,500 each at schools that exceeded the goals. But for the last two years, it has fallen victim to budget cuts. CMS has cut local bonuses based on test scores, too.

That's a kick in the pants for teachers who have been through another tough year, though many may agree with sacrificing bonuses to save jobs. Making things worse: The state "carrot" may be gone, but the federal "stick" remains.

High-poverty schools that repeatedly fail to meet goals set for the No Child Left Behind act face penalties that include being forced to close or replace staff. Most would agree those penalties haven't been particularly effective in forcing schools to improve. It's pretty clear by now that mandating universal competence by 2014 was a bold vision that won't translate to reality.

The act is overdue for revision; CMS's Peter Gorman and other big-city superintendents were in Washington on Monday talking to lawmakers and federal officials about ways to make it more effective. But until that happens, the byzantine "AYP" rating system keeps lumbering along, dragging a set of labels and penalties with it.

For a primer on understanding the ABCs, NCLB and the charts rating each school, click here.

25 comments:

bigjohn said...

I think you hit the nail on the head in that last bit.... NCLB is based on ratings, labels and penalties. The emphasis really isn't on educating.

Anonymous said...

I feel for the teachers as my wife was before she quit in time...but I do excellent work and I received no bonus...haven't in many years, similar to my colleagues. Only bankers get bonuses these days. Believe it or not, this is today's world.

Anonymous said...

...I'm not so worried about the lack of bonus for my excellent test scores...mainly because I think NCLB is a bunch of bunk... I am worried that Dr. Gorman was in DC discussing how to make NCLB more effective...YIKES! Like he has made CMS more effective with gutting layoffs and dumbed down standards and scab, stand-ins from TFA...

Anonymous said...

If it were the CEO of a corporation and the company didn't make growth, but lost less money than projected the CEO would recieve millions in bonus and be called a success.

Anonymous said...

You can't force schools to improve until you regulate who is allowed to have kids. IT STARTS AT HOME PEOPLE!

Anonymous said...

Replying to Anon at 7:47. I'm no banker and my company increased its bonus by almost 10% last year. My daughter is a teacher and she received a bonus at CMS of almost $1,500.00 this year. It was renamed but she got it.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you got a bonus...I was referring to the national average.

Ann Doss Helms said...

Interesting, 8:51. Is your daughter at one of the schools taking part in the federal "TIF-LEAP" federal performance-pay pilot?

CMS has rolled out so many bonus programs over the years that it's tough to keep track of them, and I know one of the frustrations for teachers is when old bonus programs just disappear. My understanding was TIF-LEAP and strategic staffing were about the only ones still active.

Anonymous said...

The $1,500 that 8:51 is referring to is called the Measures of Effective Teaching Project (MET), which is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. Is was voluntary program which teachers were videotaped and had to analyze the lessons they taught. It only applied to a narrow list of subjects. You can learn more about it here. MET

Anonymous said...

And the MET bonus is $1500 over two years- only $500 last year. Which came out to be around $300 after taxes... And it involved a little extra work for the teachers. It wasn't just handed out.

Ann Doss Helms said...

OK, I think MET must be linked to the ongoing study of how to measure teacher effectiveness; I hadn't realized it included bonuses. Thanks! One thing's for sure: I'll never be in danger of feeling complacent that I know everything about CMS!

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't call the MET money a "bonus", it's more like compensation for participating in research.

Larry said...

Who are we kidding?

Ourselves, just who?

Anonymous said...

It just never ends. They want to run the schools like a business, but, won't allow changing raw materials like manufacturing (students not making the grade don't continue on to waste everyone else's time; teacher's can't pick their students (like they would employees), they have to deal with what they have); don't give bonuses for excellent work (like banks and every sales and most managerial jobs in America); have a forced salary structure (everyone in business has a range, but, most negotiate their salary within that range - new teacher's may start at 28K, but, if effective would be clamoring for more than a $1,000 pay increase per year or would leave for a school that would pay them); don't fire incompetents (see CMS); business are making their business structures more "flat", but, CMS added 7 regional bureaucracies to report to Dr. Gormon and become top heavy. etc., etc., etc.

The one way that it looks like a business is that the Superintendent took a bonus while laying off his employees.

The argument to run schools like businesses sounds great, but, in fact is only happening when it is in the benefit of those leading the bureaucracy.

What a joke!

Anonymous said...

I am actually happy that CMS's scores are looking better. And I can't believe Gorman eeked out a bit of credit in his email to teachers. He mentioned leadership as well.

My hope still remains that he will actually find strong principals and place them in low-performing schools.

Who NEEDS bonuses? Teachers aren't working for a paycheck. We just need a great school culture and administrative support.

Although....a bonus would be nice:).

Anonymous said...

I disagree that we teachers don't work for a check. We do, but certainly we don't do the amount of work we do for that measly check : ) It's sad though, after 5 years of teaching & rave reviews from my students, parents & administrators, I am thinking of hanging it up in teaching. Why? I'm getting nowhere. After 5 years, I am unable to pay off any of the debt ($30K) I had to take on to get my teaching degree. No raises, no bonuses...nothing. I take home about $27K after taxes and that's taking me paycheck to paycheck (my debt alone is almost $400/month minimum payments). It's sad because the good ones leave, time & time again because of this very reason. I would hope pay for performance would help this, but so far, all I see is now all the teachers do is become isolated... why share your fabulous lessons with others, so they can get credit, get a great review & possibly keep their job while you get laid off? This is the environment I see, and frankly, it's not work that crappy paycheck.

Anonymous said...

Ann, the whole "teacher bonus/pay for performance" game has been rigged from the start. For example, NCLB divided students up into dozens of catategories, a child could be in multiple groups at once, and if one category didn't make the "goal", then the school wasn't achieving and presto-chango, no bonus and the possiblilty of sanctions. Familiar with three-card monte? Same principle. Plus, if teachers were paid a "bonus", it was taxed at the highest possible rate. When I worked for CMS. I got a bonus check. After taxes, the $750 bonus was a check for, if memory serves, $344. Granted, nobody goes into teaching for the money, but puh-leeze. The pay-for-performance plans have always been more stick that carrot. The only difference now is that the whole world can see it. That is, if they want to.

Anonymous said...

So how about the state taking some of the stimulus money and paying me my bonus for the last two years. This would certainly stimulate my ecconomy.

Anonymous said...

My EC child (Acronym for "Exceptional Children") who has a well documented form of dyslexia received a shiny blue DUKE TIP ribbon for TD "Talent Development" gifted students! My child also qualified for CMS to test him/her for TD services which we declined since the TD program in CMS is a joke with 3 times as many students in it than the national average. I swear I'm not making this up. Also, as I learned, some schools "prep" students to take the TD test in an effort to get more children into the program so they can brag about how many TD children they have at their school in an effort to attract brighter students and, thus, higher test scores. A school also gets to hire more TD teachers this way and mommies get to feel so much better about themselves. I don't know how the new & improved gifted portfolio system works. IQ has nothing to do with being crowned "gifted".

My other child who passed CMS's TD "gifted" test is above average according to his ACT and SAT scores but hardly gifted enough to make it into the same Ivy League halls with students at Harvard, Yale or Princeton let alone lower ranked schools including Georgetown or Amherst. (yes, that was a deliberate slight at the snot-head New Yorker at Amherst College with an ugly nose job who made a derogatory comment about my enrollment at a nearby state univ. Hope you're on your 3rd husband, bless your heart).

I guess you could label my children "Exceptionally Gifted" (EG) with "Special Talent Development" (STD) needs who don't qualify for FRL but have a MAM (Middle-Aged Mother) who occasionally has PMS (Postal Menopausal Syndrome).

I'm so grateful we are now at a school that doesn't label either of my children. "I had a dream..."

The consequences of NCLB unintentionally places schools into winner and loser categories which common sense would suggests leads to bright flight.

I always learn something new here. MET, never heard of it.

Anonymous said...

TIF-LEAP will be the biggest joke of the year. Just wait 'til the data and the dollars are released. At least with ABC & NCLB the tests are standard measures of academic achievement- this new program allows teachers to set their own goals. The goals can be as simple as matching shapes and colors, doing push-ups, or making a powerpoint. Even a bigger joke is that the goals have to be "approved" by a prinicpal that sits in an office with no clue what happens in a classroom. Oh, and asst. principals and principals can get a bonus too (if they approve themselves for it!) Hahahahahahahaaaaaa!

Anonymous said...

NO BONUS FOR HAZARDOUS DUTY!

Decorate our teachers with ribbons like our military warriors. At least when a parent walked into a classroom for the first time she'd know from all the medals and ribbons whether the teacher is a veteran.

You can't call it a bonus but you can call it respect.

Anonymous said...

Thank you 2:06 pm. People demand quality education, but do not want to pay the teachers. We do not get any choice in what or who we teach. If a teacher is "displaced" he/she does not get a choice as to where he goes for the following year. Look up teachers' salaries and compare them to the business world. See if anyone has been in the business world for 10-20 years with a master's degree making $40-50, 000...We are not paid in the summer, and a majority of teachers have second jobs. What a kick in the face. NCLB is a crock of crap. If a student is a minority, gets free lunch, speaks another language, and is labeled EC, he hits the chart 5 (yes, 5) times. Everything wrong with the world is not the teachers' fault. I invite everyone reading this post to walk in my shoes for a while...

Anonymous said...

Am glad you hit on TIF LEAP. This should be examined, it's a huge joke as far as making the goals... but very hard to enter the data correctly and there are lots of ways to miss out. It's a set up. So glad to have finally walked away and to be away from the madness... Look at the admin of these schools in crisis and the lack of support and safety for the classroom teacher. Ask teachers who have left why they really left... And Dr. Gorman thinks he can staff whole schools with TFA who have no plans to be career teachers??? Good luck with that. Smoke and mirrors.

Anonymous said...

Teachers please read "Peace in the midst of Mess." A CMS teacher wrote his experiences here. He has some excelelnt insight into NCLB, AYP, administrators and the teaching profession today. You will enjoy

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