Thursday, September 29, 2011

More about money and motivation

Some readers of today's story about the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools "talent effectiveness project" are skeptical of the notion that money doesn't motivate teachers to do better work.

I admit my eyebrows raised during Tuesday night's board meeting,  when Chief Human Resource Officer Daniel Habrat told the board it's not only ineffective but insulting to tell teachers,  "Here's a dollar;  do a better job."   Habrat came to CMS in March from Wells Fargo/Wachovia,  an industry known for offering quite a few dollars in performance bonuses.  I've never heard that bankers are insulted by that.

The next day,  I asked Habrat to elaborate.  Top performers,  in banking or any other business,  want to excel,  he said.  It's not that the best bankers would slack off without the bonus,  but that the competition could lure them away if pay and bonuses weren't competitive.

The market for teachers,  of course,  is different. Public schools employ the vast majority,  and the pay scale is set mostly by the state  (which has failed to provide experience-based raises or test-score-based bonuses for the last three years).  Mecklenburg County taxpayers provide a supplement to help CMS compete with other N.C.  districts.  Interim Superintendent Hugh Hattabaugh said CMS used to offer the  state's top wages;  now,  he said,  it has fallen to fourth or fifth.

But Habrat said the long-term concern is the good teachers who work four or five years,  hit their stride,  then switch careers to better support a family.  CMS needs to figure out where those teachers are going and what kind of pay it would take to get top performers to enter and stick with teaching.

Of course,  finding the money remains a challenge.  The CMS timeline calls for the superintendent and top central-office staff to start getting part of their pay based on performance this school year,  with school administrators joining them next year.  Habrat said Tuesday that won't happen because the money isn't there.  Instead,  he said,  administrators will have performance-based goals that will be used to help them improve.  By 2013-14,  when teachers are slated to go online with performance pay,  officials would love to have consensus around standards and money to back it up.  But nothing's certain about that.

On Wednesday,  Hattabaugh told reporters he envisions teacher performance pay working much like principal pay:  If there's a 3 percent raise pool,  that doesn't mean everyone gets 3 percent.  A low performer might get nothing that year,  while a principal who meets all goals could get more  (lately, of course, that raise pool has dried up, too).

But,  as Hattabaugh quickly noted,  his gig as superintendent ends this summer.  It'll be up to the new leader to chart the path.


Wiley Coyote said...

So to translate, CMS as usual, is putting the cart before the horse and spending money it does not have in place.

Give Hattabaughi a million dollars and a plane ticket to Vegas.

He'll have much better odds of getting funding there.

therestofthestory said...

N,o the teachers work to clear out student obligations to the state and then move on to other counties and private schools where teachers are respected and recognized as the front line employees.

Anonymous said...

Ann, Can you please post the raises that some Principals received this year. It is my understanding that some got them. If this is a fact, how can the powers to be justify raises when others were being laid off and the rest of the teachers have had their salaries frozen for the past three years. Something is just not right about this,

Larry said...

Maybe the community and the big businesses can come up with some ideas like they seem to have with the DNC.

All Ideas are welcome and we invite you to present them at the Website

Maybe a couple of big Banks the like will come up with money for car repairs, low cost loans, home repairs and the like.

Anything that might help us all retain and help those who do the most for our future and every day.

What are your ideas.

Anonymous said...

Bottom line folks is that it is less about the money folks. There are 9,060,000 articles in a google search that provide research data on this. Why do these blowhard educrats not simply read some of this easily accessible stuff out there.

Wiley Coyote said...

Anon 3:56...

..because to become an educrat, reading is not required?

Ann Doss Helms said...

Checking, 3:51. My off-the-cuff guess would be some got raises if they moved to a higher-level school and/or if the scope of their school changed (such as an elementary that became preK-8). But I am not sure and will post an answer when I get it.

Ann Doss Helms said...

Now that I think of it, I believe principals who were added to the strategic staffing plan got 10 percent raises as part of that program. But again, I'll try to get a real answer and quit guessing :-)

Wiley Coyote said...

...they did last year...

The Strategic Staffing Initiative provides a mix of financial and hiring incentives for principals and the staff they bring with them to the new assignment. The principals will make a three-year commitment to their new schools, and will receive a 10 percent merit pay supplement (also factored into retirement) and an ABC bonus if their school shows high growth in the second year.

Wiley Coyote said...

Six-figure salaries thinning at CMS

In an era of layoffs, new payroll data show that highest-paid employees have taken significant hit.

By Ann Doss Helms
By Ann Doss Helms
Posted: Sunday, Apr. 24, 2011

...But the staff of Chief Academic Officer Ann Clark has grown by a comparable number. CMS also has added seven people to the department that oversees its controversial performance pay and testing programs - and given 10 percent raises to two key players as they've taken on extra duties connected with those efforts.

Read more:

Anonymous said...

Pricipals and ivory tower workers HAVE gotten raises.It is in the data and proven.I understand trying to recruit and retain a teacher with five or less years experience.They are only about $10,000 above the poverty level.I am a teacher with over 15 years of classroom experience.I plan to leave to somewhere such as a Northern Virginia county (a $20,000 a year increase in salary) IF pay does not improve.I have a set of skills that is valuable.Education can be a competative market. CMS is doing NOTHING in its power to try and retain my skills and others like me.Teach For America,PfP and TEI are short sighted measures for retention of those with longevity.

Anonymous said...


A teacher with a family of four is right above the POVERTY level and will also be qualified for the children to receive free or reduced lunch.I am soooo tired of the "feel lucky that you have a job" statement from adminisration.

Anonymous said...

Harbrat is from a bank. The financial meltdown was created because the banks rewarded employees based on quantitative "measurables" and so the employees increased their numbers anyway possible. All were short-term focused; many bordered on the fraudulent. In the end, WaMu died, Wachovia came tumbling down; BofA is on life support. I don't think a person whose backgroun is performance management at Wells is the appropriate person to inspire confidence

Anonymous said...

Mr. Habrat seems to forget he was traded down to come to CMS supplying the educrat network with a continuing chain of temps on their way somewhere else. One only has to look at the revolving door in CMS HR to rank Mr. Habrat as a worthy successor to Mr. Maurice Ambler in the CMS insert foot in mouth 2011 phrase of the year award. Did Attababy, Clark, or Avossa feed you that line or was it straight out of The Grapes of Wrath/Broad henchman playbook? Crowded in the Condescension Cafe on amateur night, eh?

Mudd E. Diction said...

Some of America's best bankers were rewarded for dishing out loan programs that ultimately broke our economy and the banks themselves. Then they received bonuses from tax payer dollars. I am not sure CMS would be motivating the right types of people in the teaching profession if they were at CMS for the money. This is another example of applying business thought process where it simply does not belong. Teaching is all about love, not greed. Mr. Habrat is correct and having left banking may be indicative of the type of character we need at CMS. Mr. Habrat is no longer a Bankster.

therestofthestory said...

Mudd E. Diction, while you are somewhat right, a significant factor in that is the civil rights pressure most banks were feeling especially from the Barney Frank committee, the increased focus on home ownership from CRA from the Clinton and Bush administrations, and the pressure from the foreign banks to get in on the gravy train not realizing it was a bubble. And the banks were more than glad to package up these loans and see them off and get the risk of of them as much as possible.

therestofthestory said...

Wow, Habrat just insulted real teachers almost as bad as with the PfP fiasco last year. Teachers want to be recognized if they have done a better than expected job with some monetary reward. It is reward, not carrot. You are dealing with professionals. They do have the "calling" for teaching. They just want to recognized for doing a better than expected job.

Strategic Staffing is a "carrot" program, CMS will pay you more if you come. As done in most organizations, you have a year end review as a culmination of various formal/informal reviews during the year that concludes if you indeed performed to expectations or more and what are some things you need to work on the next year. With that then, you company may wish to give you a bump in pay above what an "expected" performer gets to reward your performance. Thus providing the incentive for you to continue the higher level of performance. Clearly with the structured pay schedule NC has with teachers, this is not possible. And this is what we want to get to. How best to do it, is the question at hand.

Practically, it may only be possible when you follow the thoughts Larry has that the state and local governments just give the parents vouchers and let them make the choise of where to go and what they are willing to pay for that teacher. Much like, choosing to go to what doctor, with a state/fed voucher called Medicaid, why not push that model to public education.

Mudd E. Diction said...

therestofthestory, valid point indeed! Let's extend the example by noting that CMS executives may be able to expect bonuses or other incentives if they succumb to corporate freebee money pressures. For less than one percent of the operating budget corporations can steer the philosophical direction of CMS in a direction that is not home grown or focused on the needs of the local community. Free scholarships, free spin doctors, subsidized directors, who is leading whom?

Wiley Coyote said...


What about all the freebies YOU want?

Free lunch, free sports, free AP/IB testing, free school supplies...after all, you're a champion for the little guy, right?

Doesn't matter what dog is being walked, rather who holds the leash, right?..

You still haven't answered my other comment about your erroneous comments related to my stance on school lunch fraud.

Ahh..that's right. You couldn't respond because you have no facts to refute it. You would rather just sweep the tens of millions in fraud under the rug to get what YOU want.

Sounds kinda like those CMS educrats you railed about above get all those freebies for less than 1% of the budget eh?....

Mudd E. Diction said...

Wiley, I get what you are saying. Let’s see, freeloading rich who do not need to have free lunches for their kids get them through FRL program fraud committed against CMS. I do not like that either so we agree.

However, I go a step further; freeloading rich not in the FRL program get free lunches for their kids by simply not paying for the meals their kids eat. This is worse for the local tax payer because we pay for this freeloading activity. At least the fed pays CMS for the freeloading rich who are in the FRL program even if by fraudulent application. This is a problem for the attorney general, NOT CMS.

What I fail to understand is how your FRL position advances Charlotte Mecklenburg region children, their education and the ability of CMS to educate? Every meal my child has eaten at CMS was paid for from my own earnings.

Your opening roster left out free band, free arts, free roads and sidewalks to school, free heat, and also that American freedom does not come for free.

To be clear, I am for the little children as opposed to the small minded.

Wiley Coyote said...


Your bleeding heart tears get in the way of seeing the facts and the big picture. You are also blinded by your hatred of the "rich", as is evident in all of your posts.

Fraud is fraud and knows no color or income.

CMS lost almost $1 million in non-payments for lunches over the past two years.

My son paid for ever lunch he ate and there was still $25.00 in his account last year when he graduated. That's my small contribution to help close the $1 million loss.

Your failure to understand the basics of the fraud is why you can't understand my position.

We're wasting tens of millions of dollars to put extra programs towards 75,000 students when in fact we should be targeting half that many.

There is no accountability in the school lunch program which leads to more wasteful spending in Title I funds and other programs.

I am ALL FOR free band, free sports, etc for ALL kids as part of the education experience and have them paid for by tax dollars.

It is up to CMS and other school systems to manage their funds to ensure that happens but unfortunately, that hasn't been the case.

Some states do not allow pay to play schemes and must provide those programs to every child who wants them as part of the education experience.

If the funds aren't there, discontinue the programs. Academics should trump extracurricular activities.

Almost half of the athletes who play a sport, play for free in CMS. Again, due to no accountability, many of those play for free yet shouldn't be while other parents get hosed for $50 and $100 dollars.

To be clear, I am for fairness for ALL children as opposed to the close minded who are blinded by their hatred of the rich.

Mudd E. Diction said...

I don't know Wiley. Kind of seems like some posting here are more about the argument than the solution.

CMS and or local tax payer money is not paying for the fraudulent FRL freeloaders we both despise. The added cost to feed the fraud freeloader's children is picked up to the tune of excess revenue over expenditure for CMS. CMS can’t even use the excess funds except for items related to feeding kids. So why not put your energies and writing skill into something constructive that we have local control over and that will help the kids and our local area?

My concern is the freeloading rich who ruin businesses, damage the economic system and to large extent bust our county for their own greed and then blame social programs like social security or FRL are the people I challenge and hope you will too! And lets not forget those freeloading rich who simply do not pay for their kid's lunch, we used to call it dine and ditch. What values are they teaching their kids?

Calling out the real problems so we can address them and expressing hate are two completely different concepts. I do not "hate" the rich. My family is considered in that demographic for more reasons than one. There is a good chance we pay more in local property tax than most posting in this blog.

CMesS chasing supposedly free corporate money instead of using the existing allocated resources to educate within our local means is a problem. If CMesS is not hiring people smart enough to run CMS and must seek corporate money to tell the people they hired how CMS should be run, CMS is hiring the wrong people.

One of my underlying concerns is not about class warfare, that is tertiary, as a Mecklenburger it appears to me that the hornet's nest has become complacent to outside control which is a bad sign for all Americans.

MECKLENBURGERS DECLARED INDEPENDENCE FROM OUTSIDE CONTROL, THE BRITISH, BEFORE ANY OTHER FACTION OR COLONY! Today CMS not seeking independent thought but direction in how to educate Mecklenburg children from outside interests. Even you Wiley are, at least partially, focused on programs outside CMS or local law enforcement control.

CMesS needs to hire a home grown super who can think independently and who will run CMS based on the local needs and direction of our jurisdiction understanding the mission that Mecklenburg children are to be the best performing in the world! The best by our standards not by some fancy mathematical testing BS that no one really knows how to interpret or even acquire accurately.

I generally do not rely on quotes of others because I tend to speak my mind, not the talking points of other's ideology.

Scott Babbidge said...

CMS NEEDS to hire a visionary educator to be the next superintendent. MBA's don't educate. Educators do. If we want to hire an assistant to oversee the financial piece, that is fine there are MBA's and CPA's for that....but let's try something shocking and new and hire an actual educator to lead our educational efforts.

Scott Babbidge said...

Now, more to the point of this particular article....

Did you know that the State of NC (note, Republican led legislature) has $128 MILLION sitting in an escrow account for merit pay for teachers?

It's the truth....what is CMS doing to get its share of that money to reward our great teachers who are killing themselves everyday to educate our kids? We have A LOT of great teachers in CMS and we ought to be showing those teachers some appreciation for the work they are doing.....YES I am pro-great-teachers.