Archive for March 19, 2011

Florida’s Great New Teacher Compensation System

So, here’s what we know so far: The state of Florida is going to require that the new compensation for teachers will be higher than the highest level currently offered on the previous pay scale for teachers hired before July 1, 2014. The districts don’t actually have to start paying until 2014. New teachers coming straight out of college would be hired at a compensation rate higher than that of teachers with, say, 18 years’ worth of experience under the old contracts. Teachers that want to give up their continuing contract status can cross over and get the increased pay, too, but they won’t ever be able to go back.

Did I mention that the state isn’t actually increasing school budgets to pay for that increase? Nope. They’re cutting school budgets. So, how, exactly, are the districts supposed to pay teachers @ $20,000 per year more on less money when they’re (districts) concerned about things like how to afford to run the school buses? That’s an interesting question! Cut the amount of instructional personnel in half? Discontinue transportation? Cut the school lunch program? Beats me.

The school districts have to show “increased accountability” by performing even more testing than what is done now (and there is a LOT of testing). The school districts have to come up with even more testing and accountability. If a kid that doesn’t particularly like a subject (and it could be math, or science, PE or music) then the test scores would be lower and the teachers in that subject area would be up that creek. Will they take salary away? Only award it after the test scores come in? Who the hell knows? What we DO know is that the schools have to spend a boatload of money on developing lots and lots of new tests in order to make sure that the kids are learning a sufficient amount of whatever the state decides is important this year with even more frequent tests to prove it! So the state is providing the millions for these new tests and software for reporting and personnel to manage the data that they’re mandating, right? Bwahahahaha! Trick question! They’re cutting the school budgets! Again! The school districts have to go out to the money tree and pick it, I suppose.

Apparently 30% of the support personnels’ evaluation will have to do with the school performance even though they do not have any input into or responsibility for any student instruction. Ouch.

There are new academic requirements placed on the schools every year by both the state governments and the Federal government. More PE. More science. More math. More requirements for graduation. More organic school lunches. More testing. Less money to pay for it. Somebody is going to have to sit down and decide what is important here.

So, you probably think that I’m a big school/big money education advocate, right? Well, not exactly.

The elephant in the room that everybody is ignoring is IQ. If the average U.S. IQ is 98, with half of the population being below 98, a lot of our kids aren’t going to be able to pass actual college courses. That won’t stop the colleges from taking their money, of course. A significant minority of these kids won’t be able to graduate from high school. We need a vocational track for these kids.

We HAVE to be able to do something about discipline in the classrooms. Disruptive students make it nearly impossible for the rest to work and learn. We HAVE to have parents that will step up to the plate and be parents, not buddies. The kids need to come to school on time prepared with materials, food in their tummies, dressed appropriately, well rested, and ready to learn. If they’re on medication, parents need to see that they need to take it. I have seen students kicking the back of chairs of other students constantly throughout the instruction. Admonishment does nothing. Getting sent to the principal’s office does nothing as they are immediately sent back to class. We have to be able to deal with that. Bringing spanking back to school would help immensely with discipline problems.

Government is going to have to get serious about educational reform. Dumping a bunch of unfunded mandates on the school districts and then high fiving each other on the good job that they’ve done isn’t serious. It’s stupid.

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