Tag Archives: The High Cost of Low Teacher Salaries

Fordham Institute report: Teacher pensions squeezing states

7 Jun

 

Moi has posted about teacher compensation, but she has never posted about teacher pensions. In Study: Teacher merit pay works in some situations, moi wrote:

 

Teacher compensation is a hot education topic. The role of evaluations in compensation, merit pay, pay based upon credentials and higher pay for specialty areas are all hot topics and hot button issues. The Center for American Progress has a report by Frank Adamson and Linda Darling Hammond. In the report, Speaking of Salaries: What It Will Take to Get Qualified, Effective Teachers In All Communities  Adamson and Darling- Hammond write:

 

As Education Trust President Kati Haycock has noted, the usual statistics about teacher credentials, as shocking as they are, actually understate the degree of the problem in the most impacted schools:

 

The fact that only 25% of the teachers in a school are uncertified doesn’t mean that the other 75% are fine. More often, they are either brand new, assigned to teach out of field, or low-performers on the licensure exam … there are, in other words, significant numbers of schools that are essentially dumping grounds for unqualified teachers – just as they are dumping grounds for the children they serve….

 

Download this report (pdf)

 

Download the executive summary (pdf)

 

Dave Eggers and NÍnive Clements Calegari have a provocative article in the New York Times, The High Cost of Low Teacher Salaries

 

At the moment, the average teacher’s pay is on par with that of a toll taker or bartender. Teachers make 14 percent less than professionals in other occupations that require similar levels of education. In real terms, teachers’ salaries have declined for 30 years. The average starting salary is $39,000; the average ending salary — after 25 years in the profession — is $67,000. This prices teachers out of home ownership in 32 metropolitan areas, and makes raising a family on one salary near impossible… https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/is-it-true-that-the-dumbest-become-teachers/

 

More researchers are looking at teacher salaries as an element of attracting and retaining quality teachers. States and local governments are looking at a key element of the compensation package which is the pension benefit.

 

https://drwilda.com/2012/07/27/study-teacher-merit-pay-works-in-some-situations/

 

Joy Resmovits writes in the Huffington Post article, Teacher Pension Funds Hit District Budgets, Fordham Report Says:

 

 

The report takes a deep look at three school districts — Milwaukee, Cleveland and Philadelphia — and the impact of pension costs. On average, pensions are costing these districts $943 per student, the report says.

 

“It puts it in a metric that education people can understand: how many thousands of dollars per pupil are going to retirement costs,” said Bob Costrell, one of the study’s analysts. “In many states you’ve got retirement costs that are already taking up a few thousand dollars per pupil, which could rise much more if action isn’t taken.” In Philadelphia, Costrell found, the school district now spends $438 per student on retiree costs, but that may soar to about $2,361 per pupil by 2020.

 

“Playing out what this means in dollars and cents at the district level is scary,” said Sandi Jacobs, the vice president for policy at the National Center for Teacher Quality, a group that advocates tougher teacher evaluations and defined-benefit pensions.

The pension problem is creeping up on school districts across the country. Because pension funding accrues during teachers’ working lifetimes, a crush of retiring baby boomers causes more money to flow out of the funds than in. From 2009 to 2012, pension liability shortfalls swelled in 43 states. Some estimates put teacher pension unfunded liability at $390 billion to $1 trillion.

 

The possibility of fixing the problem is limited, Fordham’s Chester Finn and Michael Petrilli note in an introduction. Existing pension plans are “constitutionally protected,” burdening young teachers with changes but leaving retirees unaffected, the authors argue. “We’re saddled with a bona fide fiscal calamity,” they write, “and no consensus about how to rectify the situation.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/06/teacher-pension-funds-fordham_n_3393697.html?utm_hp_ref=@education123

 

Chester E. Finn and Michael J. Petrilli comment about the Fordham Institute report about teacher pensions.

 

 

Here is the Finn and Petrilli summary:

 

The big squeeze

 

Chester E. Finn, Jr. , Michael J. Petrilli / June 6, 2013

 

There’s no shortage of bad news in education these days, nor any dearth of stasis, but at least education reform is a lively, forward-looking enterprise that gets positive juices flowing in many people and that is leading to promising changes across many parts of the K–12 system. We are focused on making things better—via stronger standards (Common Core), greater parental choice (vouchers, charters, and more), more effective teachers (upgrading preparation programs, devising new evaluation regimens) and lots else.

 

When it comes to pension reform in the education realm, however, it’s hard to stay positive. Here, we’re saddled with a bona fide fiscal calamity (up to a trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities by some counts) and no consensus about how to rectify the situation. No matter how one slices and dices this problem, somebody ends up paying in ways they won’t like and perhaps shouldn’t have to bear. All we can say is that some options are less bad than others.

 

Today’s new Fordham study examines how three cities (and their states) are apportioning the misery—or failing to do so. This analysis pulls no cheery rabbits out of a dark hat, but it definitely illustrates the nature and scale of the pension-funding problem and describes a couple of painful yet, in their ways, promising solutions (or partial solutions) to it. As you will see in the summary report (by Fordham’s Dara Zeehandelaar and Amber Winkler) and several technical papers to follow, economist and pension expert Robert Costrell and education-finance expert Larry Maloney parsed the budgets of the Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Philadelphia school districts to estimate just how big an impact their pension and retiree-health-care obligations will have on their bottom line in coming years. (The Philadelphia paper is also now available on our website.)

 

This is hardly an academic exercise. As our title indicates, these obligations are putting “a big squeeze” on district budgets. In Philadelphia—today the most threatened of the three districts—our analysts estimate that the school system could find itself spending as much as $2,361 per pupil by 2020 on retiree costs alone. That represents a staggering increase ($1,923) from its current level, a huge price tag that can only mean fewer resources for teacher salaries, individualized instruction, new instructional technologies—and pretty much everything else that schools need and do.

 

Yet it’s not a foregone conclusion. Since we launched this study almost three years ago, both Wisconsin and Ohio passed pension-reform legislation that significantly brightened the economic outlook for the public school systems of Milwaukee and Cleveland. (Pennsylvania is battling over pensions as we write.) These reforms lowered the projections for 2020 retiree spending from $3,512 (without Wisconsin’s Act 10) to $1,924 per pupil in Milwaukee. Act 10 will thus save the district an estimated $1,588 per pupil in retirement costs in 2020 alone. Ohio’s SB 341 and SB 342 could save Cleveland $1,219 per pupil in 2020; not only do they lower projections from $2,476 to $1,257, but in 2020 the district will actually be spending less on retirement than it did in 2011.

 

Numbers like those are good for district budgets, but they exact a price. Yes, much of the debt burden was taken off the shoulders of school districts (and students), but it was placed instead on the shoulders of new, current, and retired teachers, as well as state taxpayers. This is especially vivid in Ohio, where cuts to pension benefits for new teachers may significantly reduce the desirability of a Buckeye teaching job.

 

Some might call this approach “eating our young,” making teaching notably less alluring for bright-eyed young instructors (and possible future teachers) while maintaining relatively generous benefits for veteran teachers and current retirees—some of whom will spend more years in retirement than they did in the classroom. Yet because of a legal environment that typically considers all public-sector pension promises, once made, to be “constitutionally protected,” policymakers have few other choices. (The exception is retiree health care, a benefit that in many states does not enjoy the same protections and thus could be a candidate for belt-tightening.) Never mind that yesterday’s “pension giveaway” becomes today’s “constitutionally protected obligation.” This is another example of how lawmakers in one year can tie the hands of their successors for decades to come.

 

It seems to us inevitable that, one day, public-sector employees across the United States—including but definitely not limited to educators—will find their pensions and other retirement benefits fundamentally transformed into something more like what’s now commonplace in the private sector: 401(k)-style plans that provide some assistance from employers but put much of the retirement-savings onus on employees themselves. At the very least, we’ll see a transition to cash-balance plans, which keep the government on the hook for a guaranteed payout but allow teachers to “cash out” at any time without losing their pension wealth. (Such plans also allow for greater portability than traditional state-managed retirement systems.)

 

But for now we’re stuck with the consequences and costs of a giant Ponzi scheme: Lawmakers have promised teachers retirement benefits that the system cannot afford, because the promises were based on short-term political considerations and willfully bad (or thoroughly incompetent) math. (For instance, assumptions about market returns that were wildly optimistic and assumptions about longevity that were overly pessimistic.) The bill is coming due and someone’s going to get soaked.

 

To repeat, no solution spares everybody. The best option is probably to share the pain: among retirees, current teachers, new teachers, school districts, and taxpayers.

 

Regarding the first two groups, without running afoul of constitutional protections, states can curtail retiree health care, as Wisconsin and Ohio did, which frees up some resources to apply to immutable pension obligations. In some states and districts (no one knows how many), governments have been picking up the tab for retirees’ health insurance between the ages of fifty-five and sixty-five (when Medicare kicks in). This benefit is practically nonexistent in the private sector, and for good reason: People in that age range are generally quite capable of paying for their own health insurance. Most are still working and participate in group plans operated by their employers.

 

As for filling the hole of unfunded liabilities, there’s little choice but to raise contribution rates for teachers, to increase districts’ contribution rates (which decreases funds for students) or to seek bailouts from states or the federal government (otherwise known as the “charge-it-to-taxpayers” gambit). But this is akin to putting water in a leaky bucket. Raising more revenue is necessary, but unless you attend to the leak (also known as currently accruing costs!), you’re going to have to put more and more water in. Perhaps the plug is reducing benefits, increasing age and years-of-service requirements, or decreasing retirement income via lower salary multipliers—all reasonable fixes.

 

A better idea? Buy a new bucket.

 

The unions, naturally, will scream bloody murder. It’s their job to try to hold all of their members harmless, including both current teachers and retirees. So this won’t be an easy fight.

 

But what should be clear from our new study is that doing nothing is not an option. Without immediate action, the problem will grow worse and districts will eventually get crushed—meaning tomorrow’s children will pay the price for yesterday’s adult irresponsibility. State lawmakers need to step up to the plate. Wisconsin and Ohio, in their ways, have at least begun to move.

 

Related Articles

 

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By the Company It Keeps: Robin Lake

Andy Smarick’s latest interview is with Robin Lake, director of the Center for Reinventing Public Education (CRPE)

Authorizer of, not in, the district

D.C. takes two steps forward, one step back

 

Category: Governance / School Finance

 

Citation:

 

The Big Squeeze: Retirement Costs and School-District Budgets

 

By Dara Zeehandelaar, Ph.D. , Amber M. Winkler, Ph.D. / June 6, 2013

 

Foreword by Chester E. Finn, Jr. , Michael J. Petrilli

 

When it comes to pension reform in the education realm, it’s hard to stay positive. Here, we’re saddled with a bona fide fiscal calamity (up to a trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities by some counts), and no consensus about how to rectify the situation. No matter how one slices and dices this problem, somebody ends up paying in ways they won’t like and perhaps shouldn’t have to bear. All we can say is that some options are less bad than others.n The Big Squeeze: Retirement Costs and School-District Budgets, we analyze and project how big an impact the pension and retiree health care obligations will have on the budgets of three school districts: Milwaukee Public Schools, Cleveland Metropolitan School District, and the School District of Pennsylvania.

 

The Big Squeeze: Retirement Costs and School-District Budgets is a summary report by Dara Zeehandelaar and Amber M. Winkler, based on three technical analyses conducted by Robert Costrell and Larry Maloney to be released by the end of Summer 2013.

 

See:

 

M-RCBG Faculty Working Paper No. 2012-08

 

Underfunded Public Pensions in the United States: The Size of the Problem, the Obstacles to Reform and the Path Forward

Thomas J. Healey, Carl Hess, and Kevin Nicholson

 

http://www.hks.harvard.edu/centers/mrcbg/publications/fwp/2012-08

 

It’s overwhelming: State and municipal defined benefit pension plans doomed by fundamental flaws

 

http://www.statebudgetsolutions.org/publications/detail/its-overwhelming-state-and-municipal-defined-benefit-pension-plans-doomed-by-fundamental-flaws#ixzz2VVkrsDC2

 

 

The pension liability of states and local districts is the elephant in the room/

 

Resources:

 

A Lively Debate Over Teacher Salaries                             http://www.nytimes.com/schoolbook/2012/01/05/a-lively-debate-over-teacher-salaries/

 

Are Teachers Overpaid?                                                      http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/01/02/are-teachers-overpaid/

 

 

Where information leads to Hope. ©  Dr. Wilda.com

 

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Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

 

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©                           http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

 

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©                                                http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

 

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Report from The Compensation Technical Working Group: Teacher compensation in Washington

9 Jul

In Is it true that the dumbest become teachers? Moi wrote:

Dave Eggers and NÍnive Clements Calegari have a provocative article in the New York Times, The High Cost of Low Teacher Salaries

At the moment, the average teacher’s pay is on par with that of a toll taker or bartender. Teachers make 14 percent less than professionals in other occupations that require similar levels of education. In real terms, teachers’ salaries have declined for 30 years. The average starting salary is $39,000; the average ending salary — after 25 years in the profession — is $67,000. This prices teachers out of home ownership in 32 metropolitan areas, and makes raising a family on one salary near impossible… https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/is-it-true-that-the-dumbest-become-teachers/

More researchers are looking at teacher salaries as an element of attracting and retaining quality teachers.

The Compensation Technical Working Group began researching teacher compensation in Washington:

Compensation Technical Work Group

Beginning in July 2011, as outlined in RCW 28A.400.201, the Compensation Working Group* began the process of developing an enhanced, collaboratively designed salary allocation model.

The new salary allocation model should align educator development and certification with compensation. It must also:

  • Attract and retain the highest quality educators
  • Reduce the number of tiers within the existing salary allocation model
  • Account for regions of the state where it may be difficult to recruit and retain teachers
  • Determine the role and types of bonuses available
  • Provide a solution to accomplish salary equalization over a set number of years
  • Include cost estimates, including a recognition that staff on the existing salary schedule have an option to be grandfathered permanently to the existing salary schedule
  • Conduct a comparative labor market analysis of school employee salaries and other compensation
  • Provide a concurrent implementation schedule

On June 30, 2012, the working group submitted its report to the Legislature:

Compensation Technical Working Group Report (Full Report, 178 pages)

Or download by section:

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The Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession summarized the report as follows:

After a year of study and work, the State’s Compensation Technical Work Group has released their recommendations to revamp the way the State pays educators and other staff in K-12 education.

Some of the highlights of their recommendations include:

  • Increasing the starting salary of teachers and educational staff associates to $48,687, which is about $15,000 more.   
  • Aligning the salary allocation model to the career continuum for educators, which would recognize a teacher’s movement from a residency certificate to a professional certificate, etc.  
  • Investing in 10 professional development days.  
  • Allocating mentors and instructional coaches in the Basic Education Funding Formula    

CSTP gathered survey responses from over 400 NBCTs about their feelings towards the draft recommendations. Their responses were presented to their Work Group in June. Click the NBCT Survey Summary

Next stop for these recommendations? The Quality Education Council who is made up of legislators, agency heads and educators. These recommendations can not be implemented without legislative action. To read the Work Group report, click here.  

Teacher compensation is subject to a lot of political wrangling.

Peter Callaghan of the News Tribune has written an incisive analysis of the report in the article, Teacher pay report has a lot to shock, and to like:

Under a law adopted in 1981, all teacher pay for delivering basic education must come from the state and is not subject to bargaining. In amendments approved in 1983, teachers can bargain to tap levy dollars but only for extra duties.

That additional pay can be granted only through supplemental contracts defining the extra time and responsibilities to be delivered or for “implementing specific measurable innovative activities.” This has become known as TRI pay (Time, Responsibility and Incentive.”)

But the task force’s group of education “stakeholders” – superintendents, board members, principals, finance officers and teacher union representatives – admitted it doesn’t work that way.

… after reviewing collective bargaining agreements and sharing professional experiences with TRI contracts, the (working group) overwhelmingly concluded that TRI contracts are most often used to increase the salary allocations of staff performing basic education functions,” the final report states.

There are many reasons for this violation of law, but the working group lands on just one – the districts and their teachers had to do it to make up for shortcomings in allocations for basic teacher pay by the state Legislature.

Another reason for the gradual erosion of the rules is that unions bargained hard for it, school boards gave in and the state looked the other way. Blaming the Legislature alone means the working group members didn’t have to point fingers at one another.
http://www.thenewstribune.com/2012/07/08/2208161/teacher-pay-report-has-a-lot-to.html#storylink=cpy

The answer to why there are not more quality teachers is not simple.

Related:

Teachers unions are losing members                         https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/07/04/teachers-unions-are-losing-members/

Education Trust report: Retaining teachers in high-poverty areas                                               https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/07/01/education-trust-report-retaining-teachers-in-high-poverty-areas/

Teachers running schools                                     https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/06/25/teachers-running-schools/

Report: Measuring teacher effectiveness https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/report-measuring-teacher-effectiveness/

Urban teacher residencies                           https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/03/04/urban-teacher-residencies/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Education Trust report: Retaining teachers in high-poverty areas

1 Jul

Every population of kids is different and they arrive at school at various points on the ready to learn continuum. Schools and teachers must be accountable, but there should be various measures of judging teacher effectiveness for a particular population of children. Perhaps, more time and effort should be spent in developing a strong principal corps and giving principals the training and assistance in evaluation and mentoring techniques.

The Ed Trust report, entitled “Building and Sustaining Talent: Creating Conditions in High-Poverty Schools That Support Effective Teaching and Learning,” examines how several districts have handled the issue of teacher retention:

Specifically, districts should take the following steps:

Recruit talented school leaders to their highest need schools, an get them to stay. In addition to the districts spotlighted earlier, the District of Columbia Public Schools has taken a rigorous approach to principal recruitment. The district scours student achievement data from school districts around the country (especially those close to D.C.) and then actively recruits principals of top-performing schools.

Put in place teacher and school-leader evaluation systems that differentiate educator effectiveness in order to identify top performing teachers and leaders. Using these systems in conjunction with data on working conditions and attrition, districts can study which teachers are more and less satisfied, as well as which ones are staying and leaving — and why.

Provide teachers in the highest need schools with meaningful professional growth and career ladders as well as opportunities to collaborate with other teachers, as Ascension Parish and Boston Public Schools have done.

Avoid isolating their most effective teachers and, instead, build teams of highly effective teachers in the district’s most challenging schools, as both Boston Public Schools and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools have done.

Concentrate not just on recruiting new school leaders and teachers to high-need schools, but on developing the skills and instructional abilities of existing employees, as have Fresno and Ascension Parish.

Implement a tool to measure teacher perceptions of their teaching environment, such as Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ working conditions survey, and then use data from the tool to identify target schools and determine primary issues that need to be addressed. For example, Pittsburgh Public Schools works with the New Teacher Center to implement a district-wide survey on working conditions. The district requires all schools to use the data to identify a plan of action and pays special attention to the plans of schools with the poorest survey results to ensure that the planned interventions align with the identified areas of need.

Once better evaluations are in place, districts should make working conditions data part of school and district-leader evaluations. North Carolina requires that survey data on working conditions are factored into school-leader evaluations, which encourages leaders to take the survey results seriously and to act on areas identified as needing improvement.

CONCLUSION

To date, the conditions that shape teachers’ daily professional lives have not been given the attention they deserve. Too often, a lack of attention to these factors in our highest poverty and lowest performing schools results in environments in which few educators would choose to stay. For too long, the high levels of staff dissatisfaction and turnover that characterize these schools have been erroneously attributed to their students. But research continues to demonstrate that students are not the problem. What matters most are the conditions for teaching and learning. Districts and states have an obligation to examine and act on these conditions. Otherwise, we will never make the progress that we must make to ensure all low-income students and students of color have access to great teachers.                                                                                     http://www.edtrust.org/sites/edtrust.org/files/Building_and_Sustaining_Talent.pdf

Melanie Smollin has an excellent post at Take Part, Five Reasons Why Teacher Turnover Is On The Rise See, Report: Make Improving Teacher Working Conditions a Priority http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/teaching_now/2012/06/report_make_improving_teacher_working_conditions_a_priority.html

In Study: Teacher turnover adversely affects students moi said:

Every population of kids is different and they arrive at school at various points on the ready to learn continuum. Schools and teachers must be accountable, but there should be various measures of judging teacher effectiveness for a particular population of children. Perhaps, more time and effort should be spent in developing a strong principal corps and giving principals the training and assistance in evaluation and mentoring techniques. Teachers must be compensated fairly for their work.Dave Eggers and NÍnive Clements Calegari have a provocative New York Times article, The High Cost of Low Teacher Salaries The Center for American Progress has a report by Frank Adamson and Linda Darling Hammond, Speaking of Salaries: What It Will Take to Get Qualified, Effective Teachers In All Communities

https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/03/21/study-teacher-turnover-adversely-affects-students/

Related:

School Absenteeism: Absent from the classroom leads to absence from participation in this society https://drwilda.wordpress.com/category/dr-wilda/page/15/

New Harvard study about impact of teachers https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/08/new-harvard-study-about-impact-of-teachers/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Linda Darling-Hammond on teacher evaluation

9 May

Moi wrote in The search for quality teachers goes on:

Moi received the press release about improving teacher training standards from the Commission on Standards and Performance Reporting which is an outgrowth of he Teacher Education Accreditation Council, or TEAC, and the far larger and older National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, or NCATE now called CAEP. Trip Gabriel has an article in the New York Times,Teachers Colleges Upset By Plans to Grade Them about the coming U.S. News Report on teacher colleges. This project is being underwritten in part by the Carnegie Corporation and Broad Foundation. A test of the proposed project was completed in Illinois. You can go here to get a copy of the report. The National Council on Teacher Quality has information about the project at their site.

Stephen Sawchuck is reporting in the Education Week article, Teacher-Prep Accreditor Names Standards-Setting Panel:

An external panel that includes several prominent critics of teacher education has been tapped to craft the performance standards for the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, the new organization’s leaders announced last week.

Among the standards under consideration: how programs ensure that candidates know their content; the programs’ ability to recruit an academically strong pool of candidates; their success in training teachers to use assessment data effectively; and the performance of their graduates in classrooms….http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/02/29/22ncate.h31.html?tkn=WOXF5rXjv53mA6unhcaGNw3WZSn30CHE9YxX&intc=es

According to to the press release of CAEP:

The Commission is taking the recommendations of a Blue Ribbon Panel on Clinical Preparation and Partnerships for Improved Student Learning to the next level. The Panel’s report, released a year ago, said it was time to “turn teacher education upside-down.” That Panel urged increased oversight and expectations for educator preparation and the expansion of new delivery models in which teacher candidates work more directly in clinically based settings from the beginning of their preparation as in medical education. The panel also called for preparation programs to operate in new types of partnerships between higher education and P-12 schools in which both systems share responsibility for preparation.

Strong Accountability Tied to New Data Systems, Assessments

The development of longitudinal data systems and of a new generation of performance assessments will dramatically improve the quantity and quality of evidence of student and teacher performance, allowing programs to study the impact of graduates on student outcomes within the accreditation process. New, more robust assessments, such as the TPA (Teacher Performance Assessment) being pilot tested in more than 25 states, and tools such as observational protocols and student feedback, will help identify effective teaching practices. Information from these assessments will inform preparation programs and will provide new data points previously unavailable….

https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/the-search-for-quality-teachers-goes-on/

Every population of kids is different and they arrive at school at various points on the ready to learn continuum. Schools and teachers must be accountable, but there should be various measures of judging teacher effectiveness for a particular population of children. Perhaps, more time and effort should be spent in developing a strong principal corps and giving principals the training and assistance in evaluation and mentoring techniques.

Three recent articles examine teacher effectiveness from the perspective of students training to become teachers, teachers, and students. The first article examines a very effective teacher training program. Amy Hetzner and Becky Vevea of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel have written the article, How Best to Educate Future Teachers which is part of a series

Dave Eggers and NÍnive Clements Calegari have a provocative article in the New York Times, The High Cost of Low Teacher Salaries

At the moment, the average teacher’s pay is on par with that of a toll taker or bartender. Teachers make 14 percent less than professionals in other occupations that require similar levels of education. In real terms, teachers’ salaries have declined for 30 years. The average starting salary is $39,000; the average ending salary — after 25 years in the profession — is $67,000. This prices teachers out of home ownership in 32 metropolitan areas, and makes raising a family on one salary near impossible.

The Center for American Progress has a report by Frank Adamson and Linda Darling Hammond.

In the report, Speaking of Salaries: What It Will Take to Get Qualified, Effective Teachers In All Communities Adamson and Darling- Hammond write:

As Education Trust President Kati Haycock has noted, the usual statistics about teacher credentials, as shocking as they are, actually understate the degree of the problem in the most impacted schools:

The fact that only 25% of the teachers in a school are uncertified doesn’t mean that the other 75% are fine. More often, they are either brand new, assigned to teach out of field, or low-performers on the licensure exam … there are, in other words, significant numbers of schools that are essentially dumping grounds for unqualified teachers – just as they are dumping grounds for the children they serve.The problem of inequitably distributed teachers has continued to be a widespread major concern despite the intentions expressed in NCLB as well as noteworthy progress in some states. Disparity in the access of rich and poor children to well-qualified teachers is one of the constant issues surfaced in the more than 40 state school finance suits that are currently active across the country.

Download this report (pdf)

Download the executive summary (pdf)

Linda Darling-Hammond of Stanford has written a new report about teacher evaluation.

In the Washington Post article, Teacher evaluation: What it should look like, Darling-Hammond summarizes her new report on teacher evaluation:

Darling-Hammond’s report, entitled “Creating a Comprehensive System for Evaluating and Supporting Effective Teaching,” explains the essential components of any fair teacher evaluation system — and provides examples of where it is working. Here are the necessary criteria she says should be part of an effective teacher-evaluation system:

1. Teacher evaluation should be based on professional teaching standards and should be sophisticated enough to assess teaching quality across the continuum of development from novice to expert teacher.

2. Evaluations should include multi-faceted evidence of teacher practice, student learning, and professional contributions that are considered in an integrated fashion, in relation to one another and to the teaching context. Any assessments used to make judgments about students’ progress should be appropriate for the specific curriculum and students the teacher teaches.

3. Evaluators should be knowledgeable about instruction and well trained in the evaluation system, including the process of how to give productive feedback and how to support ongoing learning for teachers. As often as possible, and always at critical decision-making junctures (e.g., tenure or renewal), the evaluation team should include experts in the specific teaching field.

4. Evaluation should be accompanied by useful feedback, and connected to professional development opportunities that are relevant to teachers’ goals and needs, including both formal learning opportunities and peer collaboration, observation, and coaching.

5. The evaluation system should value and encourage teacher collaboration, both in the standards and criteria that are used to assess teachers’ work, and in the way results are used to shape professional learning opportunities.

6. Expert teachers should be part of the assistance and review process for new teachers and for teachers needing extra assistance. They can provide the additional subject-specific expertise and person-power needed to ensure that intensive and effective assistance is offered and that decisions about tenure and continuation are well grounded.

7. Panels of teachers and administrators should oversee the evaluation process to ensure that it is thorough and of high quality, as well as fair and reliable. Such panels have been shown to facilitate more timely and well-grounded personnel decisions that avoid grievances and litigation. Teachers and school leaders should be involved in developing, implementing, and monitoring the system to ensure that it reflects good teaching well, that it operates effectively, that it is tied to useful learning opportunities for teachers, and that it produces valid results.

Darling-Hammond explains why using value-added models is a bad idea. She notes that they:

* are “highly unstable,” as teachers’ ratings “differ substantially from class to class and from year to year;”

* are significantly affected by differences in students — even when value-added formulas attempt to control for various factors such as prior achievement and student demographic variables.

* cannot adequately deal with the various influences on a student that could affect performance on a test, both in school and out of school — and “these matter more than the individual teacher in explaining changes in scores.”

This does not mean, however, that student achievement should not be included in a teacher evaluation system. A variety of other measures of student learning are useful in teacher evaluation, including evidence taken from classroom assessments and student science investigations, research papers or art projects.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/teacher-evaluation-what-it-should-look-like/2012/05/08/gIQAaK0qBU_blog.html

Citation:

Darling-Hammond, L. (2012). Creating a comprehensive system for evaluating and supporting effective teaching.

Stanford, CA. Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education.

Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education

Barnum Center, 505 Lasuen Mall

Stanford, California 94305

Phone: 650.725.8600

scope@stanford.edu

http://edpolicy.stanford.edu

http://edpolicy.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/publications/creating-comprehensive-system-evaluating-and-supporting-effective-teaching.pdf

Everyone is searching for the magic formula to produce a bumper crop of quality teachers.

Related:

Could newest teaching strategy be made in Japan?

https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/11/could-newest-teaching-strategy-be-made-in-japan/

New Harvard study about impact of teachers

https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/08/new-harvard-study-about-impact-of-teachers/

Is it true that the dumbest become teachers?

https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/is-it-true-that-the-dumbest-become-teachers/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©