Posts tagged "merit pay"
February 27, 2013
Joe Lhota wants to bring performance-based pay for teachers to New York City finally and he thinks he can convince a union that’s long been opposed to the idea.
Making his debut on education in a forum hosted by the New York Daily News last night, Lhota said he would seek to replicate Newark’s new merit pay system if he became mayor.
He hailed the Bloomberg administration’s record on education and aligned himself with the mayor on policies of closing low-performing schools and supporting charter schools. But he said the Bloomberg legacy was incomplete.
“The one piece that’s missing is working with the union for merit pay and changing their approach,” Lhota said in an interview after the forum. (more…)
February 25, 2013
New York City might not have a new teacher evaluation system yet, but new efforts are underway nonetheless to reward the city’s best teachers.
The Department of Education announced today the creation of the “Big Apple Awards” program to identify and honor teachers who make an “exceptional impact” on student performance. Ten teachers will win cash prizes and classroom grants when the winners are announced in June.
In a statement today, Chancellor Dennis Walcott encouraged parents, administrators, students, educators, and community members to nominate teachers. Teachers can also nominate themselves. Top nominees will be invited to submit formal applications, and department officials will visit the finalists’ classrooms before selecting the winners.
The new model of rewarding a small number of teachers based on community nominations is a far cry from the merit pay system the Bloomberg administration had hoped to be implementing by now. (more…)
December 4, 2012
A leading nonprofit thinks one of the city’s very best science teachers works at one of the city’s most struggling high schools, and it’s putting its money where it’s mouth is.
For the fourth straight year, the Fund for the City of New York and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation are giving city teachers awards for excellence in teaching science and mathematics. One of the seven winners is Michelle Persaud, whose school, Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers in Manhattan, received a “D” from the city last week.
The honorees were nominated by students, parents, colleagues, and administrators and then selected by a committee made up of representatives from local science museums and universities, based on their students’ achievement, their involvement in extracurricular activities, and their efforts to promote math and science inside and outside the classroom.
Schools with winning teachers each receive $2,500 to support their math and science programs. They are honoring their winning teachers in a series of assemblies today and Wednesday, and the teachers will receive their prizes — $5,000 to $7,500 each — at an award ceremony on Wednesday.
Here are this year’s recipients, along with a highlight about each that we pulled from longer biographies compiled by the Sloan Awards: (more…)
March 27, 2012
Teachers should be paid more — but they should have to prove their value before getting big raises or better positions.
That’s a central idea of a paper about teacher pay released today by the teacher advocacy group Educators 4 Excellence. The group convened a 16-teacher policy team last fall to study past and current experiments in teacher pay, survey city teachers about their views, and come up with recommendations about how to change the way city teachers are paid.
Currently, city teachers earn a starting salary of $45,530 and see their pay rise in small increments each year and as they accumulate additional credentials such as a master’s degree. Large salary jumps come late in teachers’ careers or when they move into administrative positions.
The group’s recommendations include increasing the starting salary by a third; creating a “career ladder” so teachers can be rewarded for strong performance without leaving the classroom; introducing bonuses for teachers who receive top ratings on new teacher evaluations; and paying more to draw teachers to hard-to-staff subjects, such as science or special education.
Educators 4 Excellence is aligned with school reform groups that have battled the teachers union in the past, and some of the group’s previous reports have influenced city and state policy proposals. But the teacher pay report does not side neatly with either Mayor Bloomberg or the UFT. It does not call for merit pay tied to student test scores, which Bloomberg has supported and the city teachers union has said it would never accept, nor does it support Bloomberg’s recent proposal to offer permanent pay raises to teachers who earn top ratings on new evaluations. But it also does not call for union-backed school-wide bonuses of the type distributed under a city program that was aborted after it did not lead to increases in student performance.
“We are not interested in replicating failed experiments. As teachers, we already work hard, and we know that more pay will not make us work harder,” reads the report. “But we do want to be recognized for our successes. We want to build up our supply of excellent teachers by recruiting and retaining professionals who might otherwise choose other fields.” (more…)
February 15, 2012
The principals of top-ranking city schools got their annual bonuses today, adding as much as $25,000 to some school leaders’ pay.
The bonuses, guaranteed under a city agreement with the principals union, went to administrators at schools with the highest scores on the city’s progress reports. A total of 275 principals and their assistant principals received bonuses totaling more than $5 million.
The bonuses went to the principals of some of the city’s most selective schools, such as the Anderson School for gifted students and Staten Island Technical High School, one of the city’s specialized high schools. But they also went to administrators at schools that serve low-performing students, including eight transfer high schools, which had their own bonus division.
In at least a couple of cases, the bonuses went to principals who have gotten into hot water. Darlene Miller, the principal of the NYC Museum School, received a bonus despite being arrested for driving drunk over winter break, as did Ling Ling Chou, who was removed as the Shuang Wen School’s principal last summer amid multiple investigations. (more…)
February 8, 2012
New York City residents won’t be appointing Mayor Bloomberg as students’ chief lobbyist any time soon.
Nearly twice as many New Yorkers trust the teachers union to protect students’ interests than they do Bloomberg, according to a new poll out of Quinnipiac University. Bloomberg’s approval rating on schools has hovered around 25 percent since early 2011, according to the poll.
The poll, conducted Jan. 30-Feb. 5, found that 56 percent of registered voters in New York City say they trust the union more to go to bat for students. Less than a third, 31 percent, said they trust Bloomberg more. (The poll of 1,222 registered voters had a margin of error of 2.8 percent.)
Among households containing public school students, the split was even more pronounced. Just 21 percent of those voters picked Bloomberg, and 69 percent chose the teachers union. Parents’ backed the union more often than even households with union members.
The news comes in an education-packed poll conducted after a month in which in a showdown over new teacher evaluations led Bloomberg and Gov. Andrew Cuomo each to ratchet up rhetoric against teachers and their unions. The poll found that the percentage of New Yorkers with favorable opinions of teachers had fallen, from 54 percent last March to 47 percent now.
But while a different poll earlier this week found high approval for Cuomo’s school policies, a set of questions designed to assess New Yorkers’ feelings about a slate of policy initiatives Bloomberg proposed during his State of the City address last month elicited mixed results. (more…)
November 16, 2011
At a time when the Obama administration is rewarding efforts to improve math and science instruction, seven city math and science teachers are being lauded for the work they already do.
For the third straight year, the Fund for the City of New York and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation are giving city teachers awards for excellence in teaching science and mathematics. The teachers will receive their prizes — $5,000 each — at an award ceremony tonight and their schools will celebrate the awards, and the $2,500 that their math and science programs receive, at a series of assemblies tomorrow.
The teachers were nominated by students, parents, colleagues, and administrators and then selected by a committee made up of representatives from local science museums and universities, based on their students’ achievement, their involvement in extracurricular activities, and their efforts to promote math and science inside and outside the classroom. The recipients’ high schools range from the city’s highest-performing to some of the weakest, including one that the city is trying to turn around using federal funding.
Here are this year’s recipients, along with a highlight about each that we pulled from longer biographies compiled by the Sloan Awards:
Teacher: Kate Belin
School: Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School
Subject: Geometry, Functions
Why her school thinks she’s great: Belin makes math relevant and interesting for students at Fannie Lou Hamer, where 90 percent of entering freshman are below grade level in math or English, by connecting math to the world outside the classroom. (more…)
July 18, 2011
The full impact of the city’s short-lived experiment in teacher performance pay could still be felt.
The Department of Education confirmed today that it has ended a three-year-old school-wide bonus program that was called “transcendant” when it was introduced. The decision, spurred by a RAND Corporation report that was commissioned by the Department of Education’s private fundraising wing, follows a previous study that found no performance boost for participating schools. We reported in March that the city had quietly suspended the bonus program.
The city will save money this year by not disbursing the bonuses, which it says cost $56 million over the life of the initiative. (The previous report, which the city did not commission, put the costs even higher, at $75 million.)
But the long-term effect could come from a pension sweetener introduced to get the teachers union on board with the controversial program. Then-UFT President Randi Weingarten hinged her support for the bonus program on a change in the law that would allow teachers to retire early, starting at 55 instead of 62, without taking a hit to their pensions. (more…)
March 7, 2011
New York City’s heralded $75 million experiment in teacher incentive pay — deemed “transcendent” when it was announced in 2007 — did not increase student achievement at all, a new study by the Harvard economist Roland Fryer concludes.
“If anything,” Fryer writes of schools that participated in the program, “student achievement declined.” Fryer and his team used state math and English test scores as the main indicator of academic achievement.
The program, which was first funded by private foundations and then by taxpayer dollars, also had no impact on teacher behaviors that researchers measured. These included whether teachers stayed at their schools or in the city school district and how teachers described their job satisfaction and school quality in a survey.
The program had only a “negligible” effect on a list of other measures that includes student attendance, behavioral problems, Regents exam scores, and high school graduation rates, the study found.
The experiment targeted 200 high-need schools and 20,000 teachers between the 2007-2008 and 2009-2010 school years. The Bloomberg administration quietly discontinued it last year, turning back on the mayor’s early vow to expand the program quickly.
The program handed out bonuses based on the schools’ results on the city’s progress report cards. The report cards grade schools based primarily on how much progress they make in improving students’ state test scores. A so-called “compensation team” at each school decided how to distribute the money — a maximum of $3,000 per teachers union member, if the school completely met its target, and $1,500 per union member if the school improved its report card score by 75%. (more…)
July 7, 2010
Much of the debate about merit pay for teachers has focused on theoretical arguments. But for Robin Aufses, the English department chair at a private school in Manhattan, the issue is anything but abstract.
Aufses helped lead an experiment at her school last year in new ways of evaluating teachers. Starting in September, administrators plan to assign bonuses based on the evaluations. For now, Aufses writes in the GothamSchools community section, “Good thing it turned out to be a pilot program.”