Tag Archives: performance pay

Another Chance for You to Learn More About Denver's ProComp Program

Last week the Christian Science Monitor featured a full-length article on the state of teacher performance pay, with special focus on Denver’s ProComp program. It’s an especially great piece for someone who has little familiarity with the topic — as some of the leading figures are quoted: Brad Jupp from DPS, Phil Gonring from the Rose Community Foundation, Paul Teske from the University of Colorado Denver, and Kim Ursetta from the teachers union, to name a few. Once you’ve read the article, if you still yearn to learn more, you should check out the Issue Paper Denver’s ProComp and Teacher Compensation Reform in Colorado (PDF) by my Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow. He’s glad to give other groups an “honest education in ‘professional pay’”.

Read More...

Tenure Reform Would Be Another Good Idea for Obama & Colorado to Embrace

President Obama made some remarks about education yesterday, and my Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow got a chance to respond in this piece from Face The State: Ben DeGrow, education policy analyst for the Independence Institute, said he is glad to finally see Obama taking a strong position on education. “Obama the candidate and Obama the President has been all over the place on education reform, and it’s been hard to pin him down,” said DeGrow. “The comments in [Tuesday’s] speech are mostly promising, and we need to hold him to those comments.” [link added] In the Face the State piece, State Board of Education chairman Bob Schaffer also raised the point that Obama has given no indication of wanting to help stop an effort by Democrats in Congress to take away private tuition scholarships from poor kids in the nation’s capital. Still, the President’s message yesterday was largely on the right track. Among the less traditionally Democratic education reform ideas Barack Obama embraced are charter schools, accountability, and teacher performance pay. In the latter case, Obama seems to grasp the importance of the current problem with teacher quality: In his speech, the president issued a call for a […]

Read More...

Keeping Effective Teachers? Colorado Would Grade Better on the Curve

An absolutely vital key to successful education is high-quality instruction. So how well is Colorado doing in keeping effective teachers on the job in classrooms like mine? (Answer below) On a new iVoices podcast, you can listen to Sandi Jacobs – vice president of the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) – talk with my Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow about her group’s new State Teacher Policy Yearbook and where Colorado fits in: To dig more in depth, go take a look at NCTQ’s Colorado report (PDF).

Read More...

Will the Feds' Magical Money Tree Help Support Effective Education Reform?

If Barack Obama and the Democrats really are going to pull $122 billion off the magical money tree and send it to fund education programs in the states, could we at least hope the dollars are spent sensibly on effective reforms? For example, will the feds dump freshly-printed greenbacks into traditional, union-controlled teacher licensure programs that do nothing for the bottom line of education? Or might they consider using the cash to improve the quality of the teaching workforce – you know, boost effective performance pay so we can reward good teachers, and repeal harmful tenure laws so we can get rid of bad teachers? Surely some reasonable share of the $122 billion could be used to make a real positive difference. Right? I’ve already been told my problem is that I’m not old enough yet to be properly cynical about all this. I’m not ready to admit that, but I have been trying to find the seeds to plant a magical money tree in our backyard. That way, I can have my own bazillion-dollar weekly allowance without hitting up my parents or the federal government.

Read More...

Delaware Is More Proof that Strong Standards and Parental Choice Work

A couple months ago I told you about the state of Florida’s amazing success in improving early reading test scores. Here were the main things to which former Gov. Jeb Bush attributed the successful gains: Raising standards, measuring progress, grading school performance, providing educational options and targeting resources to reward success and reverse failure are all tools that are transforming schools and raising student achievement…. I also believe we need to better apply free-market principles to the way we deliver education in order to improve the entire system. We should expand educational options so all parents can make the best choices for their children. Teachers and principals should be paid based on performance. Educators that teach subjects with a shortage of teachers, teach in low-performing schools or carry increased responsibilities should be paid more. We should also give merit pay to teachers based on student learning gains and other objective measures…. But blogger Charlie Barone says, hey, wait a minute, let’s take a closer look at Delaware, too. It seems that the First State has shown remarkable improvement, as well. As Matt Ladner points out, some of the same success story themes emerge that have come from Florida: It turns […]

Read More...

Figuring Out Why the Union President (and Her Kids) Back Barack Obama

Kim Ursetta, the president of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) tells this little story yesterday: One of my twins (6 yrs. old; first grade) was really sad when he came home from school today. It seems that another boy in his class told him he was “stupid.” I asked why the boy would say something like that, and my son was so upset. He told me that the boy “was just mad ’cause I won’t vote for McCain… I’m only voting for Obama!” I’m not going to tell you who my mom and dad plan to vote for President. It’s not important for me to do so. But I know I’d be in trouble from them if I called anyone “stupid” – especially just because they might support someone different than my parents do. It simply isn’t nice. I’ve told you about the Presidential campaign before. On the issue of education, there are reasons to be hopeful about both candidates (as well as reasons to be skeptical). But I had to scratch my head and wonder why the Denver teachers union president has her kids so excited about Barack Obama, especially after the NEA convention she attended booed Obama […]

Read More...

Joe Williams Helping Charge to Push Democrats toward Education Reform

A recent USA Today article talks about how the Democratic Party’s national platform is taking small steps away from the teachers union-defended status quo: The ink is barely dry on the official document, which outlines the party’s guiding principles, but it shows that in this fall’s general election, Democrats will stake out a few positions that unions have long opposed. Among them: paying teachers more if they raise test scores, teach in “underserved areas” or take on new responsibilities such as mentoring new teachers. Hooray for small favors. But there’s one comment in the article I especially wanted to bring to your attention: “If ever there’s going to be a time for change, this is it,” says Joe Williams, who heads Democrats for Education Reform, a centrist group with ties to the Obama campaign. He says the new platform has a greater emphasis on educational equity for poor and urban students. “We feel like this is a conversation that Democrats should be in on.” Democrats for Education Reform was the group that sponsored the recent event here in Denver where Democrat leaders called the teachers union on the carpet. That was neat, but there is more to come. Even more […]

Read More...

Compromise Boost to Denver ProComp Accepted; Now It's Time to Ratify

The kids in Denver were big winners when the local school board and teachers union headed off a potential strike at the eleventh hour. They also won when it was agreed that tense negotiations would be averted for another three years. But how well did they fare from the actual terms of the final compromise agreement made between DPS and DCTA? Considering what might have been, Denver Public Schools students came out pretty well. Why? As the editors of the Rocky Mountain News pointed out yesterday, the school district’s nationally-known teacher performance pay program got a boost toward meeting its original purpose: First, it dramatically increases the incentives available under ProComp. Several key bonuses for early and mid-career teachers will more than double, from $1,000 to $2,345 a year each. These incentives reward teachers who choose difficult-to-teach subjects, work in hard-to-staff schools and whose students improve in the classroom. In that regard, a new incentive will be available to teachers in the schools ranking in the top 50 percent in growth of student achievement. These changes will ensure that, compared with the existing agreement, much more money provided by the ProComp mill-levy will wind up with top-performing teachers and not […]

Read More...

NEA Boos Obama – Maybe It's Time to Cut Back Campaign Education Talk

My parents say I’ve still got a lot to learn about civics and government, but it seems to me that the people running for President like to talk a lot more about education than they can actually do to help fix education. A major reason Presidential candidates talk about education as much as they do is all the money and political clout of the National Education Association (NEA) teachers union. As NEA has done every time, the union recently endorsed the Democratic candidate for President. Last week, Barack Obama gave an official acceptance speech to NEA’s big annual meeting via satellite. Obama said a lot of things the union delegates wanted to hear, but at one point he was loudly booed: Why? He suggested changing the way most teachers are paid, including more money given out based on performance. He also spoke highly of charter schools. Not too surprising, NEA officials edited out Barack Obama’s comments about merit pay and charter schools. Wow, this union really goes out of its way to block sensible reforms that benefit students, parents, and professional teachers! When you think about it, maybe it would be better if the Presidential candidates didn’t talk so much […]

Read More...