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New laws hang teacher pay on performance

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Charters and vouchers may have sparked the loudest education-related protests before the Legislature this year, but changes to teacher evaluations are likely to have the biggest impact on Indiana’s public schools.

Senate Bill 1 and Senate Bill 575 rewrite the rules for how teachers will be judged, paid, promoted and fired. They limit teachers’ collective bargaining rights and require, for the first time, that teacher pay and promotions be linked to quantified measures of student performance.

“Those two will change education more than any two bills in education in recent history,” said Steve Baker, principal of Bluffton High School near Fort Wayne and president of the Indiana Association of School Principals. “Yeah, it’s a game changer.”

Supporters predict the new laws will improve existing teachers, get rid of really bad teachers, and help public schools snag more of the top-performing college graduates that now favor more lucrative careers.

Critics think the legislation is a pretext for cutting costs and limiting teacher input, and that it could lead schools back to the pre-union days of arbitrary firings, political favorites and low pay.

Whether these changes improve the academic achievement of Indiana students is unclear. Recent studies of performance-based teacher pay in other states have shown no such benefit. But what is clear is that the bills will transform teaching from a steady-work, modest-pay career into one with higher risks and rewards.

In many ways, the new laws will make Indiana’s public schools more like charter schools, where unions have no power and pay raises aren’t automatic.

Instead of career-long job security, teachers—no matter how old or how successful—will be two subpar years or a budget cut away from the possibility of dismissal. And instead of regular raises, they could find themselves stuck at the same level for years. On the other hand, classroom stars stand a chance of rising more rapidly in pay, perhaps even earning a bonus.

“I’m very concerned about the future of the profession. I don’t know that people will want to teach,” said Teresa Meredith, an elementary teacher in Shelbyville who also is vice president of the Indiana State Teachers Association.

Local school districts must implement the new system of evaluations and pay—key parts of which must still be fleshed out by the State Board of Education—in the 2012-2013 school year.

SB 575 limits teachers unions to bargaining only about wages and benefits—but blocks them from negotiating the way the pay is determined.

SB 1, meanwhile, requires that a teacher’s annual pay increase be based on a mixture of students’ scores and year-to-year growth on tests, in-class observations by a trained evaluator, as well as a teacher’s seniority, education and work as a school leader.

Teachers rated as ineffective or needing improvement cannot receive a pay increase.

It’s a big change from current law, which said a teacher’s pay and wages could be based on only two things: years of experience and amount of graduate schooling. Current law also allowed unions to negotiate hours and working conditions.

Win-loss records

The laws affecting teacher pay and work hours have not applied to Indiana’s 62 charter schools, which receive public funds but operate independently of many state and school district rules.

Perhaps as a result, charters employ younger teachers with less experience, spending an average of 23 percent less on salaries, according to data from the Indiana Department of Education.

Average pay for traditional public-school teachers versus charter school teachers.
Charter schools also have their teachers work more days and, in some cases, longer days.

Indianapolis Metropolitan High School, a charter school, adopted a year-round calendar last summer that requires its teachers to work 225 days—far more than the 185 averaged by traditional public schools.

It gave its teachers a 10-percent raise this year. Starting pay at Indy Met is $38,500, compared with $34,000 at Indianapolis Public Schools, the traditional public school district that surrounds Indy Met.

Indy Met also instituted a merit pay system this year, setting aside $100,000 from a grant to reward its most effective teachers. Depending on the number of eligible educators, Superintendent Scott Bess said, bonuses could be as high as $10,000.

Teachers’ performance will be evaluated based on frequent observations of their classroom work: preparing lesson plans, managing classrooms, differentiating instruction methods for individual students.

But student outcomes—test scores, attendance and retention rates, graduation rates, college enrollment—also will be factored in. While the test scores can be tied to specific teachers, the other measures are schoolwide, thus apply to all teachers.

Bess said teachers should be treated somewhat like basketball coaches, assessed both on how well they prepare players for games and on their win-loss records.

“I believe you need to do both,” he said.

Evaluating merit pay

Merit pay draws a range of responses from teachers, even within a charter school like Indy Met.

Chad Miller, a second-year algebra teacher, thinks performance-based evaluations and pay will improve teachers and their prestige.

“It makes teaching more like a profession, and it will be able to attract better talent,” he said, sitting in a plastic student’s chair after the end of a school day.

Bills passed in the legislature in 2011 that affect education reform.Dennis Swender, a family and consumer sciences teacher, fears that if bonuses are too large, teachers might start focusing more on money and less on teaching. But modest bonuses tied to regular and meaningful evaluations would be good, he said.

“I like the challenge. I like the feedback,” he said. “I don’t think anybody who works here is here because they think they might get a giant bonus.”

However, Indy Met English teacher Shanna Bohdan said merit pay is acceptable only for bonuses. She does not like the idea of tying teachers’ base pay to student performance.

“It’s like judging dentists on the health of their patients’ teeth,” she said, adding that such an approach is particularly ill-suited for an urban school, where many students struggle with problems outside of school that affect their performance on tests. “I will never agree that it’s OK to judge people on that.”

Even among teachers open to the idea of performance-based pay, many worry that state regulators will come up with a measurement system that makes unfair comparisons between teachers.

“How can you fairly compare even a chemistry teacher to a PE teacher? That’s where I have a problem,” said Julius Kish, a chemistry teacher at Morton High School in Hammond.

High schools face particular problems because students take classes from seven or more teachers each year. And the state has developed standardized tests in only three high school subjects: algebra, biology and sophomore English.

That’s why state regulators are considering combinations of schoolwide measures and locally developed tests as ways to rate teachers.

Kish takes a hopeful view, even though he knows whatever system the state creates will have problems.

“If it’s man-made, it’s not perfect,” he said. “I think there’s going to be unintended consequences.”

Some teachers even fear cash-strapped school districts will rate nearly all their teachers as less-than-effective in order to keep salary expenditures from growing.

“It would be a hot day in January if I ever saw any of that money in my pocket,” said Beverly Ransdell, a science teacher at the Arsenal Technical Magnet Academy, part of Indianapolis Public Schools.

“This is going to pull money away from teachers in the classroom, and instead we’re going to add more top-heavy administration,” she said. “I don’t see how they’re going to fund it.”

Improving educators

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and Indiana public schools chief Tony Bennett have insisted these bills aim to improve the quality of teachers.

Data from the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress—known as the nation’s report card—show Indiana’s fourth- and eighth-graders ranking No. 18 in math and as high as No. 21 in reading. Indiana has been improving in both areas since 2005, but it’s still a ways from being top-notch.

And folks like Bennett are quick to point out that Hoosier students, if they hope to be economically competitive, need to be educated to a level competitive with students in such countries as Korea, Finland, Singapore and Canada—who currently outpace American students on international tests.

Indiana is one of several states experimenting with performance-based evaluations and pay as a way to reach that goal.

Years of research have demonstrated that having a quality teacher makes a bigger difference on student performance than any other factor at the school, including the size of the class or the level of funding.

Other research has shown that having a really poor teacher three years in a row can put a student so far behind his peers that he will never catch up.

Going even further, Stanford University researcher Eric Hanushek has argued that removing the worst 8 percent of American teachers would boost the performance of American public school students from ranking No. 14 among developed nations to No. 1.

Taking this research to heart, Bennett and his staff at the Indiana Department of Education designed the new evaluation system, in large part, to make it easier to fire teachers for poor performance.

Fewer than 0.62 percent of teachers are dismissed each year for performance reasons, according to data from Bennett’s agency.

Hanushek said evaluation systems like SB 1 are helpful, but they will work only if there is also a change in school culture.

“Schools themselves need to do a lot more in terms of developing and using evaluation systems. Right now, many schools are reluctant to fire ineffective teachers even when they know exactly who must be replaced,” he wrote in an e-mail response to questions.

The other goal of SB 1 is to motivate teachers to improve their students’ performance. But that also has proven to be an elusive goal in other states.

In three rigorous experiments in Chicago, Nashville and New York City—the results of which have been released in the past year—no system of giving “merit pay” to public schoolteachers judged to be the highest performers has led to higher student achievement.

Matthew Springer, one of the authors of the Nashville study, said merit pay has been an idea of education leaders since the 1860s, but no one has yet hit on the right incentives to make it work.

“We know that the current way in which we compensate teachers, in the U.S. K-12 public school system, is incredibly inefficient,” said Springer, director of the National Center on Performance Incentives at Vanderbilt University. “The difficulty is, we don’t know another way.”•

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  • Perceptive remarks by McTurnan
    Brief but well conceived argument, and a talking point for the sector
  • Good, it's about time
    This is good, especially with the decline in education efforts, maybe now teachers will be held responsible. Arent they hired to teach our children, to educate? Aren't the children advanced due to their acheivements? Then it only makes sense the teachers should be held to the same standard, only rewarded for "improved work" not just because they have a college degree or because they have been there for many years.
  • teachers, good and bad
    Like any profession, there are good ones and bad ones. Anyone who went to school is well aware of this. I am absoutely in favor of performance based raises for teachers. To be honest, I don't know how to accomplish this. Going strictly by student's test results is not a fair yardstick of a teacher's ability, as all kids are not born with equal intelligence. Further, many kids ARE disruptive and have no desire to learn. I am definately in favor of alternative schools for kids that just aren't smart enough to keep up in regular classes, as well as those kids who are discipline problems. Perhaps these alternative schools could teach vocational programs so these kids would have some training to allow them to get a decent job. We also need to allow teachers to enforce discipline in the classrooms the old fashioned way. When I was in school, if you misbehaved in class, you were paddled by the teacher. If you really screwed up you were also paddled by the principal, and when you got home....well, you get the idea. The entire educational system has become skewed by absurd rules, political correctness, and sheer stupidity.
  • Evaluations?
    Mr. Harvey, I have worked in the private sector for many years. It is false to imply that all employees are evaluated by their performance. I have seen many mediocre employees retain their jobs because they are friends with, or are related to the right people. In our business we have a sales rep who is completely worthless. If he were evaluted according to his sales achievements he would have been let loose long ago. However, he is a former basketball star at a local college (many years ago) and the employers would not even consider firing him or even commenting on his lack of performance.
  • students have changed
    I am a student and I can even tell teachers are very upset over this whole deal. Its not fair that teachers are getting payed based on our performance. Some kids refuse to do work, never turn it in, and always get kicked out. Trust me I am a student and I see it everyday! The government should realize this, they don't have to set there 5 days out of a week and deal with these people!!
  • none
    AMEN!
  • Wow
    @Chris Henry, obviously you have never been a teacher
  • China's way may do better
    in china, teachers has to teacher students with different levels. but students are put into a class all the time. therefore teachers clearly understand each student and pay more attentions to them on their homework and conduct them carefully.
  • China's way may do better
    in china, teachers has to teacher students with different levels. but students are put into a class all the time. therefore teachers clearly understand each student and pay more attentions to them on their homework and conduct them carefully.
  • history
    Used to put students in their level of aptitude ie red birds, blue birds, etc/then came inclusion( all kids must be in the same classroom, no labeling. It upsets the kids. Then came differentiation Instead of five lesson plans for five different classes I had to differentiate for skilled and for failing therefore I now have fifteen plans a day. When I suggested we sort the students by ability and teach to the ability, WOW cannot do that it will label kids. Therefore lower test scores while the gifted wait on the less talented and the less talented fall behind if you challenge the gifted. All this expected by the state dept of Education. What a joke. Any of you people watch the Kentucky Derby, all level of horses were not in the same race, divided by talent, ability, attitude, level of maturation for their age. children are just higher level animals expecting training and education. You will never be successful putting them all in the same class(inclusion) and expecting all of them to achieve at 87%, impossible
    • Already started
      To get a pay raise, the teacher must score a "4" on a rubric that only has a "4' as the highest score. therefore all the administrator has to do is mark you a '3" in one area and no pay raise. My wife's evaluation "interestingly" now is lower than the last three years and no pay raise. My brother teaches around Indy where all of a sudden the highest score is 3.25 ie frozen pay raises.This is a faulty scoring system when a teacher would have to score perfect in all categories.Meanwhile, the administrators all got pay raises and two more were hired.It will be interesting to see what the administrators spouses score.
      The state needs a scoring system the rewards an effective teacher not a perfect teacher. I taught bfor 40 years and never used a scoring system that required perfection to reward my top students
    • *Then
      *then you'll be able to . . .
    • Raw materials
      Teachers cannot be evaluated solely on students' test scores because too many variables are out of their control. Teachers have NO control over the state of their "raw materials," the students they teach. When all children are equally loved, nurtured, fed, cared for, and supported by parents, they you can rate teachers on what they're able to teach the kids. Otherwise, you're comparing apples to oranges.
      • Teachers do it for the Money, Really?
        I wasn't aware that teachers enter the profession for its financial rewards...can someone enlighten me as to this motivation that seemingly underlies this policy? Here's my guess: Bad teachers will continue to cheat for their students on standardized testes to show "measurable progress" and good teachers will move into the private sector. I'm not a teacher, but I can't grasp a policy that bases its rules on the faulty assumption that money is the prime mover here
        • Destroying Schools
          This current Administration is single handidly destroying our public school system while we sit back and watch. The BIGGEST LOSERS will be Indiana's children. We need to have ALL elected politicians take and PASS the tests before they can take office.
        • special ed
          so if my HS students with severe behavioral disorders don't pass the ECA you won't give me a raise - keep politicians out of this - THEY know nothing. Perhaps they can come teach my class and let's see if they get better results... my students may not pass but they may be doing the best they can.
        • Welcome to the real world
          “I’m very concerned about the future of the profession. I don’t know that people will want to teach,” said Teresa Meredith, an elementary teacher in Shelbyville who also is vice president of the Indiana State Teachers Association. JUST ABOUT EVERY OTHER profession has performance tied to pay, time for teachers to get over their hysterical baseless fear and join the real working world.
          • Evaluations
            I agree that teacher's should be evaluated. However, HOW we are evaluated is what worries most teachers.

            At other jobs, what you put into your report, project, presentation, etc... shows at the end and is a direct reflection of your skills.

            In teaching, we are often evaluated by how others (children!) perform. They may be hungry, tired, angry, abused, or neglected on testing day, but thir scores are supposed to reflect our teaching.

            I hope the evaluation process is well-rounded and does not take the easy way out of % of students who passed a test.
          • Politicians Pay
            Now if we could just hang politicians pay and lifetime benefits on performance, our economic recovery would be well on its way!
            • Why not?
              Why shouldn't the teachers be evaluated on their perfomance like the rest of us are in our jobs. If we don't perform well enough we are either fired or not given any merit pay. So why have teachers been handled differently over the years?
              • walk the ailes
                I work as an aide at a public school. Went into different grade level to assist with the children in the program I was responsible for. I saw a lot of teachers that were not walking the ailes whilethe students were doing the homework to see if the child needed reinforcement. A child would raise their hand and the teacher was working in the computer, instead of being attentive to the students needs. Sometimes a student would stand by the teachers desk for minutes waiting with their open book for the teacher to assit them, or with their hands up in the air, and with no response from the teacher to go and see what the student needed with the work they were doing.
                A computer should be used only when the child
                needs are done first. Also, judging a student by taling in the teachers lounge about a student who misbehaves and letting the other teacher know that that child would probably be in her/his grade the following year. I belive teachers, not all should not discuss private matters about a student in public. There are teachers that also show favoratism to a child being friend, or a relative of a student. We also need the teachers to state to the students from the beginning of the school year, to be addressed as Mr.xx instead of by first names, as if they are buddies. You show respect you get respect. We need clarification by the school system on rules, favoratism, gossiping, being in the classroom by the time student comes to the classroom. A child picks up right away whether a teacher is caring or not. All students should be treated equally, whether, poor, fat, skinny,yellow,white,black,brown or inbetween. Also, the Principals should walk the ailes and visit the classrooms unespectetly. Volunteer an hr. after school to assit a child who does not have a parent at home due to both parents have to work nowdays. If you relly care for your profferssion, prove it! loving is caring.
              • new law teacher performance
                Maybe they should throw out the grading system
                First grade through Seniors.
                Test students at the beginning of the school year and place them accordingly. If they can't read and do simple math, by the time they get to Jr. Hi, they won't even try.
                Tutor those who need tutoring and let those who are ahead, keep moving ahead.
                No reason to have a "reward" system.
                Test the teachers as well, and let them teach the grade best suited for them.
                It is so unfair to the students to put them all in the same class room and expect all of
                them to learn at the same pace. Won't happen.
                Sounds right about trying to change the Union benefits. As usual, Unions have pushed
                the envelope a little too far, not only for
                teachers, but in other areas as well.
                Whatever happened to the old days of
                reading, writing and arithmetic...
                Too much pampering kids and not enough rules that are enforced...start with uniforms.
                • We were already evaluate, it just didn't change our pay
                  I am a teacher. I disagree with this new law. For some reason, people have the misconception that teachers were not evaluated and that teachers who are not doing a good job get to to keep their job. I have always been evaluated and while some people may get to keep their jobs if they are not doing what they should, I believe this is much more the exception than the rule.

                  The article says that we will continue to derive some of our pay from seniority and how many college credits we have. I know the school district I work for is saying that we will no longer get any raises for having additional years of experience. I believe this will accomplish two things. Teachers that now make a lot of money because they have so many years of experience will get fired. Administrators will find an excuse to evaluate them poorly to save money. Evaluations are not objective like years and units are. Newer teachers that don't yet have enough experience to be great will be gone because they won't do as well as they eventually would on the evaluation. If they are not gone, they will be kept at a low wage because this law started when they were still low on the pay scale.

                  Most people don't think teachers work very hard or that many hours, which is definitely not the case for the vast majority of teachers. I know that I work 60-70 hours a week during the school year. Also, between planning for next year and going to conferences, I have hardly had any days off this summer.

                  I believe this law and the lawmakers that made it are aiming to get rid of public school and public school teachers. They would like to privatize education to make it a money making venture and it should not be. The lawmakers want to quit putting money in education so they can free it up for other means. They want us to have larger class sizes and no money to for resources, but somehow still improve our test scores and student performances every year.

                  This law is going to discourage people from becoming teachers and discourage good teachers from staying in the field.
                • Too Many Spoons In the Pot
                  I agree with you totally. It throws me for a loop that anyone disagrees on having teachers evaluated. Well then how does one measure teacher performance, track success or failures, etc. or does it matter? Will Indiana become (or are and just don't know about it) like Georgia where teachers reduce their integrity, career, character to cheating for students on these DEGRADING tests? These tests are not designed for every student. This simply gives them room to do whatever and whatever means our students may or may not be receiving adequate education. I'm not knocking teachers, but I'm an advocate for all teachers who do their job and have the kid’s best interest at heart.
                  I agree also that everyone is so quick to blame the children. Mind you they are watching everything and listening to how much education is being targeted by increasing cuts in funding, and everything else. For a lot of children the interest of school is not there. Could this be a reason some students simply don't care when it comes to classroom performance?
                  I just completed a parent interview early this week. The parent is from Trinidad & Tobago and in comparison says that they used a more structured format in reading, writing, and math and it worked very well. They use their own ability to think independently of what they know and not what they learn. The teacher - student had a better relationship there because teachers live in the same communities and are considered generals in the army of education, on the Frontline and structure within the classroom - control. Over the years though the format has fallen trying to model after the U.S. with students exposed to more technology, kids acting out because they see it hear in the states, the laws in education as far as what a teacher can and cannot do in the classroom.
                  When did education become so complicated? Who defined education as business? This is what’s wrong with our society and where it went wrong. Those at the top calling the shots are thinking in terms of how much they can profit from this? You can’t put a price tag on a child’s education.
                  Parent involvement or the lack thereof is a BIG issue because after ECED. If the teacher-family partnership is developed at the child development stage I believe alot of issues children have with school would not be. Yes there are alot of social issues children bring to school but when it comes to them seeing the school social worker what are the results? What is the social worker's responsibility at that point, and are they effective or just warming a chair?
                  Finally, there’s a topic I know well and that’s teachers who do not know how to interact with diverse students. If you cannot relate nor communicate with diversity then how effective will you become? Every child deserves a good and viable education to grow and thrive to become they desire to be!
                  • I agree with Jim
                    Couldn't have said it better myself.

                    Daniel nailed it, too, as did Desperado and others (you know who you are). Kudos. Seeing others profess reason amid chaos gives me some comfort.

                    Those who suggest ultimately ousting the unwilling or disruptive students (as we would do in business or as we DO do in post-secondary schools) are on to something, I think.

                    I suppose Chile has in a roundabout way, created a sort of "alternative school." By "creaming" Chile schools can effectively weed out problems, just like we might do in business. I see many problems with the method of selection of students the Chile model offers, however. Long before I read of Chile's plight, I predicted a parallel outcome for Indiana. I am no sooth sayer - I think the prediction was relatively easy. After reading the Chile article, I realize no prediction is necessary. There is precedent. I am dismayed by our zeal to follow a bad lead.

                    I suppose the final result will be that we will have a healthy body of elite students again, but we won't be culling the herd by eliminating only problem students - so what if some good, but resource-poor fall by the wayside?

                    I can document many recent cases (even without SB575's effect) in local districts where excellent teachers have fallen victim to arbitrary firing (well, actually, one case was because an administrator wanted a position for a buddy), favoritism, shifts in political winds, etc. I am aware of administrators altering the grading scale, the transparent effect being the manipulation of their own incentive awards. Trust me, no one I care about, over whom I have any influence, will be thinking of becoming a K-12 educator.

                    There is something inherently wrong with the State subsidizing for-profit schools, while we have compulsory attendance laws, and we as taxpayers have no choice but to contribute.

                    Read the Chile article. You will see the future of Indiana education.
                  • Valuing teachers
                    Daniel,
                    Please share which states do value teachers. I'm from Idaho and it seems even worse here than Indiana...they have now implemented a system where students and parents will now evaluate teachers--along with a "pay for performance" measure. I want out. Period. I used to love my job...not anymore. Can anyone please tell me how a parent can effectively evaluate any teacher without spending significant time in a classroom?? Will it be based on the hearsay of students etc...what a joke. AND I am a parent myself with kids in school!
                  • Bottom Line -
                    We have to start somewhere; the present model is clearly broken - with high school graduates barely able to read and do basic arithmetic at a junior-high entry level. Ask any college administrator about how well the entering freshmen are prepared... not. I'm sure that the first draft of the new teacher pay incentives will need adjusting; this is new ground we're breaking. And just as farmers from central Europe didn't understand how to farm the Great Plains, there's potential disaster... but we still farm the Great Plains; what these new laws are trying to do is institute "no-till" teaching in order to stave off the Great Dust-bowl in education.
                    • Getting the parents involved is not the answer
                      The state cannot make the parents get involved. Many of these students in low income school districts do not live in a home with a father figure or even have a relationship with both their mom and dad. However, what the state can do is create benchmarks for teachers to make sure these kids are not getting cheated out of an adequate education. Why should less than stellar performers (teachers) be compensated with a raise because they now have another year of experience? Why should families that can only afford the public school system in their district have their child get stuck with a poor performing teacher protected by the union? When budget cuts are necessary, why should up and coming young teachers be terminated while older, experienced teachers that are washed up maintain their jobs? It is time for the hardworking teachers that are getting results to be rewarded and to weed the ones that are not effective out of the school system. The teachers that continue to earn raises (and perhaps bonuses) because of their performance will raise the bar for the rest of the faculty. In closing, this will not solve every issue with Indiana education; however, it allows the lower income school systems with a platform to provide a better education so that those students have an opportunity to have a better life than their parents.
                    • It is not a business
                      Should teachers have evaluations, standards to be met, etc.? Of course they should...but Wayne's assertion that it is a business is ridiculous...you are not making an engine or a transmission. Students are humans, with parents who may be fully engaged, or not...the parents may facilitating truancy and worse. The suggestion that our students must perform like Finland, etc., would be a fine one if those other nations had to educate all of their student age population...the truth is, all the nations you are comparing the states to don't educate everyone...they have kids who are discipline problems, disengaged, ADHD...they get them out of the school structure. The results everyone was looking for would be much closer if public schools could put the problem kids out, or at least have a viable alternative school for them...some kids woun't be educated, and there is no support from home to compel them to do otherwise. I don't have a problem with tightening up requirements on teachers some, but why anyone would want to be a teacher now I don't know...it is an unrespected profession, with low pay, and now the things that might have made it attractive, things that came with seniority, will be gone. By the way, there is a link in one of the other comments to an essay on the lack of success of these types of reforms in Chile over the past years...frightening how similar the reforms are to what has been enacted here in Indiana, and frightening how they were sold with the same rhetoric...supposedly improving opportunity for everyone, but only those people of means have benefitted...fascinating. I will predict that the reforms Republicans have passed in this session will cost our state far more money than they save, and that they don't improve our quality of life, or education any.
                    • Sad
                      Really this will only hurt the students. As a daughter of a teacher in a low-income school, I have watched her struggle with trying to separate the home lives of students who don't really have a chance to begin with, and spending too much of her day having to discipline and not getting the chance to teach as she once did or the support from administration to deal with the problems effectively. I myself have been very successful in school and life, graduating with a high GPA from Butler University. I am confident that my parent's support had a huge impact in the success of my life. For those students who don't have that at home, it's very easy for them to get lost in the shuffle.

                      If teachers who teach these types of students are not paid well or don't receive raises each year because they work in a low-performing school in a bad area of town, there won't be a desire for teachers to work there. These are the kids that need the best teachers. Money makes people greedy and I truly believe that teachers will flee away from these types of districts leaving the children who already don't have much of chance to fall even further into the cracks.

                      While I believe that something should be done to improve school performance, this is not the answer and only the beginning of even more complicated problems. I am truly, truly sad for teachers who don't receive the respect they deserve and students who are ignored.
                    • Deficient English
                      mca1948... I hope you are not teaching our students. Your spelling and sentence structure is poor. I wonder if you feel threatened by the thought of being evaluated. Sure, blame it on the politicians.
                    • SCHOOL ADMINISTRATOR
                      As I know in our own business operation, employee evaluation and yearly reviews are not an easy process and takes a tremendous amount of management staff training to get consistancy and fairness. How are the school administrators going to be held accountable for the application of this new model and do they have the skills and time to perform this additional task? Presently at my wife's school they can barely manage the problems of the children and now adding this type of evaluation system will be very taxing on the present number of administrators.
                    • Little Will Change
                      I do not believe there is a problem in and of itself with teachers being evaluated on their job performance being held accountable, nor do I think their pay should be completely disconnected from their performance. However, I think the type of students they have to teach, the bureaucracy they have to deal with, and parental involvement, or lack of it, must also be factored into their evaluations. I also think that specific standards would have to be developed for each subject to allow for fair evaluations. As noted, you cannot evaluate a chemistry teacher and a PE teacher using the same standards.

                      Unfortunately, I am afraid this latest round of education reforms will turn out to be just another grand plan that will not be implemented effectively, and it will simply create even less incentive for smart, talented people to go into teaching. Why bother going through the great expense and effort of going to college and graduate school, and passing a series of licensing exams all so you can go into a fairly low paying job in a profession that is generally not well-respected in our society (despite the lip-service about the "importance" of teachers)?

                      I would never be a teacher. I make far more money than any teacher ever would. Even for the best teachers, these new reforms will only moderately increase their pay. The main advantages the teaching profession used to enjoy was job security and decent pension benefits. Now, it seems those two benefits are being greatly limited. I suspect teaching will remain a profession for the handful of idealists or those who cannot go into another profession, for whatever reason.
                    • Great idea-As long as-------
                      teachers are not judege on the ISTEP test results. This is what many are afraid of--the teachers will teach these things, and no the rest.
                    • Student = employee
                      Let's look at this from a different perspective. . . using a model from the business world. Teachers are basically supervisors within a larger corporate context. The students are their employees and are evaluated on an ongoing basis. In the business world, if a supervisor has an employee that is not performing at acceptable levels, the employee is placed on an improvement plan or fired. I say let's run the education system like a business. If students don't perform, they are placed on an improvement plan or expelled. If they are disruptive and threaten others, they give up their right to a public education. People often compare our university system to our public education system and make comments about how we should use that as our model. Well, I've got news for you, in even public universities, students are held responsible for their achievement. . . Maybe if parents and students felt more pressure to actually do their jobs the public education system would improve. This law does nothing for student achievement . . . teachers are an easy scapegoat when parents and students don't want to face the fact that they have failed in their responsibilities.
                    • Teachera
                      I spent nearly 20 years in the corporate world before becoming a teacher. I am a native Hoosier, attending the same public schools that produced Governor Mitch Daniels.
                      * The role of the parents is rarely mentioned when discussing student achievement,but it is probably more important than the role of teacher and that of student.
                      * I see obvious sexism in the overall treatment of teachers (the profession is about 70-80% female); name me a profession where someone would have the nerve to say that education and experience should not be a major factor of salary. When one considers this administration's odd attacks on Planned Parenthood, Unemployment Benefits, it seems clear that there is a strong anti-female bias at the center of this "new" stale agenda.
                      * The biggest area of waste and inefficiency that I have seen in education is the textbook, standardized testing, and technology areas. There should be one national standardized test, period. All schools should have equal access to technology and technicians, and this should be a state mandate. An investigation should be conducted on the great textbook scam involving the Texas conservative cabal.
                      I predict in 3 years, there will be a massive teacher shortage, and Indiana schools will be in worse shape. Daniels and his ilk will continue to earn Indiana it moniker as the most southern state not in the south.
                    • It's Only Fair
                      I wish ALL politician's pay was based on their performance...now that is something I would support!
                    • Hands Tied
                      How can teachers be effective if you tie their hands on teaching methods?... When you don't support them in class rooms from unruly kids and very little if any parent involvement..
                    • Reply
                      Wayne,
                      I agree that teachers should be held accountable for presenting material but as a 14 year teacher, I am not working on cars. I am working with human lives. I see students come in and go weekly. If you would like to see how many students that enroll then withdraw from our school because of family situations, I will be happy to give you those numbers. What about those students with varying degrees of learning disabilities? What about that student that we deal with whose father let his friends sexually abuse her and is facing many psychological areas? If it is a business, then we should assess students after so many days in our school and after they've had a chance to learn concepts and objectives that will be assessed. You do not assess an employee in your business if they have not been in your organization long enough to learn their job. In schools, they are still required to take standardized tests even if they enroll in the school the day before testing begins. Tell me how their teachers should be accountable for that. People in education who see it as a business need to come spend a few days in our world and quit assuming they know how it needs to be.
                    • Fact or Wishful Thinking
                      "And folks like Bennett are quick to point out that Hoosier students, if they hope to be economically competitive, need to be educated to a level competitive with students in such countries as Korea, Finland, Singapore and Canadaâ??who currently outpace American students on international tests."

                      Dr. Bennett is clueless. He had only been a Superintendent of a school for six months when be began seeking the state office. Furthermore, the research he did for his dissertation proved (if in fact he actually carried out the research) that collective bargaining did not impede the removal of ineffective teachers.
                      If we want American schools to be superior, we need to put more responsibility on parents. When their children become violent, disruptive, or unmotivated, they are called to come to school and sit with them OR they are no longer allowed to attend. Why are the ills of society allowed to be placed in the laps of teachers who are already working with higher standards than ever before, larger class sizes, and constant fear that more budget cuts will result in them losing their livelihood and ability to feed their families.
                      If you want to truly know why other countries outpace the United States, it is because not all students are allowed to take those tests and not all children are allowed to attend the public schools. These tests DO NOT - measure all of our students against all of their students. For the future of education in this state please DO NOT take what our leaders are trying to do at face value. Before you believe what they say, look at who some of their biggest political contributors are. It is there you will find your answer to why we are facing this ridiculous education reform. I am a fourteen year, Master's level career educator who has already started packing my bags to leave Indiana. Thank God I did not buy a house here and that I kept my certification current in those states that value teachers and their contributions.

                    • Skewing
                      I enjoyed the article, and agreed and disagreed with some parts. I was, however, extremely disappointed with the egressious use of data to skew facts. The first chart, "Less and More," acknowledges that charter school teachers are less experienced. Nothing wrong with that, but if charter school teachers who have 5 years of experience work had started working in the same situation 10 years ago, their salaries would have in all likelihood risen -- whether from merit or cost of living increases -- to the same salary of a their public school counterpart. A more objective comparison would have been the salaries of starting, first-year teachers in both categories and that of fifth-year teachers in both categories. I am disappointed in the lack of statistical honesty by the IBJ. Your integrity with all statistics now stands in question and trust and respect must now be regained in all areas.
                    • Public Education Anarchists
                      It is very clear to me, what the Republicans did is blow up the Indiana public education system. Really, it is not so complicated. We know who needs help, the teachers that serve children in unsafe communities and children of broken homes, and children who speak English as a second language. The reforms that took place this past spring were politically driven and will only serve to weaken the foundation of our communities and our state. Mark my words. The only other country to implement such draconian reforms is Chile under the Pinochet regime. Here is what happened there: http://www.coha.org/the-failings-of-chile%E2%80%99s-education-system-institutionalized-inequality-and-a-preference-for-the-affluent/

                      No other industrialized country in the world has implemented merit pay, accept Indiana under the Daniels Administration.
                    • All students are diffrent
                      I remember when teachers taught and a workday was still an hour after the teachers knew all the students were home in case the parent needed to reach them. Now when presented with a problem We hear "that is not my job" but it is. It is our job to teach the children of today and work harder with the ones who need it. Maybe this will help.
                    • Its A Business
                      I agree with placing teachers under the microscope when evaluating their performance. Every business I have ever worked for in the private sector requires an evaluation of performance on some level. I am tired of hearing that students are solely to blame for failing test scores on standardized evaluations of their learning. The teachers should hold some responsibility with how their students are doing. I would not expect an employer to give me a raise, or even not consider termination if the bench marks that were set for me at the beginning of a job were not met.
                      • teachers pay
                        teachers would be able to teach better if the class didn"t have so many students could speak our language. we are 1 step closer to a socialism state, thanks to a republican controlled house and senate,and governor. yes I have always been a republican,until now.2012 is just around the corner,choose your canidates carefully.

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