Wednesday, July 12, 2017


Anonymous wrote:

"New Post: How can the Union allow the district to give out bonuses up to $6,000 to teachers for scores that can't go anywhere but up, yet ironically, some of these teachers receive bonuses and their scores went down. The district pays 30% of the tab, which equates to nearly $300,000. If you taught in one of these elementary schools, you would know why scores go up from 4th to 5th and from 5th to 6th. Because that the teachers' skill levels are so low from K-4 in ELA and Math, any teacher in middle school teaching fifth or sixth grade has to improve scores. In my case, I previously taught in high school. So, when I went to middle school, my scores doubled and tripled. I also had six students who were advanced out of 18, and four of them never saw advanced before in their lives. In fact, if it weren't for me, the school would have been about 10% in ELA in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade, or even worse, 1% like they were in Math. Where's my money? Where's my bonus? Guess what, don't answer. I don't want the money. The day I take $6,000 for scores that are only 60% to 70% proficient/advanced in my class is the day I say Esposito deserves a bonus."


Anonymous said...

What I want to know is if the teacher whose scores were low in a "Star School" received a bonus? Are you telling me that a teacher who taught fourth or fifth grade and had only 20% or lower proficient/ advanced students received a bonus? If yes, then the only reason that he or she received a bonus was because his or her scores were so bad that an increase was inevitable in the middle schools. What a great way to make money: tell your elementary teachers not to teach and make sure they never ask for help because the next year we'll all receive $5000-$6,000. Wow, what a scheme: hire the teachers who are novices and have no support teach in the elementary grades, but make sure that the teachers have discipline support and administrative consequences for students in the middle schools. "You don't have to be a star baby to be in my show."

PPS teacher said...

Here's something else to consider.

Suppose you and I are both PPS middle school teachers. Let's say we both teach 8th grade math. You have three chronically disruptive students in your class. Those students walk around the room as they please. They bother other students. They might even shout at you. It takes you 10 or 15 minutes each class to get those students to settle down and focus (if you're lucky).

You've talked privately to the students. You've called their parents. No results. And the principal will not take action. His/her rating depends on reducing suspensions. So you are are told to handle things on your own.

On the other hand, I am fortunate enough to have no chronically disruptive students in my class. I can teach without interruption, bell to bell.

Guess whose students will score higher on test day. And guess which teacher will get the big bonus at the end of the year.

And if you think I'm exaggerating here, I am. I'm exaggerating on the low side. Most middle school classes have more than three chronically disruptive students. And the same goes for the high schools.

Anonymous said...

Imagine too there are two teachers teaching a 9th grade class. One teacher is very good friends with the administration. The other is not. The "friendly" one seems to get the better behaved students. The other teacher gets those who are disruptive.
When one teacher has influence or in tight with administration or counselor he will get the good kids (read bonus) This practice does nothing but put otherwise good folks against others. Then you have a dysfunctional faculty. Then you have control.
You ask union for help. You get nothing. Or, you get targeted.
As they say, some days you get the elevator, others days, you get the shaft.

PPS teacher said...

12:40, you make a very good point. To which I'd add: In my school, teachers who are friends with the administration always get a good rating when they are observed. Teachers who are not friends with the administration, they're the ones who get the "needs improvement" type of rating.

Most people outside of the PPS don't understand just how subjective these rating are. For example, what does "demonstrates effective classroom management" mean? It means whatever the administrator wants it to mean.

Anonymous said...

Before RISE was implemented the types of scenarios above were brought up when parents were being told how RISE would work. We said that Pittsburgh is a really small town and so many relationships exist that we could never see a fair application of the procedures to evaluate teachers. Often, a principal's favorite teacher ends up teaching in the principal's new building. An administrator finds a way to have the kid of a childhood pal work for him. How many times have we seen a director of this or that get busted down to classroom teacher? Lots of stress.

Anonymous said...

The point of ITLs ( pre RISE) was that teachers chose a teammate who had the same students and often the same situation (gym is more like art than English class with desks etc) their observation plus the admin gave a pretty good picture of the situation- maybe still biased but not as much. 40 years ago I had a very talented teacher phone me to ask , where was the help when someone was new/ felt lost etc. In some suburbs they actually talk about rookie teachers. With RISE it was the rookies who suffered - it was the seasoned teachers who somehow didn't believe that you followed script or else. Teachers in less scripted subjects were disliked by both teachers and administrators- nothing to mark them down about, so find ways to cut back on subjects.