Daily News has an interesting article about Mayor Bloomberg’s newest incentive, $20,000 for highly rated and effective teachers
Mayor Bloomberg dangled a lot of dough at teachers on Thursday in a move to force the hands of union officials in the debate over teacher evaluation.
In a groundbreaking state of the city address, Bloomberg proposed giving $20,000 pay bumps to “highly effective teachers,” but hinged the raises on creating a rating system for the city’s teaching force. He also vowed to ax half the teachers in 33 low-performing schools — even without the union’s consent.
“Historically, teachers unions around the country have opposed rewarding great teaching through merit pay, but more and more teachers are asking why,” said Bloomberg.
“Our teachers deserve that. And so do our children.”
Both moves put pressure on union officials to reach a deal on evaluations, a contentious issues since 2010, when the state required teacher ratings reflect students’ test scores. The overhauled law was part of winning $700 million in federal Race to the Top funds.
Under the state changes, teachers can be labeled “highly effective,” “effective,” “developing” and “ineffective.”
A teacher who earns two “ineffective” reviews would be placed on a fast-track for removal.
The state left the union and the city to hammer out an agreeement, but no deal has stuck.
In late December, the latest round of talks on evaluations focused on teachers at 44 under-performing city, but it ended in a stalemate. The two sides needed to reach a deal by Jan. 1 in order for the troubled schools to collect a total of $60 million in federal grant money.
After the mayor’s speech, United Federations
of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew brushed back at the pay-hike proposal, saying research shows the individual bonus programs don’t improve educational results.
“He wants to blame us for his failures, instead of taking ownership,” said Mulgrew.
“He’s getting near the end of his administration. He was supposed to be the education mayor, and we’ve been clearly outspoken, telling people what is going on in the schools. … He continues to attack us.
The union would have to agree to a change in the teachers’ contract to allow for the hefty raises, city and union officials said.
Under Bloomberg’s proposal, teachers who received outstanding ratings for two years in a row would get the $20,000 hikes. That means the city’s highest-paid teachers could potentially earn $120,000 a year.
The city’s previous initiative to pay schoolwide merit pay bonuses to teachers ended after a study showed the program did not improve results.
Bloomberg’s sweeping speech focused largely on efforts to recruit and maintain the best teachers. Part of that plan, he announced, is to pay back up to $25,000 in college loans for teachers who score in the top tier of their class.
Another part is weeding out up to 50% of teachers at 33 poorly performing schools.
Using a loophole in a union contract, the mayor’s administration would create four-member committees picked by the union president and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott who would determine which staff to let go.
The teachers who don’t keep their position would have to look for jobs elsewhere in the city or be assigned to the pool of substitute teachers that costs the city millions every year.
Union officials insist that without a deal on the teacher ratings, the city would not qualify for federal money even if they proceed with removing half the staffs. City officials dispute that.
Speaking against the backdrop of Morris High School campus in the Bronx, Bloomberg touted his administration’s success at raising graduation rates.
He also pledged to add 50 charter schools in the next two years, increasing the current amount by a third. On average the city has opened just 11 charter schools a year.