I’ve been reading through some of the recent posts on the EduStat blog, and ran across Sheryl Nussbuam-Beach’s post “Teacher 2.0 – What Matters” reflecting on Joel Klein’s presentation at the “Teacher 2.0: Developing the 21st Century Workforce” conference. (Klein is the Chancellor of the New York Department of Education.) This is the paragraph that got my attention:
NY puts their resources behind their political discourse on incentives with school leaders. Principals who agree to serve in a high needs school to help turn it around are given attractive pay incentives. In dollars that means a principal in a NY high needs school could go from $140,000 to $175,000 with a chance for a $25,000 bonus. Fair pay for a tough job that will require great commitment in my book.
Wow, that strikes me as an amazingly high salary. I have been told that Oklahoma, where I live now, is near the bottom of all the states in the U.S. for teacher salaries. New York must be up there for both teacher and administrator salaries.
Sheryl points out in her post that giving administrators incentive pay for successfully serving needy schools is not enough, state governments need to also provide financial incentives for teachers. I agree incentives are needed to attract and RETAIN more committed educators in many lower SES schools. An issue that is not addressed, however, is how “success” is measured in those schools to pass out incentives. In larger numbers of Texas schools, teachers as well as administrators are paid bonuses based on student test scores. That is now the case in San Antonio ISD, as I learned recently when teaching some workshops there. Test scores are important, but they are not nearly as important as they are made to seem in our current educational culture. Like learning assessment more generally, I think “success” for administrators and teachers needs to be measured with a more complex and differentiated assessment matrix than simply looking at student test scores.
In the comments to that post by Sheryl, Derek Wenmoth observes that professional development and teacher talent are BIG keys to the high quality education all students deserve and need. He writes:
This is a job for professional development. Financial incentives will not find talent, or grow it – but merely reward those with it (whatever it is) – provided they make the choice to teach in the difficult areas. Effective professional development programmes that are well designed, well resourced and well facilitated are the key to building the talent pool referred to here.
I agree, and I think a key part of discussions about school 2.0, teacher 2.0, learning 2.0, or whatever you want to term “school reform” for our present climate needs to focus on professional development. This is a key message of my presentation “Welcome to the Global Education Conversation,” which I shared first in Holland, Michigan in April and shared again last Thursday in Altus, Oklahoma at the regional TechFest and MoodleMoot hosted by Western Oklahoma State College. I’ll be sharing that message again next week on Thursday, for a district-wide technology conference for teachers in Oklahoma City Public Schools.
Research from eMints as well as other groups on professional development points to the need for school professional development models to change markedly. PD needs to be in cohorts, sustained, include follow-up and accountability, and supported locally with both technical and instructional support. The following slide is from an eMINTS presentation, which I have included in my “Global Education Conversation” presentation:
Almost every time I hear someone talk about ways to help teachers effectively utilize digital tools for learning, professional development comes up. I think we need to keep talking about the importance of PD and fighting for PD dollars in schools, but I also think we need to increasingly invite teachers to join the chorus of online collaborators in the edublogosphere whose PD is now more intense, sustained, just-in-time and challenging than ever before! We need to broaden the invitation for teachers to participate in K-12 Online, but also encourage DISTRICTS to formally get teachers involved with online professional development like this. Here in Oklahoma, even though we have lost our Discovery Education field manager, our DEN needs to continue to move forward– the DEN is a GREAT model, but I think it shouldn’t be connected exclusively to people who are customers for a commercial product, like UnitedStreaming. We need more peer-to-peer teacher professional development, and I hope we’ll see more efforts in the months ahead to advance those models of effective professional development.
Yes we need more money for teachers, and we need to keep pushing for that, but we also need to let more teachers know about the professional development opportunities which are available to everyone FREE online… and get more school districts to embrace and champion those opportunities as well.
Remember to follow Wesley Fryer on Twitter (@wfryer), Facebook and Google+. Also "like" Wesley's Facebook pages for "Speed of Creativity Learning" and his eBook, "Playing with Media." Don't miss Wesley's latest technology integration project, "Mapping Media to the Common Core / Curriculum."
On this day..
- Playing with Media in Houston, Texas - 2011
- Education can empower us with skills to act upon the world - 2010
- Sketchcasting: A combination of blogging, talking and drawing! - 2010
- Lots of phone stalls, but not many phones! - 2010
- T3 Grant Notes (ARRA Stimulus funds for Educational Technology competitively released by the Texas Education Agency) - 2009
- Podstock Southwest in El Paso - 6-7 August 2009 - 2009
- Discussing GirlsGoGames.com - A conversation about values and media literacy - 2009
- Moodle as "the killer app" - 2008
- The benefits of unplugging - 2008
- AT&T Education Advocacy - 2006