Archive for September 24th, 2011

September 24, 2011

Contract on California by Larry Sand – City Journal

With California reeling fiscally and education eating up about half of its budget, the state’s taxpayers are being hoodwinked to the tune of billions of dollars by an outrageous contractual perk that pays teachers to take useless classes, ostensibly with the aim of improving their classroom work. The “Teacher Quality Roadmap,” a report from the National Council on Teacher Quality on how to improve teacher performance in the Los Angeles Unified School District, concluded that it is past time to phase out the system of compensating teachers for such courses; a better approach would be to pay higher salaries to teachers who “consistently produce the greatest learning gains.”

Teacher pay in California has a seniority component, called “steps,” and a coursework component. In Los Angeles Unified, if a teacher can manage not to die over the summer and show up in the fall, she’s entitled to a raise. It’s hardly a meritocratic basis for raising pay. The coursework component appears more reasonable at first glance. Common wisdom has it that if teachers take “professional-development” courses in their field, they will become more proficient at their craft. With the rare exception, however, that’s not true.

via Contract on California by Larry Sand – City Journal.

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