Diving into the contract numbers

When I started I thought I was going to be outraged. The truth is where I am not thrilled about the numbers they aren’t nearly as bad as I thought they were going to be.

The first set of numbers is what a teacher just starting out can expect to make over the next 25 years if they remain effective or highly effective. The second what a sixth year teacher who stays on a professional services contract can expect to make over the same time, their salaries are locked in no matter what their evaluation is.

If the amounts were a dollar or less on the schedule I ignored them. Then at the end I gave teachers on PSC a 500 dollar raise which is traditionally what has happened.

Figuring a teacher has a career where they are effective then a PSC teacher actually earns a little more than a new teacher who has a similar, effective career. A huge disparity however can result because a new teacher can potentially earn hundreds of thousands of dollars more.

Finally PSC teachers in years 10-21 kind of get screwed when compared to teachers not on the grandfather pay scale though I guess you can argue they can make it up later and they do have work protections, which to a lot of us means a lot.

                                                                                      Year 1                    37,300
                                                                                      Year 2                    37,439
                                                                                      Year 3                    37,629
                                                                                      Year 4                    37,902
                                                                                      Year 5                    38,204

Year 1                    37,800                                                Year
6                    39,800
Year 2                    38,800/39,800                                    Year 7                    40,300
Year 3                    39,800/41,800                                    Year 8                    40,800
Year 4                    40,800/43,800                                    Year 9                    41,300
Year 5                    41,800/45,800                                    Year 10                 41,800
$199,000- 209,000                                                                         $204,000

Year 6                    42,800/47,800                                    Year 11                 42,550

Year 7                    43,800/49,800                                    Year 12                 43,300
Year 8                    44,800/51,800                                    Year 13                 44,050
Year 9                    45,800/53,800                                    Year 14                 44,800
Year 10                 46,800/55,800                                    Year 15                 45,800
$423,000-468,000                                                                     $424,500                                                        
Year 11                 47,800/57,800                                    Year 16                 46,800
Year 12                 48,800/59,800                                    Year 17                 47,800                  
Year 13                 49,800/61,800                                    Year 18                 48,800
Year 14                 50,800/63,800                                    Year 19                 49,800
Year 15                 51,800/65,800                                    Year 20                 51,300
$672,000-777,000                                                                       $669,000    

Year 16                 52,800/67,800                                    Year 21                 52,800

Year 17                 53,800/69,800                                    Year 22                 54,800
Year 18                 54,800/71,800                                    Year 23                 56,800
Year 19                 55,800/73,800                                    Year 24                 58,800
Year 20                 56,800/75,800                                    Year 25                 60,800
$946,000-1,136,000                                                                        $954,000

Year 21                 57,800/77,800                                    Year 26                 62,800

Year 22                 58,800/79,800                                    Year 27                 64,800
Year 23                 59,800/81,800                                    Year 28                 66,800
Year 24                 60,800/83,800                                    Year 29                 67,300*
Year 25                 61,800/85,800                                    Year 30                 67,800*
1,245,000/1,545,000                                                                        1,282,500

Year 26                 61,800/87,800
Year 27                 62,800/89,800
Year 28                 63,800/91,800
Year 29                 64,800/93,800

Year 30                 65,800/95,800

The DTU contract devalues experience.

First let me say it was a lot better than I thought it was going to be, though I don’t think I am going to support for it.

I am going to get a raise and a substantial in DCPS terms raise too. My salary is going to go up a little over 1,300 hundred dollars and to give you some scale, a teacher on the old scale would have had to work 5 years to get a 1,300 dollar raise and I was only scheduled to get a raise of around 700 dollars (I am a thirteenth year teacher on step 12 because of the step teachers lost a few years back).  I am also practically guaranteed a raise of 750 dollars a year for the next few years too. On the old scale teachers didn’t get that raise in a single year until year 13. It’s more money accumulating at a faster rate and I think I hate it.

Here is the problem, if you are a second year teacher and you get an effective evaluation then you will get a 1,000 dollar raise. However if you are a tenth year teacher and you get a highly effective evaluation meaning you are the best of the best. You can only get a five hundred dollar raise. Well you could get more if you gave up your work protections.

A first year teacher with four effective evaluations will catch a sixth year teacher on a professional contract in terms of salary in four years, they will surpass them in their fifth.

The contract says hey if you’re in the middle of the pay scale, years 6 through 20, you can make more money but you have to take less security, it devalues experience unless you want to live year to year.

Also it’s my bet that the union is short changing its members by agreeing to the contract. I bet there are a lot more union members on professional contracts than not and people on professional contracts, people who have been around and successful years are really getting shortchanged.

This is a great deal for new teachers but a poor one for veterans.

I am willing to entertain the though I am just too jaded and too critical on this matter. Any thoughts?

To look at the contract: click the link, http://www.dtujax.com/Teacher_Settlement_Feb_2015.htm 

Superintendent Vitti is great at one thing, making excuses.

There has been an impressive
show of support for the Superintendent in the Times Union recently
unfortunately none of it has come from teachers and parents which should make
us all wonder what they know that the business community doesn’t.
Superintendent Vitti may be
good at a lot of things but without a doubt the thing he is best at is making excuses.
Last year he said changes to Florida’s tests would see our school grades plummet
and he was right.  The Times Union
reported that l
ast year Duval had 46 D and F
schools, nearly 31 percent of its schools, up from 22 percent the year before.
That was an unprecedented and brutal drop.
year he says, we haven’t seen anything yet because our switch to the common
core tests could double the number F and D scores.
is both right and it doesn’t matter. Teaching has become a results orientated business
and thus far with the most important by far metric, student performance, the superintendent
has been a  failure and he even predicts things
are about to get worse.  Earlier this
year he said in the Times Union, I wanted to reach the Super bowl and we haven’t
even reached the playoffs yet.
of Football, I like Gus Bradley the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars and
there are a lot of similarities between him and superintendent Vitti. They are
both young, passionate and work hard. Unfortunately there records are similar
too, Bradley having gone 4-12 and then 3-13. Does anybody really think Shad
Kahn is going to keep him around if we go 5-11 or worse? Mr. Kahn is also not
proposing the Jags extend Bradley’s contract, the way the school board is
proposing to extend Vitti’s for three more years. What is wrong with waiting
until we make the playoffs to extend Vitti’s contract?
the school board does ignore the evidence in front of them and decides to hold
him harmless then shouldn’t they do the same with the district’s teachers and
students? If the board is going to say his poor performance is due to bad
timing and a switch in tests then how can they in good conscious let teachers
who are struggling go too or for that matter fail third grades or prevent students
from graduating that don’t score high enough on this year’s test? It sends a
bad message if the well connected superintendent is held harmless while
teachers and students face consequences.
the business community who fawns over him, I am a teacher and I interact
frequently with other teachers and parents. They think he has done some nice things,
other things that leave us confused and also made some decisions usually with administrative
personnel that have been disasters. Morale is poor for teachers and
communication between them and the district is abysmal. He does not walk on
water which is what the business community would have you believe.
am not saying it’s time to cut ties with the superintendent though I wish he
would spend as much time building positive relationships with teachers as he
does with business leaders. I am saying what’s the rush and why don’t we wait
to the summer or next school year to see what the damage actually is and to see
if the Quality Education for all initiatives, something the superintendent is
directly responsible for, are working. If it’s not too bad and the QEA is
working I and others I believe would have no problem with the board extending his contract but to do
so now, some ten months before they have to and with important data yet to be revealed
doesn’t make any sense.
aren’t we tired of excuses, I feel like with Vitti and this board that’s all we
are getting. I for one would like some results.

WJCT and Gary Chartrand’s unholy alliance.

Everyday on the ride to work I hear what I thought was a PSA for Teach for America on WJCT and I have to tell you it really frustrates me. A Columbia report said TFA greatly exacerbates Duval’s teacher retention problem. They take non-education majors put them through a five week access course and then put them in our neediest schools or the exact opposite of what we know to be best. 

I can’t imagine WJCT would hire anybody with that background but for some reason they support Duval County doing it a decision that many other cities have chosen not to make preferring to work to staff their classrooms with professional teachers or people who might make teaching a career, not something for somebody to do while they wait for grad school. In short Teach for America says experience and education don’t matter, anybody can be a teacher and I and many, many others find that insulting.

So I asked them since there are so many great charities and organizations out there that they could do PSAs for, why have they chosen an organization that is divisive and arguably is bad for students and the teaching profession.

This is what I was told: Thanks for your email. The Teach for America spots that you hear are not PSA’s provided by our station. They are paid messages, underwritten by the Chartrand Foundation. The foundation rotates messages for several nonprofit organizations throughout the year.

This is the same Chartrand foundation that funds their education coverage. Click the link, it says it right there.

So basicaly they are ads paid for by the local face of the privatization movement Gary Chartrand. 
Here is the thing, there is an education debate going on and I and others are on one side and Chartrand and others are on the other. However I don’t think WJCT should be on either, but with these ads, them taking money from him and even giving him awards, it sure seems like they are. 

First Coast high may be the worst place to work in the city.

I have written several times about the bullying tactics that First Coast Principal Al Brennan employs. Now the teachers there have spoken out and done so in a survey which has First Coast ranked in the bottom four percent of schools in the district. Heaven help those teachers in the schools ranked worse.

I was sent a copy of the First Coast survey along with this note which indicates the data may actually be skewed in Al Brennan’s favor.  “If you send it to Chris G. let him know that the entire time we were taking what was supposed to be an anonymous survey, Brennan was walking around the library, looking over everyone’s shoulders. And we were all given the same link to use so not all the surveys counted.”

Note the district average was 87 percent completion but First Coast came in at 70 and who knows if that was because of the principals interference or not.

Here are some things that stood out.

My school is a good place to teach and learn, 29%, district average 71%
School leaders promote a safe and productive learning environment, 32%, district average 74%
School leaders support me when it comes to student behavior, 25%, district average 59%
Leaders at my school seek out feed back from teachers, 19%, district average 61%
My school has effective instructional leadership, 34%, district average, district average 68%

In category after category First Coast was way below the district average and when asked why teachers were planning to leave they blamed the school leadership and the learning environment they had created.

Brennan is bad but is Vitti worse? He has known about the problems at First Coast for quite some time but he has done nothing to improve the situation. He is the one who put this bully in place and then allowed him to stay even after last year when teachers balked in droves. How does Vitti expect First Coast to be successful when the principal he chose to lead the school has created both a terrible work and learning environment.

Does the buck for this failure stop at Brennan’s desk or Vitti’s?

To view the complete survey, and friends it is a disaster paste the link into your browser. file:///C:/Users/Chris/Downloads/First%20Coast%20High%20(1).pdf


Commissioner Pam Stewart gives a big FU to public schools.

Sorry for the colorful letters but that was my first thought when I saw the list of participants of the newly created Keep Florida learning committee, which the Tampa Times describes as designed to review “deregulation opportunities” and identify more parental choice options in public schools, among other goals.

These are the members picked out of several thousand applicants.

2015 Florida Teacher of the Year: Christie Bassett, Polk County
Legislator: Representative Manny Díaz, Jr., a Hialeah Republican who works for a charter school firm and heads the House Choice and Innovation Committee
Principal: Dr. Margaret Fahringer, Miami-Dade County
Teacher: Doris Garcia, Orange County
Parent: Julia (Megan) Hendricks, Pasco County, a testing activist
School Board Member: Patty Hightower, Escambia County, president of the Florida School Boards Association
Higher Education Participant: Joe Pickens, Putnam County, president of St. Johns River State College and a former lawmaker
Superintendent: Dr. Owen Roberts, Alachua County
Legislator: Senator Kelli Stargel, a Lakeland Republican whose husband serves on a charter school board of directors 
Parent: Laura Zorc, Indian River County, a Common Core opponent
Two count them two obvious charter school proponents. Charter schools students make up less than ten percent of the students in the state but their representatives will now make up at least 20 percent of the committee.  The deck continues to be stacked against public teachers and the person that leads the states schools commissioner Pam Stewart is the one doing the shuffling.

The Daytona News Journal’s editorial staff calls for the wholesale firing of teachers

I see the Daytona Beach Journal’s editorial staff read he
policy brief from the Florida Tax Watch criticizing the class size amendment as
their editorial agreeing seemed like it was taken nearly verbatim. I can’t
imagine they read any of the current research which overwhelmingly supports
smaller classes.
I won’t take up much of your time but I do have two
questions. How many teachers does the Daytona Beach Journal think should be
fired because the firing of teachers is really what the Tax Watch is advocating
for when we break it down, where else but from teacher salaries would the
savings come from and how many teachers do they know that thinks they would be more
effective if they had five, eight or ten more students per class.
I would urge the editors to rethink their position.
To read their flawed reasoning, click the link: 

What is Duval County and the New Teacher Project hiding and why?

The school results of a survey the district did came to my e-mail last Friday night. In the news world they call that dumping because who watches the news or checks their e-mail on a Friday night.

The results were specific to my school but I know every school did one. Wanting to see how things were at some other schools I reached out to the New Teacher Project, a group founded by Michelle Rhee and whose main doctrine is you can fire teachers to success and asked if I could see the surveys from other schools, telling them I was thinking about transferring and wanted to get an idea about cultures at them.

They very politely told me to go jump in a lake. Here is their response.

Dear Chris,
Thank you for reaching out about Insight. We share schools’ Insight reports with the teachers and school leaders who work there to support their efforts to improve as a team. If you’d like to learn about the instructional culture of schools where you’re interested in transferring, perhaps you could ask the schools’ principals to share this with you before you apply or as part of your interview process. It might also be helpful to ask about how the schools are using the data to make improvements to their instructional cultures. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have further questions or need assistance with accessing the report for your school; I’d be happy to help with that if you need it.  
Alexandra McPherson
The Insight Team

To which I replied.

 I am sad to say that was no help at all. I don’t understand why there isn’t a site I could go to and look at any school I chose to do so. I now feel like you are hiding something which is beyond me. So I will reach out to all my friends across the district and ask for their surveys and then when I get them I think I will start a blog called what is the TNTP hiding and put them all out there. I should have 30 or so by the end of the week.
Seriously its silly, I or parents or anybody who just had a passing interest couldn’t just look at them. I mean the surveys were paid for with tax payer dollars weren’t they? Shouldn’t we all be able to have a look? The TNTP and district obviously think otherwise which makes me wonder, just what are they hiding.

The Times Union’s one sided education coverage

In the last four days the Tmes Union has published three column length editorials from Micheal Ward, the president of CSX, Danial Davis of the Chamber of Commerce and today reverend Torin Daily of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund which all have basically said our super walks on water our board is great and we are finally heading in the right direction.

I would like to point out that none of these editorials came from a parent or a teacher.

The truth is the super has done some nice things, made his fair share of head scratches too and been pretty mediocre over all. Then every time he takes or others give him credit for things that were improving before he got here (graduation rates/college readiness) I and others shake our heads in disbelief. The truth is we’re a long way from wear we should be or could be.  

Before you just dismiss me, I want you to remember the pieces the Times Union used to print about Pratt-Dannals which would say, we finally have the super and board that we need.

Painting this all is well narrative does our schools and city a disservice.

The Times Union’s job should not be to shill for the super and district it should be to keep us all informed.

The illusion of school choice in Florida.

I wonder if everybody knows that schools that accept money
diverted from the state treasury to pay for vouchers don’t have to take the
states required tests. A norm referenced test is all that is required of them.
If that level of accountability is fine for them then why are public schools
subjected to high stakes tests? Since both are basically paid for with public dollars
shouldn’t what is required and good for one be required and good for both?
I also want to remind everyone that many of our leaders
in Tallahassee often talk about education choice and how parents know what is best for their children.
Since that is also the case then how can they not allow parents to opt their students
out of whatever high stakes tests they are required to take? If we are going to
defer to a parent’s choice of what school their children go to, then shouldn’t
we also defer to their choice of what type of test their child takes or not?
If Florida does not allow parents to opt out then all high
stakes tests are is a mechanism used to punish our children, teachers and schools
and sadly the reality is that is one of the worst kept secrets around.
We should tell education commissioner Pam Stewart and Governor
Scott to either respect the choices of parents or to stop pretending they are.