The district blows six hundred grand on a study that blames teachers for poverty.

Let me give you some scale. Six hundred grand could have paid the salary for about ten social workers for a year who could have serviced hundreds of our neediest kids. We could have used that money to really make a difference but instead we hired a blame the teacher organization that came up with a blame the teacher study.

Let me now tackle their incomprehensible logic.

First they never use the word poverty when describing our schools preferring to use the words “high need” but ignoring poverty is nothing new. After all if they didn’t ignore poverty they couldn’t very well blame teachers.

The study says: High-need schools lose top teachers at higher rates and hire lower-performing teachers to replace those who leave.

By lower performing they mean new and inexperienced though I think I should point out that the district exacerbates this problem by relying on Teach for America. Most of these teachers at these “high need” schools if given the support and put in positions were success is possible will develop into great teachers over time, sadly however that is not what usually happens.

So the study itself says inexperienced and new teachers don’t do as well as experienced ones but that doesn’t stop the study from saying: 

In Duval County, there is no difference between the pay of the most and least effective teachers. The largest raises go to teachers with 20 years or more experience.

Most annual step increases are less than 3 percent until teachers are higher on the salary schedule, the study showed.

That means a highly effective teacher relatively new to the district will make less, sometimes a lot less, than a lower-performing veteran teacher.

Over a teacher’s 24-year career, $173,926 to $292,357 of total compensation will be based on seniority and advanced degrees. That money could be reallocated to provide capital for performance-based compensation, according to the study.

But wait a minute the study just said new and inexperienced teachers don’t do as well as experienced ones. The authors of the study, The New Teacher Project, who are part of the corporate reform movement, which derides, experience, education and tenure obviously think they can have their cake and eat it too.

The truth is experience and education matter no matter how you slice it so why can’t they see that and why is the super giving the study, “high marks”?

It is because the TNTP and the super do not respect teachers, they don’t know nor do they appreciate all that they do and that is where we find ourselves and until something changes, until the super wants to work with teachers instead of merrily giving high marks to a study that slams teachers we will continue to have our issues. 

The good news is we can turn this around; respect teachers, put them in places where they can succeed have academic and behavioral supports for both them and children. The bad news is we have an admin and super in place that would rather spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a blame the teacher study instead of using that money to help our teachers and kids. 



3 Replies to “The district blows six hundred grand on a study that blames teachers for poverty.”

  1. Let's be real for a second. We don't have that many veteran teachers! In my department of about 14 teachers, the most experienced teacher has 9 years of teaching experience. Everyone else has an average of about 2 years teaching in a high school setting. Veteran teachers are few and far between. When I think of veteran, I think of someone with years and years into the system, not 9 years! Only 1/2 of teachers stay after 5 years anyway; it has been way worse at my school. In this same department, only that one teacher with 9 years of experience has been at that same school for more than 2 years. Literally, 13 out of 14 teachers have been at this high needs high school for 2 years or less. You know why? It is a difficult job! Several left because they were TFA with a 2 year commitment; others left for easier teaching situations. Some left because they were incompetent and could not handle the stress. Most who come in now don't stay long enough to prove effectiveness or lack thereof. Anyone with a brain knows that scores reveal only a small part of the picture, and if Vitti thinks that taking away the steps of seniority will create a better picture, he is delusional. I am that teacher with 9 years and a Masters, I only make $41,000. I am not raking in the big bucks, but I have resigned myself to a future when I will make a decent paycheck at 25 years in…At least, I thought I would earn that one day. What kills me is that I put in 100% every day; no teacher thinks to him/herself that I will work harder to earn an extra $10,000. It just doesn't work like that. I was even offered the opportunity to transfer for the bonus money as a highly effective teacher. I deleted the email immediately, as I have seen others who leave for the greener grass, and in a couple of years, they transfer to other surrounding schools. Bonus money never works! If I thought it would, I would have left my current struggling school.
    I have seen the VAM scores that would dictate teacher compensation, and I can readily tell you that some of the teachers at the top are not the top teachers. I would not let my own children stay in those teachers' classes, and conversely, many teachers who are midway through the pack are amazing, dedicated teachers. VAM and student growth scores tell, at best, a mixed up view of teacher effectiveness.
    If Vitti doesn't value experience, he should just remove every last teacher with experience and see where that gets him. PLC's would be frightening, students would have no sense of consistency, and there would be little to no learning going on. Most new teachers arrive having little knowledge of WHAT to teach, let alone HOW to teach it.

  2. It's not poverty it's parenting. I grew up poor, fatherless, lived in public housing. But we weren't low class. In fact the neighbors weren't either. None of us had fathers or money, just discipline. if you did wrong, you were grounded. It's really pretty simple. Jakesonbeel is just a low class town.

  3. The whole study was a waste of money and a way for Vitti to justify the damage he is doing. Did the study address the fact that elementary schools are having curriculum written containing numerous errors? Did they study address the fact that novels are being selected based on price rather than quality? Did the study address the fact that our textbooks are out of date and the county is refusing to purchase the materials? Did the study address the fact that Duval has become top heavy again? They spoke to the school based coaches for input on quality instruction. Did they mention that a large number of the school based coaches have NEGATIVE VAM scores, the very scores that supposedly indicate quality? Vitti's goal, it would seem, would be to turn Duval into a charter school haven and then find a lucrative job leading one of those companies once he has destroyed the district and driven away the quality teachers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *