"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ask Eli Broad's Jim McIntyre for His "research and experience" to Support Corporate School Reform Costs

While the local corporate media of Knoxville continues to print any kind of unsubstantiated charges or rumors against teachers, all the while ignoring the grassroots movement emerging against the corporate education reform schools tide from Eli Broad disciple, Supt. Jim McIntyre, the other local media outlets have picked up the slack with detailed stories about the growing pushback against McIntyre's unexplained 35 million dollar increase in the Knoxville Schools Budget.

The Knoxville Focus (This Week's Issue in pdf), for instance,  has more than one story this week critical of McIntyre and the Business Roundtable's edu-plan.  Word has it that the articles are so pointed that McIntyre has sent around a squad to collect all the copies that are normally available in the Knoxville Schools.   

Meanwhile, McIntyre has inserted a video propaganda piece on the website of every Knoxville school that has a website.  In the infomercial for his plan, McIntyre provide zero details on his planned increase in spending, which has the blessing of the local and state business roundtables, as well as the PTA (now owned by the Gates Foundation).  McIntyre saves his outright lies for near the end of the ad, with this: 
"The reason for that structural increase would be to allow us to make very specific investments in instructional quality [bonus pay for test scores to the tune of $27,000,000 over 5 years] and in the education of our children, and to make some specific that we know will make an impact--a very positive impact--on student academic achievement in the future.  I'm not asking for a whole lot of money and just saying, 'really, just trust me, I am going to do good things with it'--what we are asking are some dollars [35 million of them] for some very specific investments that we know from research and from experience will impact positively on classroom instruction . . . . "
The areas of largest increase that exceed, in fact, the $35 million over five years, are aimed to 1) create a teacher bonus pay plan for test scores, 2) create a technology infrastructure that will allow classroom monitoring and anytime online testing w/instant monitoring and feedback, and 3) increasing length of the school day and/or school year.  

The question that has to be asked is, where's the beef?  Where is this research and experience that grounds the expensive desire for bonus pay for high test scores, surveillance of classrooms and online testing, and for increasing the time spent in school? 

Ask McIntyre is his crackerjack staff if they looked at merit pay programs in Chicago, Nashville and New York.  
None of them worked.

Ask Dr. McIntyre, too if he is basing his plan to lengthen the school day and/or school year on the lie that Arne Duncan likes to tell about the that time U.S. children spend in schools compared to Indian and Chinese children. This canard was exposed in December by real researchers, rather than political hacks who are bed with the Gates and Broad Foundations. Link: http://www.centerforpubliceducation.o...

If Dr. McIntyre and the Business Roundtable that support his further drain of public funds to support the corporate deform movement really want real research and experience, that experience is in every school in Knox County where it is ignored on a daily basis, and the empirical research abounds that universally warns against the use of test scores for making high stakes decisions in schools. Send Slim Jim McIntyre a copy of the 19 page letter that the National Academies of Science sent to Arne Duncan in the Fall of 2009, the same one he ignored when crafting his RTTT plan.

Finally, ask Dr. McIntyre why he won't admit in his public meetings that he wants to replace the woefully-underfunded salary schedule for teachers with a bogus bonus pay plan based on test scores?  In a recent article in another of Knoxville's non-corporate media outlets, MetroPulse, there was this (notice that McIntyre says nothing about the body of research that declares his planned strategy ineffective):
McIntyre says, “There’s not a lot of research that says these step raises make a lot of difference in terms of student instruction and outcome. So you want to find a compensation structure that will incent and support great instruction.” Which is to say that step raises could become a thing of the past.

Beyond that, he suggests that, “If we had the resources to give a 3 percent raise, rather than doing it all across the board, you might do 1 percent across the board and put the other 2 percent into additional strategic comp. So over time you still have base pay and it’s still increasing at a relatively modest rate, but strategic comp becomes a much larger proportion of the total. That’s where I would like to get to.”
And finally, here is a Knoxville teacher's response to the MetroPulse article.  Please read this:
jenniferdawn84 writes:
I know that McIntyre feels like performance-based pay will reward the top performing teachers for their work and even weed out teachers who are not performing as high, but it is actually doing the opposite.

My 37,000 salary is no where near the above quoted $45,000 average nor is it near what teachers in other systems are making. My valued added scores have been wonderful and my last evaluation was 4's and 5's on the new 1-5 scale. Good teachers are not doing this job for the money though. The money is not worth the enormous pressures that the job presents. It isn't worth dealing with the aftermath of having our evaluation scores made public this summer. Unless you have spent extensive time in a school building , you have no idea what the life of a teacher is like today. The pressures are immense and the expectations often impossible. For good teachers it isn't the pay that continues to drive them...it is feeling like in someway we are making a difference. In the midst of PLC's, TAP, performance-based pay, cluster meetings, data-driven teaching, TCAP, rubrics, children are fast becoming nothing more than numbers on a page. The human element is disappearing. A retired teacher once told me, "Never forget, You are teaching children, and not books." Sadly, as the pressures rise for teachers we, too, are becoming nothing more than numbers on a page--value-added scores, Think Link scores, TCAP scores, salary, performance-based pay bonuses.

There is a grade of teachers at my school who have some of the highest value added scores in both the county and the state. (For those of you who don't know what this means...it is basically the measure of what a student has learned from one year to the next. How much knowledge have they gained? If the student has spent a year in your classroom, then they need to show a year's worth of gains.) Two and possibly three out of the four teachers in that grade will not be returning next year. Why? Because throwing a bonus their way is not enough to keep them around despite the fact that they are some of Knox County's best teachers. I know of many teachers who will be leaving the system or even the field of education entirely, and they aren't the teachers who McIntyre hopes to weed out. They are the ones who are doing their job and doing it to the best of their ability. Good teachers are being crushed like a cherry and not "cherry picked".

1 comment:

  1. School education matter in all the department for the students. Knoxville school news blogs continues to print any kind of unsubstantiated charges or rumors against teachers, all the while ignoring the grassroots movement emerging against the corporate education reform schools. School news blogs performs all the activity under his blog.