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

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Haslam Sends BRT Puppet to Help McIntyre Get Funds for Disproven Bonus Pay Plan for Knoxville Teachers

Last year when it came budget time, Slick Jim McIntyre did his best to get an extra $35 million to fund a bonus pay plan for teachers based on test scores.  Even though there are research studies that show these plans have a demonstrated track record of failure, that isn't stopping McIntyre from going back to well to try again.  To help their losing cause this year, Gov. Haslam has put a member of the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce on the case, and with the help of other non-educators and non-researcher, they have conducted a survey designed to provide "data" to make their case.  (SM is now trying to a copy of that survey.)

The other priority item for Eli Broad's Supt. McIntyre is "technology," which means building the capacity for online high-stakes national tests that will be part of the national standards known as the Common Core.  Are Knoxville parents supportive of public schools?  Yes.  Do they want to waste money for the benefit of profiteers and schemers who are draining money from public schools?  No.  Do they believe in good research and frown on attempts at manipulation.  You bet.

Story from Knoxville News-Sentinel:

In 2012 the county’s public schools asked for $35 million more in the county’s annual budget, but received a $7 million increase in funding, and it appears that there may be a similar request in the 2013-14 budget proposal. 
“Last year there was a huge demand by the school system for its budget and we wanted to ask what do people really feel about public education,” said Jennifer Evans, vice president of public policy at the Knoxville Chamber, which has a history of endorsing higher public spending on schools. 
The survey showed that 80 percent of respondents believe that students should have electronic access to course material, the same level of support for increased teacher pay.
“If that requires additional funding, can that be covered by property tax or some other ways?” Evans said. 
The survey results also showed that nearly half of those polled believe academic standards are too low, but two-thirds agree that their neighborhood school is effective. 
Randy Boyd, founder and president of Radio Systems of Knoxville, funded the survey with five other individuals to have data to back the sentiments of Knox County voters regarding education. 
“I hope that everybody involved in the decision going forward might have better information to make those decisions,” Boyd said. 
“Being a business person, I like data, and I felt there was a lack of data on the discussions.” 
Boyd is a known supporter of education. He’s an adviser on higher education to Gov. Bill Haslam and in 2012 he was part of a group that gave $42,000 to the Chamber for advertisements supporting an $35 million for Knox County schools. 
The survey represents a different tack: to provide hard figures on public sentiments about schools through the years. The data will be updated annually and questions may be added, he said. 
“You need to have hard data to make a decision,” Boyd said, “not just opinion or how many people called you last night.” 
Boyd agreed that those most zealous voices on an issue can often drown out sentiments from the bulk of a population.. . . .
The zealous voices are back, Mr. Boyd--and there are more of them and they are louder than ever.

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