Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Valuing Physics over P.E.? Wouldn't it be better to evaluate talent?

So today I read an article about different pay for different positions in a school versus the traditional every teacher makes the same pay scale, Valuing Physics over P.E. ....     As a math teacher on a personal level being paid more is rarely disagreeable, and I know that I am severely underpaid by what I can make in the private sector.  But the top pay in this district for Elementary and P.E. is 61K and for HS math is 82K --  that is a 30%+  premium, that is a lot.  (And again realize I am the person most likely to benefit from this.).  And this system still has the pitfalls of the previous system.

I again see this as education's way not to deal with individual teachers and still group employees (teachers) versus actively lead them (manage).  This is an attempt to sub-divide and simplify -- it does not allow for greatness in elementary (and who knows if it deals with crappy performance in the higher paid categories?)  I know there are great elementary teachers in a district of 3000+ educators that should be compensated well, I also know there are mediocre math educators who probably should not get top end pay of 61K even.  The issue is how to review and reward (also how to improve & motivate but that is a whole other can of worms)  -- and this system has the same deficiencies as all schools -- it rewards by job category - because adminstration cannot or does not know how to reward by performance.

I still cannot overcome how different it was in the private sector versus public education.  The private sector is easier though, the end product is easily defined in the private sector -- sales, profit, number of widgets.  Education is not a widget making industry - how a student is taught K-4 is the best indication of how well they will do in High School.  We need to get "rock stars" into the elementary grades but that also means evaluating and rewarding the "rock stars"  -- the system cannot greatly reward very good teachers.  Yet this system caps what elementary makes, and still treats all teachers as simple assembly workers - where they are just interchangeable. 

As person who went from engineering to HS math - I know we have a broken pay system, period.  We evaluate on categories because administration refuses to evaluate and reward.  We must make teaching close to the private sector, while realizing we aren't making widgets, and we must reward the "rock star" teachers wherever they are.  We must evaluate talent and reward it.

('How' is something I will think about and post my ramblings later....)