April 18, 2006 Miami-Dade County School Board Meeting

Ira J. Paul representing Independent Voices for Better Education

Public Hearing (E-Comp Update)

I was recently appointed by Chancellor Yecke to serve on the E-Comp Steering Committee. 33 school districts have been awarding bonuses to instructional personnel every year from 2002-2005. Miami-Dade is not one of them.

The performance pay law that was passed in 2001was implemented inconsistently from its inception. Compliance remained flat over time instead of increasing. E-Comp is the first step in ensuring compliance. Most school districts did not award a 5% bonus to 10% of instructional personnel. Some districts required teachers to jump through hoops and required an application or portfolio for consideration of the performance bonus. There were districts that only awarded bonuses to their administrators and 15 school districts awarded no bonuses to instructional personnel during the full duration of the law.

During the summer of 2005, the State Board of Education directed Commissioner Winn to ensure consistent compliance with the law. To do so, changes were needed. Three workshops were scheduled during the fall to gain input. Revisions were advertised and input was received from a number of stakeholders on the proposed text resulting in further modifications. On February 21, 2006, the State Board adopted the amended text.

The goals of E-Comp are: to ensure compliance by establishing a minimum number of teachers to receive recognition and performance awards; to ensure fairness by establishing objective measures of performance; and to ensure inclusiveness by eliminating barriers which prevented some teachers from qualifying for awards.

School districts determine how many teachers are outstanding, but must award at least 10%. Those awarded must include both FCAT and non-FCAT instructional personnel. All FCAT instructional personnel who make the Stateís top 10% the first year will be eligible to maintain their bonus if they remain in the top 25% in subsequent years.

The primary objective measure for all instructional personnel is student performance. Those deemed outstanding will be awarded a 5% bonus.

The law assumes fairness. DOE will use a value neutral table to weight gains made by students so that all instructional personnel have an even playing field for earning the award. DOE will work with school districts of non-FCAT teachers to develop objective measures of student performance.

E-Comp is here to stay. Unfortunately, false information is being put out in an attempt to demoralize teachers. I am here to set the record straight. I believe those teachers who walk the extra mile and go above and beyond what is required of them should be rewarded.

If I did not qualify for the 5% bonus and found co-workers in my department that did, I would be very interested to find out what they did different. This would motivate me and I would try that much harder the following year so that I could get the bonus. I honestly believe most teachers would react the same way.

The legislature has provided a separate pot of money to be used for E-Comp to award bonuses for outstanding teachers who achieve measurable gains in student performance. Those teachers that do not qualify will continue to draw their regular salaries along with all of the steps and raises collectively bargained for. Teachers have nothing to fear; no one will be negatively impacted. There are no hoops to jump through. To be eligible, all you need is a satisfactory evaluation.

E-Comp may not be perfect but it is a step in the right direction. There will be bumps in the road and adjustments will be made as needed. I will be glad to address any suggestions or concerns you might have at the committee meeting Iíll be attending next month.