City leaders ‘committed’ to exploring performance pay for teachers

Friday, August 7, 2009 at 4:16pm

Performance pay for teachers in Nashville is a distinct possibility in the near future.

At a Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce-sponsored forum, Mayor Karl Dean said he was “committed” to being a part of exploring the issue locally.

“This is something that can be accomplished in the relatively near future,” Dean said. “There are obviously some real challenges here. … It’s something that cannot be done overnight.”

And Director of Metro Schools Jesse Register highlighted the “urgency” of teacher compensation reforms, considering the large amount of federal stimulus dollars that should soon be available for performance pay plans. The next step in moving forward, Register said, is putting together a “power team” of Nashvillians to “really consider” the issue.

“I think there is a growing momentum in our country … to pay attention to those things that it will take to have an excellent teacher in every classroom,” Register said.

Friday’s forum pulled together an invited group of local school district, city and state government, and business leaders to hear performance pay experts talk about teacher compensation. Some of the aspects highlighted of effective performance pay plans include community and teacher buy-in, sufficient public or private funds available for meaningful bonuses, and school district organizational issues needed for effective implementation.

Performance pay momentum has been building publicly in Nashville for months. Dean has publicly called for reforms to Nashville’s teacher compensation system, and has stated repeatedly that improvements must be made in where the district places teachers, as well as in how those teachers are compensated.

And a highlight of Register’s pre-Nashville resume is his work with Chattanooga’s Benwood Initiative, part of which included reconstituting the staffs of certain schools and establishing a form of merit pay for many district teachers. The success of the Benwood Initiative has been cited in education research as evidence of the value of performance pay.

Performance pay was a hot — and heavily politicized — issue in Nashville two years ago. Four private donors offered to contribute $400,000 for a pay-for-performance grant at two Metro schools, Alex Green and Inglewood elementary schools. The grant would have allowed teachers at those schools to earn up to $6,000 as a bonus for increased grade-level performance. The possibility fell through due to failed negotiations between the district and teachers’ union the Metro Nashville Education Association (MNEA).

MNEA officials have told The City Paper that they’ll consider talk of performance-based pay models, due to their support of Register and Register’s history of community-based initiatives.


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1 Comment on this post:

By: TharonChandler on 8/10/09 at 4:15

Feed lots Stink!
At this time of year the beef cattle "feed lots" and pork industry "hog barns" take on an extra special aroma that can be whiffed from many kilometers away; obvious on roads from the Panhandle of Oklahoma to Delano California, and as far North as Chicago Illinois. The summer temps get very nice up into Canada, where meat products are also raised, though they typicly are not as disgusting as for growing their cattle all in one place. In places such as Dalhart Texas, a town where rural highways 385 & 54 & 87 come together not far from Amarillo, there are places where all the 'black angus' and the Charalois, and the black & white cows eat together from a steel trough erected outside the perimeter of the same square acre where they sleep, crap, and moo all night and day. They stay up most nights because huge lights, like from a football game, are shined down on them 24/7; this is done so that they will eat more and grow as big and fat as possible. Always there is at least one that has eat himself into a busted gut, layed over on the side though there is not much room. After the feed trucks have come and gone (supplying high quality Alfalfa Hay and grain fodder to the feed bins) and after all the cows have eaten it up for a time, there still are usually some of the cows still trying to stick their head outside the perimeter in attempts to get some fresh air (as they actually have olfactory nerves though people seem not to understand that). They do understand when they must 'pass by' a feed lot and so they roll up the windows, turn off the air, and hold their breath til out of sight, past the stench. The smell is sort of like a lot of dried pee, mixed with wet dookie, and then some rotton poopie. If you have ever driven behind one of the 'cattle drive' trucks, then you might know. If a cow gets hurt in such a situation he is just processed with the rest (usually by immigrant labor). The 'hog barns' are even more inhumane.

In the 1800's prominent Historian Charles A Beard said that "as long as there is Corn in Indiana, and Hogs to eat that corn, then Charles A Beard will bow to no man" (See a History of America, by Charles & Mary Beard). Most people do like some Bacon with their eggs or cereal and I'm no different yet I believe that hogs deserve to live until they die. For the modern pork industry the beasts lay on concrete slab (not a nice mud pond as they prefer) often in a cage where they cannot turn around and rarely do they even 'stand up'. Many 'anti-biotics' are used in their food, just to keep them from basicly rotting, themselves. Chicken coops and egg barns are even nastier