Tag Archives: alternative

A Review of TN Experiment on Alternative Teacher Pay

News release from state comptroller’s office:
Four Tennessee school districts have joined a small but growing group of districts nationwide that are experimenting with alternative ways to pay teachers, a new report released today by the Comptroller’s Offices of Research and Education Accountability (OREA) highlights.
Alternative salary plans base teacher pay increases on positive performance ratings rather than on years of service and graduate degrees earned, which are the basis for traditional salary plan increases. Alternative salary plans allow effective teachers to earn higher salaries more quickly than they would under traditional plans. The report, titled Trends in Teacher Compensation: Focus on Alternative Salary Schedules, details how the alternative plans work, what characteristics they share and how they differ from the more common performance bonuses.
The four Tennessee districts – Johnson County, Lexington City, Putnam County, and Trousdale County – that implemented their alternative salary plans in the 2011-2012 school year are scheduled to be joined by three more districts next fall: Haywood, Lincoln and Polk County schools.
Research suggests that the factors used to set traditional teacher salary schedules – years of service and graduate degrees – have limited value as indicators of teacher effectiveness. Tennessee law requires the adoption a state minimum salary schedule for teachers based on experience and training. However, the law was revised as part of the 2010 First to the Top legislation to allow local districts to develop alternative schedules, subject to state approval.
Alternative salary plans allow districts to recognize more effective teachers based on performance measures such as classroom evaluations and increases in students’ test scores. They are generally considered a more financially sustainable way to reward high-performing teachers than paying performance bonuses on top of traditional salary increases. The new plans restructure the salary schedule, eliminating automatic increases for all teachers to redirect more pay to the more effective teachers.
The report found that most alternative salary plans, including those in Tennessee, also feature individual or group bonuses for specific objectives such as meeting student achievement targets, teaching high-needs subjects or in high-needs schools, performing leadership duties or completing professional development goals. The report includes descriptions of the alternative plans in use in Tennessee and selected other districts and states.
Interest in alternative salary plans has been spurred by federal grants, like Teacher Incentive Fund and Race to the Top, and by private funders. In 2010, Tennessee received grants totaling $72 million over five years from the Teacher Incentive Fund and in 2012, the state received another $5.5 million grant. The state has also directed some $12 million of its Race to the Top Grant for a special fund to support districts that want to design and implement alternative salary schedules.
Officials in the districts using the new pay plans indicate that the new plans are more complex to administer and budget and require adequate data systems. Because alternative pay plans are based on teacher performance, the fairness, accuracy and reliability of teacher evaluations can receive additional scrutiny. Districts adopting these pay plans see them as a better way to target resources to recruit and retain the most effective teachers.
OREA is an agency within the Comptroller’s Office that is charged with providing accurate and objective policy research and analysis for the Tennessee General Assembly and the public.
To view the full report online, go to: http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/OREA/

Democrats Propose Alternative State Budget

News release from House Democratic Caucus:
Nashville, TN -House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh joined with Democratic members of the House Finance Ways & Means Committee today in unveiling an alternative to the FY ’12-’13 budget put forward by the Administration. With over $200,000,000 in excess revenue not being accounted for in the Administration’s budget, Democrats believe there is a need for a more measured approach.
“At a time when working families are still hurting and the state is collecting revenue far and beyond what last year’s estimates indicated, it’s irresponsible to leave this money out of the budget,” said Fitzhugh. “A far better option, I think, is to use these funds for the benefit of all Tennesseans, by avoiding unnecessary cuts and making smart investments in our future”
The alternative budget provides another .25 percent cut to the grocery tax, with a plan to reduce it by a full one percent over the next four years. $30,000,000 is appropriated to TSAA grants. A two percent cut to higher education is restored; reducing from six percent to three percent the amount colleges and universities must increase tuition in the 2012-2013 school year. In addition to avoiding cuts to K-12 education, the plan calls for a one-time investment in community colleges and technology centers to expand programming in emerging fields. The alternative plan also avoids cuts to programs that help the elderly and disabled stay in their homes, by fully funding the CHOICES program and Family Support Services.
“We have spent this whole session talking a lot about tax cuts, jobs and education. The budget is our opportunity to put our money where our mouth is. Our plan does that,” said Fitzhugh.
The alternative budget is balanced; it does not use all the excess revenue available and maintains a $50,000,000 contribution to the state’s rainy day fund. The plan also calls for using cash in lieu of proposed bonds on capital outlay projects, saving taxpayers 30 percent to 40 percent in interest rates over the life of the bonds.
“Our plan balances the budget, while avoiding unnecessary cuts and investing in our future. This is a smart approach that leaves the people of Tennessee better off in the long run. It’s just the right thing to do.”

A list of bullet points is below.

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Hardaway Drafting Alternative Redistricting Plans

While Republicans continue to draft new state legislative districts, state Rep. G.A. Hardaway, D-Memphis, says he’ll introduce an alternative redistricting plan for Shelby County that will increase the number of majority black voting districts from nine to 10, reports the Commercial Appeal.
The plan would also protect Democratic incumbents, just as Republicans will likely do for their incumbents.
The Republicans control both houses of the legislature and could simply ignore the plan and others like it that Hardaway and others introduce. Republican leaders drawing maps have not yet released them publicly.
However, Hardaway said that he and supporters are preparing for a possible lawsuit under the Voting Rights Act, which prevents dilution of the voting power of African-Americans or other minority groups.
Hardaway said he’s working with other members of the legislature’s black caucus as well as groups that include the NAACP and the Durham, N.C.-based Southern Coalition for Social Justice.
….Because other parts of the state have gained population relative to the Memphis area, Shelby County is likely to lose one of its six state Senate seats and two of its 16 state House seats. ….(Rep.) Barbara Cooper, a Democrat, has said her District 86 would be combined with Hardaway’s District 92.

Note: There’s a lot of speculation that the primary targets of Republican redistricting in Shelby County are white, not black. By some accounts, Reps. Jeanne Richardson and Mike Kernell can expect their districts to effectively be disintegrated and distributed among districts now held by African-Americans. Something along the same lines is likely to impact Senate Democratic Leader Jim Kyle’s district.

An Alternative to ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill?

While a vote was postponed again on Sen. Stacey Campfield’s “don’t say gay” bill Wednesday, the Senate did approve what some lawmakers see as an alternative.
The new measure, attached as an amendment to SB165 and approved unanimously by the Senate, requires the Department of Education and the state Board of Education to conduct a study of sex education classes and “the teaching of other subjects in which the discussion of human sexuality may occur incidental to the subject.” The department is to report its findings by Feb. 1, 2012.
Knoxville Republican Campfield’s bill, SB49 as amended, calls similar study with the same completion date, but further declares that, after completing the study, the Board of Education must make a ban on discussion of homosexuality part of its rules for classes starting at kindergarten and going through the eighth grade.

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