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Thursday, November 29, 2012
Leeward HSTA Proposes 'Quality Teacher in Every Classroom Act'
By News Release @ 1:38 AM :: 6219 Views :: Maui County, Education K-12, Energy, Environment

Posted on HSTA Work to the Rules November 27, 2012

A Quality Teacher in Every Classroom was approved by Leeward HSTA to be shared with the HSTA board on Sat. This act truly tries to reform education in Hawaii, with its main focus that to improve education you must support teacher with fair compensation. Read act below:

A Quality Teacher in Every Classroom Act

The public education system in Hawaii has been in crisis for years with Hawaii being ranked in the bottom five of all states in both NAEP and SAT testing with The National Council on Teacher Quality ranking Hawaii as "Last in Class" in 2007. This inadequate state of education has led to an exodus from the public school system with Hawaii having the highest percentage of children attending private schools, and with only 12 out of every 100 ninth grade students completing college. The best way to improve education study after study has shown is teacher quality. Research shows that student achievement is more heavily influenced by teacher quality than by student's race, economic class or previous academic record. The problem in Hawaii is how to get, keep and retain effective teachers, with over 56% of teachers leaving after five years of teaching, and up to 1600 vacancies each year. The fact is that the poor pay creates this revolving door of teaching with Hawaii teachers having the worst "comfort level" and the lowest standard of living in the entire nation. In order to improve education in Hawaii we need great changes. A Quality Teacher in Every Classroom Act can achieve these goals through the following measures:

 1) In order to improve education we must improve the quality of teaching by making teaching salaries competitive with comparable districts.  (Please see accompanying chart, this was posted on Sat.) When Washington DC implemented a higher salary scale for teachers, they were able to retain 88% of teachers who were rated "highly effective". A higher salary would encourage more qualified applicants to join teaching and retain highly effective teachers.

2) Fully funding and implementing Act 167 which calls for extending the school day in 2013 to 180 days of school and offering at least six hours of instruction per day. Currently there is not enough funding to implement this plan to extend the school day.

3) Evaluating every teacher by having four unannounced visits of "master teachers" during the school year. Evaluators may use many factors to determine the quality of a well-rounded teacher. A teacher who has 2 or more unsatisfactory evaluations per school year will be put on probation and will be given a mentor teacher to improve teaching. If during the probation year the teacher still receives 2 or more unsatisfactory evaluations, the teacher shall be dismissed pending an appeal process. But this evaluation system needs to be accompanied by higher salaries; otherwise it is a futile endeavor, since already there are not enough teachers each year.

  *   *   *   *   *

Wil Okabe, President of HSTA, Responds to Independent Actions Being Taken by Hawaii Teachers

News Release from HSTA November 28, 2012

“Today’s press release by one of our teachers initiating his own efforts on behalf of his teaching colleagues is simply a reflection of what is happening throughout Hawaii’s public schools. More and more teachers are becoming increasingly frustrated with the State’s 18-month failure to come to a fair resolution over the teacher’s contract. In the months ahead, I know there will be many more independent efforts by teachers to end the stalemate.”

“I would never compare myself to a leader of the historical significance of Mahatma Gandhi, but I do draw inspiration from how he reacted when his people moved ahead of him. Gandhi said: ‘There goes my people. I must follow them, for I am their leader.’”

“In that spirit, I want teachers who are initiating actions, inside or outside HSTA’s formal structure, to know that I will join them in any legal and constructive action they initiate that will increase public attention and support for our cause of a dignified contract resolution.”

  *   *   *   *   *

 

Excerpts from Discussion posted on Facebook:

David Carr

The above post is making my spider-sense tingle.
There is no trace of "A Quality Teacher in Every Classroom Act" online. There is a _report_ by that name, but no "Act." Can you give a source for the Act?

You cite a report from the ultra-conservative National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ). From Diane Ravitch's blog:

"Today, NCTQ is the partner of U.S. News & World Report and will rank the nation’s schools of education. It received funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to review teacher quality in Los Angeles. It is now often cited as the nation’s leading authority on teacher quality issues. Its report has a star-studded technical advisory committee of corporate reform leaders like Joel Klein and Michelle Rhee."

In case anyone here does not know, the Gates Foundation, Rhee, et. al are the leaders in the assault against teacher unions and are leading the attempt at privatizing public education.

NCTQ was also "one of the organizations that received funding from the Bush administration to get positive media attention for NCLB."

Also in your above post you cite the "88%" retention rate miracle in Washington DC. Does this also refer the Michelle Rhee's tactics? Rhee was all about increasing pay, but the cost was busting up unions, eliminating tenure, and creating a class of teachers vulnerable to utterly unfair and unsubstantiated "teacher assessments" that tied teacher assessment to standardized test scores. DC also was plagued by cheating scandals as a direct result of the teacher assessment regime put in place there.

You seem to echo Rhee by saying that "The best way to improve education study after study has shown is teacher quality. Research shows that student achievement is more heavily influenced by teacher quality than by student's race, economic class or previous academic record. "

Here is Rhee finally getting a debate, not on US tv, but the BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-18592185

The reality is that, like crime rates, low test scores correlate directly to poverty. Ravitch again:

"Because poverty is the single biggest cause of the achievement gaps. If you’re looking to raise test scores, you would be focused on making health clinics available to children in poor neighborhoods. And you would have prenatal care for every woman who becomes pregnant. Those are the things that would increase test scores.

If you want to fix public education, then you have to do something about the lives that children lead. There are a lot of children coming from very desperate circumstances, and if you don’t attend to what their needs are, you’re not going to fix their problems."

For a good explanation on the limit of teacher impact on student performance from an educational research perspective see "Margaret Wu - Student Assessment Data for Accountability":

It's not that teachers should not be payed well or helped to improve, but the description above of targeting them for termination in their early years, when ALL teachers are just starting to understand the job, seems to create something of a hostile environment.

Your post doesn't make clear how exactly you assess teachers, or if the Rhee/Gates method of basing them in part on student test scores is involved.

I am tired from work and did not have time to follow up every aspect of your post, but thought it important to raise some questions about it.

Keep up the good work on the work to rule campaign.

Hawaii Teachers Work To The Rules

Thank you David, let me try to respond. A Quality Teacher in Every Classroom, won't be online because we created it. The acts goal is to bring up teacher's salaries in Hawaii so they are competitive with similar districts on the mainland. We are asking the legislature to take up a reform act to transform education in Hawaii. If we are going to ask to improve teacher salaries inevitably there will be a demand for teacher accountability as part of the package. Instead of waiting for someone else to make up the criteria what we are asking for is a neutral observer not an administrator, not some multiple choice test to be the one to evaluate us. We are also not having teachers fight over merit pay, but all teachers that having been rated satisfactory or above will get the raise. The Gates model stated above was not taken from a conservative website, its point is to illustrate through their study that the best way to evaluate teachers is through observation. Our fight is to improve children's lives. The teachers organizing this movement have been working long hours, after all of other responsibilities from school and home, in the hope that our movement can improve teacher quality in Hawaii, and thus change many kids lives.

David Carr

I'm glad you oppose merit pay. But you did cite a far right organization, NCTQ, as part of your outline of the "crisis" facing Hawaii teachers. You and i know that Hawaii's teachers are already highly effective, hard-working, and well trained. The real crisis is this: "The new estimate from the U.S. Census Bureau places Hawaii seventh-highest in the nation for poverty. Under the old formula, the state ranked 32nd, according to Thursday's Honolulu Star-Advertiser (http://is.gd/zLPSu9).

Source: http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/New-calculation-boosts-Hawaii-s-poverty-rate-4040899.php#ixzz2DZE8d8Pc

Your description of the crisis is alarmist and misleading. I don't support NCLB or RTTT but even this mainstream website notes that Hawaii is not underperforming by NAEP standards:

NAEP overall gains in scores from 2003-2011

Hawaii’s rankings in comparison to the nation are:

Grade 4 mathematics: 4th highest gains in the nation.

Grade 8 mathematics: 5th highest gains in the nation.

Grade 4 reading: 14th in the nation in gains

Grade 8 reading: 4th highest gains in the nation.

surce: http://hawaiidoereform.org/enews/2011-11/naep-hawaii-stands-out-in-math-and-reading-gains

As a speaker at the recent First Annual Labor Fest Hawaii noted, the "crisis" in education is a manufactured one, which serves as a justification to undermine teacher/worker power.

I support your work to rule actions. I don't know all the details of the report you mention, but from your post, some of it sounds misguided. It sounds like a potential caving to the neo-liberal reform regime, with some qualifications.

Danny Pecoraro

David- I love your enthusiasm in the cause. I can only speak from my experience as a teacher, but the crisis I face deals with not being able to pay my bills. Neo-liberal reforms are sweeping the country, and in my opinion, part of the problem. I am teaching university students at night to pay my student loans and maintain cell phone coverage. My students (both high school and university) consistently show gains which I am glad you referred to. My sister recently left Hawaii to teach in VA where she makes $15,000 more. In my experiences, you get what you pay for. D.C, MD & VA are retaining effective teachers because they pay them.

 

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