When determining how a teacher will be paid, the new system will factor in student performance and achievement on standardized tests, in addition to the results of a new, more in-depth evaluation for teachers and administrators created by the Georgia Department of Education.
Right now, salaries are determined by years of experience and the number of degrees and certifications teachers hold, rather than how well a student performs in the classroom.
“We directed (Marietta Superintendent Emily Lembeck) to go to faculty meetings and inform them of what this whole compensation redesign means for them,” said Board Chair Randy Weiner.
He also said that no one on the board hesitated about moving forward with the vote. It was originally scheduled to be up for consideration at the board’s Sept. 17 meeting.
“The only thing we stressed is that the new evaluation document must be solid and they assured us that it would be,” Weiner said.
Education Resource Strategies, a Watertown, Mass.-based nonprofit hired last fall to analyze how the district is using its money, gave a two-hour, 68-page presentation to the board last Friday about how the system could best redesign teacher salaries and the benefits of it.
“The goal is to attract and retain only highly effective teachers and the poor performing teachers will defect to different careers,” Weiner said. “Today, teachers are treated the same, regardless of how effective they are in the classroom, and I think that should be a thing of the past and it will be if the board approves this framework later this month.”
Marietta and Fulton County Schools are the only two school districts in the state planning to roll out the new model. The plan will be fully implemented in the 2015-16 school year.
Lembeck will present the initial plans to develop the new system at Tuesday’s board meeting.
“There is still tons more work to do and it will be done with tremendous input from our teachers, school governance teams and others,” said board member Jill Mutimer.
Mutimer, who has had a new salary system on her radar since first being elected to the board eight years ago, said she understands there’s a lot of information that still needs to be collected.
“I’m going to dig in and get it all explained to me,” she said. “I want to do all the work I need to do to understand all the numbers.”
Connie Jackson, president of the teacher advocacy group Cobb County Association of Educators, saw the presentation last week and said her organization is still undecided on whether members fully support it.
“As a teacher, I personally think it’s exciting that there will be so many opportunities to grow,” she said. “I do worry that taking away experience and degrees is a dramatic shift in education standards, but the reality is that education compensation reform is coming and we just all need to be aware and informed and make the best choices for everyone.”
She said some members are excited to start the new program, but others are still leery and want the teacher and leader evaluations to be solid before moving forward.
“This is the first year that they are going to be using the evaluation district wide, so you want to make sure that everybody gets trained and understands it well,” she said. “Until you assure that, you can’t go into the compensation change.”
The board voted on the new system during its Tuesday meeting.