Category Archives: Teachers

Professional non-development: Do teacher development programs work?

Do professional development programs for teachers actually develop better teachers? Should the large amount of money spent on teacher development be re-directed to better uses? “The Mirage: Confronting the Hard Truth About Our Quest for Teacher Development,” released this summer by TNTP (aka “The New Teacher Project”), raises serious questions about whether the entire teacher development enterprise should be abandoned.

“The Mirage” raises three issues based on an in-depth exploration of teacher development programs in three large, public school districts and one charter management organization. The report begins by looking for evidence on whether professional development works; i.e., Do teachers become better as a consequence? The second question examined is whether teachers think development works. Then finally, and perhaps most surprisingly, “The Mirage” looks at the dollars spent on professional development and finds that the costs are shockingly high.

Does professional development for teachers work?

Since the districts studied engage in large-scale teacher development programs, one might expect the result to be that teachers to improve over time. Using overall evaluation scores according to each district’s own metric, the study finds no evidence that teachers improve. It’s worth pointing out this is not the first study to come to this conclusion.[1] To state these a little more carefully, teachers typically improve substantially for their first few years in the classroom, with a flat trajectory thereafter—despite spending time in development activities. You can see what happens in this figure taken from The Mirage.

Average teacher performance by experience

Source: Figure 5, “The Mirage”

In order to drill down into the data, the authors of “The Mirage” labelled teachers as “improvers” or “non-improvers.” They ran the classifications a number of different ways, but always relying on each district’s teacher evaluation metric . Notably, the authors did not rely on value-added scores alone.

While overall performance is flat, might we be seeing a mix between improving teachers who received a lot of development support and non-improvers who didn’t? Apparently not. Improvers and non-improvers look pretty much the same when it comes to teacher development. “The Mirage” compared the frequency of a variety of development activities for improving teachers and others. Teachers who didn’t improve spent pretty much the same time being developed as those who did improve.

Frequency of Development Activities
Improvers Non-improvers
Number of times observed over two years 8 7
Hours of coaching over two years 12 13
Hours of formal collaboration over two years 69 64
Hours spent per month in professional development 17 18

Source: Figure 7, “The Mirage”

As the saying goes, absence of correlation does not prove absence of causation. Maybe teachers need ongoing training just to keep from getting worse, although I’m not aware that anyone has made such an argument.

Is it even true that teachers think that professional development activities work? Basically, not so much, according to TNTP. Only half of teachers agreed with the statement that professional development “drives lasting improvements to my instructional practice.” What’s more, nearly half of teachers whose performance did not improve also thought that development “drives [apparently nonexistent] lasting improvements.” In fact, fewer than 45 percent of teachers thought professional development “is a good use of my time.”

How much money is spent on teacher development?

You may—or may not—be surprised at evidence that teacher development basically doesn’t work. What I think you will be shocked by, as I was, is how much is actually spent on teacher development. The headline number from The Mirage is that the three districts they studied spend on average $18,000 a year per teacher on professional development. To give context to $18,000 a year, average teacher salaries are around $56,000. In other words, the cost of development is just a bit under a third of the cost of salaries. That is a very large amount of money. It is an especially large amount of money to spend absent clear evidence of results. It is a disturbingly large amount of money to spend in light of evidence that there are no results, according to “The Mirage.”

Where is all this money going? “The Mirage” does not break down the totals, but does give considerable background on what went into the calculations. The authors provide “low,” “middle,” and “high” cost estimates. The $18,000 headline number is the middle figure; the low end is $13,000 and the high end is $20,000.[2] As an example of the difference, the salary bump that comes with a master’s degree is included in the middle and high figures, but not in the low estimate. Paying for a higher degree is certainly a real cost, although perhaps not the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of a district’s support of “professional development.” But getting a master’s degree does share something with the rest of findings in “The Mirage”—we know that it doesn’t improve teaching.

Teachers spend time equivalent to almost 10 percent of the school year in professional development. Of this time, five to 10 school days each year are devoted to mandated development activities; the remainder is spent on self-initiated activities. So a non-trivial part of the cost of professional development is simply salaries and benefits for teacher time. But the larger fraction is paying for the time and resources of everyone else engaged in development. In fact, “The Mirage” compares the cost of staff training in schools (excluding the part that goes to teacher salaries and salary bumps) to the costs in other large organizations and reports that schools spend four to 15 times more than non-school organizations on staff training. One might speculate as to whether the high levels of spending by schools reflect a set of vested interests in the teacher development biz, but so far as I know there isn’t any evidence on why schools spend so much on training.

Professional development seems like an obviously good idea. Indeed, after writing “we found no set of specific development strategies that would result in widespread teacher improvement,” the authors of “The Mirage” argue “that doesn’t mean we should give up.” Well maybe we should give up. Or at least, maybe we should cut way, way back on what we spend on professional development and devote the freed up funds to higher teacher salaries and more hours in which classroom teachers are in class with their students. In my bookProfit of Education, I argued that the single most important education “reform” would be to pay teachers more…a lot more; my ballpark figure is 40 percent more. The considerable funds now spent, apparently ineffectively, on improved teacher development would be a good down payment towards improved teacher salaries.


[1] “The Mirage” cites several studies reaching similar conclusions including Gersten, Taylor, Keys, Rolfhus, & Newman-Gonchar (2014). “Summary of research on the effectiveness of math professional development approaches. (REL 2014–010),” Beisiegel, & Jacob, “Professional Development Research: Consensus, Crossroads, and Challenges,” Educational Researcher, and  Suk Yoon, Duncan, Lee, Scarloss,  & Shapley (2007). “Reviewing the evidence on how teacher professional development affects student achievement” (REL 2007–No. 033).

[2] Heather Hill’s “Review of The Mirage: Confronting the Hard Truth About Our Quest for Teacher Development” agrees with “The Mirage’s” finding of considerable investment in teacher development, but argues that the headline number is too high.

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Gov. Nathan Deal all in on merit pay for teachers

Gov. Nathan Deal said he’s ready to ask lawmakers to make a “significant” step toward tying the teachers’ pay to their performance in the classroom, setting up a showdown with educators’ groups who have long opposed the policy.

But it’s unclear how much political capital he’s willing to put on the line for the controversial proposal. Equally unclear is whether lawmakers – all of whom face re-election next year – will be willing to sign on for the battle, knowing full well that they will get blow-back from teachers.

Gov. Nathan Deal all in on merit pay for teachers photo
Georgia policymakers have flirted for decades with the of idea of merit pay for teachers, and more than two dozen school districts have received money from the state’s $400 million federal Race to the Top grant that rewards teachers on their performance.

More comprehensive changes have been stalled by critics who question, among other aspects, how teachers will be evaluated and how any pay increases would be funded.

Deal, though, indicated he’s willing to pick a fight with teachers groups. He said he plans to endorse merit pay as part of a broader education overhaul from a reform commission he tapped to recommend changes to the way Georgia divvies up money between 180 school districts.

“We’re not going to go to a fully merit-based pay system, but I do think there is a portion of the teachers’ pay that should go to how good a teacher they are,” Deal said after a recent policy conference. “Now, getting the education community to support that is sometimes difficult.”

The governor’s Education Reform Commission made merit pay one of its top recommendations despite numerous meetings with teachers who didn’t mention it as a priority. It led teachers’ advocates to openly criticize the commission’s work last month, saying the group failed to address more pressing issues such as recruitment and retention of educators.

School districts in Georgia generally pay teachers based on how long they’ve been teaching and degrees they’ve earned.

That forces some teachers looking for bigger pay bumps to move into administrative roles, Deal said. Top administrators earn more than most teachers.

The challenge is coming up with a metric that satisfies skeptical educators groups and policymakers. Teachers advocates often question the reliability and rigor of, say, using test scores or other factors to determine a teacher’s salary.

“We want it to be an objective assessment,” said Deal. “Much of it has to, of course, be subjective. We think there’s a way to do it, and we’re going to try to move it along the road. We’re not going to get as far as perhaps some would like for us to go, but we think the first step is significant.”

A recent analysis by the Georgia Association of Educators, one of the state’s largest teacher groups, evaluated merit plans in other states. “There is little research evidence to support the notion that pay-for-performance incentives have a positive impact on student learning,” the report concluded.

Sid Chapman, president of GAE, said the commission Deal put together to give him guidance included no working teachers.

“The entire process has led to increased low morale among teachers and many are voicing to me that they want to retire as soon possible or leave the profession altogether,” he said. “Proposed changes such as those on teacher compensation and eliminating the state salary schedule will make the morale even worse.”

John Palmer, a Cobb County middle school band director and spokesman for the teacher protest group TRAGIC, said, the group opposes merit pay. “We are not opposed to it because we don’t want to be held responsible. We are opposed to it because they don’t have an effective way to determine how we are doing.”

Palmer said there are so many variables that go into good teaching that it would be hard to construct a model to use to decide who gets merit bonuses. Some teachers, like physical education teachers, might not be eligible. Some teachers work in schools that already have top test scores and are less likely to see big gains in the classroom.

“You can’t just put numbers in and put some statistical model together to tell you how a teacher should be paid,” he said.

By Greg Bluestein and James Salzer
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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Education Reform Commission takes wide-ranging approach to changing Georgia public education

ATLANTA | Lawmakers won’t have a chance to consider the recommendations of the governor’s Education Reform Commission for months, but here’s an early peek at what they’re likely to see.

Gov. Nathan Deal assembled a collection of school administrators and legislators and instructed them to “be bold” in coming up with ways to remake public schools. Among the areas to concentrate on are the formula for allocating state money to local districts, strengthening preschools and streamlining advancement for students as they master their coursework.

Commission Chairman Charles Knapp, who also heads the state charter school commission and is a former president of the University of Georgia, has said he wants to finalize the recommendations next month. After the commission members vote, their report will go to Deal and the General Assembly who will first decide what to translate into legislation and budget changes. Finally, lawmakers will vote sometime after convening in January.

Most observers expect the committee hearings, debates and lobbying will make education reform one of the most visible issues of the 2016 legislative session. So, here are the recommendations that have drawn preliminary consensus.

FORMULA CHANGE

The goal is to shift from what Knapp calls funding activities — like instruction, counseling and administration — to funding students. School choice and early advancement are key goals of Deal and Republican legislative leaders.

The numerical details are still being calculated, but the plan is for students in grades 4-8 to qualify for the base funding amount, which is around $2,700 this year. Other categories of students would be mathematically weighted to get more, such as high school, the gifted, the disabled, those taking job-training courses, those from poor families and anyone who isn’t a native English speaker. The biggest added amount will go to students in kindergarten through third grade.

Of course, many students will be in multiple categories, earning added funding for their district for each. For example, one in three Georgia students comes from a household with income low enough to qualify for free lunch, and some of those will also be gifted or disabled.

One criticism already is that the commission calculates its recommendations based on the current state funding to districts rather than at the amount they should be given under the existing formula in state law.

TEACHER COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS

Deal’s former policy aide for education frequently cites statistics showing no benefit in student performance comes from teachers holding advanced degrees. So the commission is poised to recommend ending pay raises for new teachers who get them.

Instead, for new hires, districts would get a flat amount equal to the average teacher’s salary in the state, about $51,000 today. Funds for veteran teachers would still be appropriated under the existing “training and experience” matrix.

All but two districts already have the authority to pay teachers different from how the state appropriates funds for them. None have strayed from the state’s current method, although a handful of them are considering alternatives to reward performance or entice those with sought-after skills.

However, the commission members seem to agree that any districts that take a different approach should be required to give veteran teachers the option to remain under the current system.

“I think we need to make clear that we intend for current teachers to be protected,” said Rep. Terry England, a commission member and chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

Teacher groups still view the proposal with alarm.

“Salary proposals that fail to account for teacher training and experience may create inequities among veteran and new educators,” notes a statement from the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, the state’s largest teacher organization. “PAGE supports the recruitment of the best and brightest to our profession and supports raising beginning teacher salaries.”

Another teacher group is more outspoken.

“Any pay scale that fails to incentivize experience and education can only be construed as an attempt to drive teachers out of the profession before they reach retirement,” wrote TRAGIC’s Palmer.

Dudgeon said his committee is also recommending free college tuition to future teachers if they stay on the job for a certain period or else repayment with interest. It also recommends a full year of student teaching instead of one semester and extra pay for the veteran teachers who supervise them. Veterans would also get extra money for mentoring newer colleagues. But the extras would not be available to those who opt to stick with the current pay schedule if their districts change.

“It would be like having your cake and eating it, too,” he said.

The committee also recommends no longer offering new teachers a guaranteed retirement amount based on their years in the job. Instead, the state would make the same annual contribution to all new teachers’ retirement plans the way most private companies do.

SCHOOL CHOICE

Proposals before the commission to encourage more enrollment in alternative schools are drawing fire from critics on the left and the right side of the political spectrum for being too generous or not generous enough.

Among them are proposals to ensure buildings used by charter schools are exempt from local property tax. Schools that have bought shopping centers to serve as classrooms where some stores remain in business wind up being declared for-profit entities for tax purposes, but the commission wants them to enjoy the same tax breaks as any other school.

Another plan is to clarify the law requiring local districts to make unused buildings available for charter schools. It would also give charter school organizers a way to appeal any denial of unused buildings.

Teacher groups who oppose for-profit companies that operate charter schools see these proposals as more attempts to bypass state regulations.

“Some on this commission want to hand over public buildings and facilities, tax-free, to for-profit corporations,” TRAGIC’s Palmer wrote. “This will shift taxpayer property and taxpayer dollars to corporations whose guiding principles are profits, not children.”

LOBBYING BEGINS

Among the remaining tasks of the commission is to calculate the costs of the recommendations, which is likely to be one hurdle to acceptance.

Deal has instructed other state agencies not to ask for more money next year, which will save the increased revenue from rising tax collections for at least some of the commission’s recommendations. To cushion the transition to the new funding formula, the commission intends to get extra money for districts that would otherwise see a decrease, which will lessen some of the political opposition.

But opposition from other quarters is already mounting. The teacher groups aren’t waiting for the commission to complete its work to begin their assault on the recommendations they object to.

“Educators and other stakeholders are strongly encouraged to contact the (Education Reform Commission) to provide feedback on the compensation and other ERC recommendations,” notes Margaret Ciccarelli, PAGE’s director of legislative services.

By Morris News Service

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Governor’s education reformers take aim at teacher pay scales

Georgia teachers have been paid for decades by a predictable salary scale, but that could change as a panel working for Gov. Nathan Deal considers an overhaul of education policy.

Teachers get automatic raises as they gain experience and earn advanced degrees, but Deal’s Education Reform Commission is talking about a new way to fund school districts that would ignore those factors.

The idea is to pay more for better student outcomes or for high-demand fields such as science or math.

Districts currently are reimbursed by the state based on where each of their teachers falls on the pay scale. Those districts with longer-serving and more highly-credentialed teachers get more money. The proposal would give every district the same amount for each teacher.

So some districts would get less, which could encourage them to abandon the pay scale.

Erin Hames said the state funding law could be rewritten so that current teachers’ pay is unaffected, but she acknowledged Thursday that most districts will soon be able to ignore such a requirement.

That’s because all but two of the state’s 180 districts are either applying to become, or have already been approved as, “flexibility” districts. This gives them the power to ignore costly state mandates such as maximum class sizes, 180-day school calendars — or teacher pay scales.

The funding proposal is far from a done deal. The commission would have to recommend it to Deal, who would then find a champion in the General Assembly to pass it into law. Deal gave the commission, which continues to study the effects of the proposed changes, a December deadline to make final recommendations.

Craig Harper, spokesman for the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, one of the state’s teacher advocacy groups, said pay is a “big issue” for teachers, but it is unclear now how the proposal would affect each teacher. Some stand to make more money, but others possibly less. He said that creates uncertainty that can hinder recruitment and retention.

Deal needs a way to pay for his reforms without forcing an increase in the amount of state money that goes towards education, and eliminating the pay scale is one way to do that.

Charles Knapp, who is leading the commission, says it must figure out how to divide money the state has for education rather than recommending a formula that mandates an increase in spending.

Proponents of a pay scale overhaul say it could inject new life and enthusiasm into the teaching ranks, encouraging excellence. Others caution that Georgia’s teacher evaluation system may not accurately portray performance.

The evaluation system is built on student test results and teacher observations. However, there have been questions about the fairness of using test results to measure teacher performance because of factors beyond their control, such as student poverty.

“It sounds exciting,” said Dick Yarbrough, a retired business executive with teachers in his family, and a member of Deal’s commission. “The question is the quality of evaluations.”

By Ty Tagami
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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Metro schools have teacher vacancies

The AJC picked up on DeKalb School District’s board member’s article earlier this week.

Not sure if DeKalb’s teacher vacancy failures are related to millions spent on no bid contracts to a recruiting firm

Metro Schools Have Teacher Vacancies
By: Rose French at the AJC

Thousands of metro Atlanta students are starting the school year with substitutes instead of permanent teachers as education leaders struggle to fill vacancies brought on by a shortage of teachers.

It was a different picture a few years ago during the recession when districts were making significant cuts in teaching positions amid budget constraints. Now many school systems are scrambling to fill teaching vacancies because fewer people are going into the profession, due in part to weak salaries and increased stress associated with the job amid more rigorous achievement standards.

Fulton County, for example, had about 40-50 vacancies at the start of school five years ago. Last year at this time the district had 65 teaching vacancies; as of the start of school this week it had 105, and the shrinking teacher supply increases competition to fill those slots.

It’s a scenario thousands of school districts are grappling with across the country, and the result can be hugely disruptive to classroom learning, with students in some instances getting substitutes who are not certified or don’t have adequate experience in subjects or grades they’re teaching. The largest number of vacancies are in math, science, special education and foreign languages.

“If we are placing people in classrooms, who are either not knowledgeable in their subject area and/or not prepared pedagogically to listen to and interact with kids, we’re going to do harm,” said Barbara Stengel, associate chairwoman for teacher education at Vanderbilt University.

“Everybody in their right mind knows what happens when you bring in substitute teachers. There’s chaos and it’s not just for the kids in that classroom for that period. It’s chaos that ripples through a team. It disrupts the day for everybody.”

Metro school district officials say the vast majority of their teaching and support personnel positions are filled by the start of school, but do acknowledge having the substitutes is not ideal. The five largest metro districts say they’re working to fill all the vacancies but don’t know exactly when that might happen.

“Right now we’re 98 percent staffed,” said Tekshia Ward-Smith, chief human resources officer for DeKalb schools. “While not ideal, it is certainly the best option to ensure our children receive the instruction they deserve.”

Ward-Smith says DeKalb has a roster of 550 certified retired substitute teachers. In addition to those, it also has about 500 substitutes who are non-certified, she said.

To address the teacher shortage, DeKalb education leaders say they plan to beef up recruitment efforts, forming close partnerships with teaching colleges that prepare future teachers. The district, which recently gave teachers up to a 4 percent salary increase, wants to also give teachers another pay boost in the next year or two to stay competitive with other metro districts, Ward-Smith said.

Other metro Atlanta school systems also gave teachers pay raises up to 8 percent or more beginning this fall, the biggest jump in years for many educators following furloughs, stagnant pay and increasing class sizes.

“Everybody is certainly out there trying to recruit the top talent, and we want to be right in the market,” Ward-Smith said.

“As we work diligently to fill vacancies, we have trained substitute personnel in the classrooms, and for long-term substitute assignments we require a college degree and often look to retired teachers for those assignments,” said Fulton schools spokeswoman Susan Hale in an emailed statement.

Like other districts, Fulton is giving teachers raises starting this fall. The district is also trying to recruit new and experienced teachers by using hiring bonuses and incentives to teach at harder-to-staff schools. Additionally, the student population continues to grow, which means the district needs more teachers each year, Hale said.

In Cobb, district leaders had planned to hire 100 new teachers for this coming fall as part of an effort to decrease class sizes, which had risen amid budget cuts and furloughs.

When asked for statewide teacher vacancy figures, Georgia education department officials said they do not track the information, which is left to individual districts to compile.

Fewer people are becoming teachers in Georgia and many other states, with large urban districts seeing the most vacancies.

With state funding and local property tax revenue on the rise in Georgia, school systems are choosing to put the extra money toward teachers’ and other employees’ pay. The raises are welcome news after nearly a decade of cuts from the state, though education leaders say the pay bumps are still not enough considering the pressure teachers face with increased accountability standards tied to standardized tests and responsibilities in the classroom.

“There’s been a systematic disrespecting of teachers over the last 10 years, since the implementation of No Child Left Behind,” Stengel said. “As we’ve focused more on test scores … teachers feel like they’re being told what to do rather than exerting professional judgment.”


 

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Pay Raises For Metro Atlanta Teachers

After years of education budget cuts, Georgia school districts are getting an infusion of funding and rewarding teachers with significant raises.

Metro Atlanta area school systems are proposing to give teachers pay raises up to 8 percent or more starting next fall, the biggest jump in years for many educators following furloughs, stagnant pay and increasing class sizes.

“I feel like this is a positive first step,” said Patrice Dawkins-Jackson, a teacher at Dunwoody Springs Elementary in Fulton County, who’s expected to get an 8 percent raise. “Teachers feel like … they’re severely underpaid. For the amount of work and the importance of the work we do, teachers overall say they feel like we should be compensated at that level.”

With state funding and local property tax revenue on the rise, school systems are choosing to put the extra money toward teachers’ and other employees’ pay. The raises are welcome news after nearly a decade of cuts from the state, though education leaders say the pay bumps are still not enough considering the pressure teachers face with increased accountability standards and responsibilities in the classroom.

Fulton is proposing some of the biggest boosts — upwards of 10 percent when “step” increases for years of experience are added. Superintendent Robert Avossa told board members at a recent meeting that the district — the fourth-largest in the state with close to 96,000 students — is not competitive enough on teacher salaries. He said Fulton is losing talented educators to Cherokee, Forsyth and othermetro counties that pay more.

Fulton’s current teacher salary range is lower than several surrounding metro districts. For example, Atlanta Public Schools currently pays new teachers with a bachelor’s degree $44,312 a year, while in Fulton it’s $40,308.

Among all metro Atlanta workers, of all education and experience levels, the average annual wage is $48,750, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

From 2009-11, teachers in Fulton saw no salary increase or bonus. From 2011-13 they received one-time payments. For 2014-15, teachers received a 3 percent one-time payment.

“It’s a very significant raise, and they deserve it,” Avossa said. “This is a really good start.”

Even after the raises, however, Fulton still lags behind other metro counties. And Avossa, who will be leaving to take a superintendent post in Florida, said he hopes teacher pay is boosted even more down the road. In next year’s school budget, he is proposing to give teachers with 6 to 20 years of experience the biggest raises – 8 percent — because he wants to retain them.

“Those are the teachers we want to keep,” he said. “It takes a couple of years to really start mastering your craft. You start hitting on all cylinders … usually about your fifth or sixth year.

“That level of experience, if you walk out the door, you have to start over again.”

In DeKalb, leaders are proposing 4 percent raises for teachers with more than six years on the job, and 3 percent for those with 0-5 years.

The average pay for current teachers in Gwinnett is slated to rise by about 4 percent. In Cobb, teachers will see a 4 percent raise.

Atlanta Public Schools, with one of the highest pay scales in the metro area, does not expect to give raises. APS’ proposed $695 million budget for the 2015-2016 school year includes increased spending due to charter school growth, and cuts to teaching and support staff in schools and in central administration.

In Cobb, teachers will see a 4 percent raise, after years of furloughs and increasing class sizes. The district also wants to hire 100 more teachers in an effort to reduce classroom sizes.

The district recently held its first job fair in nearly 8 years and received about 1,900 teaching applications. The district is looking to hire about 700 total teachers for the next school year – including the 100 new teachers, according to John Adams, deputy superintendent for Cobb schools.

“We think we can make an impression on class size,” he said. “We think we owe it to our teachers. We are all competing for teacher applicants. When the economy picks up … it does get more competitive.”

“Pay is a huge issue,” he added. Cobb currently pays new teachers with bachelor’s degrees $39,347 a year, among the lowest of the metro school systems.

The average teacher salary in Georgia for 2013-14 was $52,924, compared to the national average, which was $56,610, according to theNational Education Association. Georgia ranks 24th in its average teacher salary, compared to other states.

Between 2003-04 and 2013-14, the average salaries of teachers in Georgia dropped 8.7 percent, according to the education association. Teacher pay nationally also declined nearly 3.5 percent during the same time period.

Georgia’s first austerity cut to state funds for education came in 2003. In the years that have followed, the state’s 180 local districts have collectively been shortchanged about $8 billion, based on the state’s funding formula.

While the state has given more to school districts in the past two legislative sessions to try to make up for the cuts, it still hasn’t come close to filling the $8 billion void.

Like a number of other states, Georgia is grappling with a dearth of teachers and is trying to attract more qualified applicants into the profession. Enrollments in teacher-preparation programs have fallen dramatically in some states in recent years, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

Education proponents say teachers need more pay to keep up with the cost of living and because the pressure of their jobs has increased due to more rigorous academic standards tied to high-stakes testing.

“A lot of these new teachers come in and they’re just overwhelmed because so much is required,” said Sid Chapman, president of the Georgia Association of Educators. “It’s (a pay raise) better than nothing, but it’s going to take a lot more to catch up.”

By Rose French
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Yearly salaries for new teachers with bachelor’s degrees in metro Atlanta:

Atlanta — $44,312

Cherokee — $41,915

DeKalb — $41,262

Clayton — $40,742

Fulton — $40,308

Forsyth — $39,990

Cobb — $39,347

Gwinnett — $38,383

Proposed pay raises:

Atlanta — none

DeKalb — 4 percent raises for teachers with more than six years; 3 percent for those with 0-5 years.

Cobb — 4 percent

Gwinnett — 4 percent

Fulton — 8 percent for teachers with 6 to 20 years of experience

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