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Is there hope for evaluation changes with union support? Maybe San Jose USD has a possible example in the works!

posted Feb 21, 2013, 2:26 PM by Gary Jones   [ updated Feb 21, 2013, 2:27 PM ]

The superintendent of San Jose Unified and leaders of the district’s teachers union have agreed on an innovative evaluation and compensation system that, if implemented, would be significantly different from any in California. With education groups in Sacramento and legislators still bruised over a grueling, failed effort to revise the state’s teacher evaluation law last summer, the San Jose plan offers hope that a progressive compromise on divisive issues is possible.

  • Among the significant features in the San Jose agreement:
  • Pay and performance would be linked; teachers who receive an unsatisfactory review, triggering an improvement plan, would miss a raise on the scheduled salary scale for that year.
  • Consulting teachers – a newly created position – would participate with the principals on all evaluations of probationary teachers and on evaluations of experienced teachers if requested after a principal’s initial review; Teacher Quality Panels, made up of teachers and administrators, would review decisions at key junctures along the way.
  • An evaluation would include multiple perspectives of a teacher’s work, as measured by informal classroom walkthroughs, formal observations, interactions with the principal, feedback from peers, a student/parent survey, and personal reflections. Measures of student growth would be an integral part for all teachers, not just those in grades and subjects given standardized tests. California Standards Tests, which are to be phased out in two years, won’t be used; district tests that establish growth over the course of a year might be. Assessments for Common Core standards, which will be rolled out nationally two years from now, will be studied to see if they’re appropriate for evaluations.
  • There would be new career positions offering pay that’s about 10 percent higher for a model teacher and 30 percent higher for a master teacher than the new maximum for a veteran teacher; the new career opportunities would be renewable three-year assignments for about the top 20 percent of teachers who’d be selected through a rigorous application process.
  • Teachers could opt into a new, compressed salary scale in which they would reach a salary level in 13 years ($79,500) that they now reach in 21 years, but they also would max out at that salary level. Teachers with 30 years experience now earn $87,228. The only way to make more money under the new scale would be to become a model or master teacher.
As a point of reference: Modoc COE teachers at 21 years earn $71,002 and at 30 years earn $77,841.