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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Representative Proctor is either cluelss or thinks we are

With all due respect to Representative Proctor the “Teacher Merit Pay” bill which could have been called the “teaching profession killing bill.” Is he clueless or does he think we are? If this bill is so good for teachers why are they overwhelmingly against it? This is just a bad, bad bill and the reasons are many.

First the evidence overwhelmingly shows merit pay does not work. Teaching is a lot more complex than pay the best and fire the rest but Proctor, Wise and others will have you believe it is. Don’t we want our reforms based on things that work, not catch phrases designed to excite the masses?

It doesn’t get rid of teacher’s tenure because they never had it. Instead it gets rid of teacher’s right to due process and makes them at will employees. Mr. Proctor says most employees are at will and that quite frankly is not true. Most shops union and otherwise have some protections for employees that pass a probationary period. This bill in effect puts teachers in a permanent probationary status. You know whom this bill will affect, teachers who question, teachers who don’t want to take on extra assignments and teachers for whatever reason administrators don’t like. Regardless if they are good or not they will now all be in a position where they can be summarily let go.

The bill creates billions in unfunded mandates that will suck money out of schools to the private sector. Tests are not just going to be developed and create themselves. Then where is the merit pay going to come from? Scott is about to cut 3 billion from education and most districts are already experiencing severe budget issues.

It increases testing, which is already many feel is already sucking the life out of education. Also how are we going to have fair tests for the arts (if any survive) and for ESOL and ESE teachers?

It will make finding good young teachers harder to do and older teachers harder to retain. Most new teachers now don’t last five years. Fewer and fewer teachers are making it a career, this bill will exacerbate that trend also how are people going to make life decisions if they have no idea what their finances are going to look like?

And where are we going to find teachers to work at our struggling schools, you think the turnover is high now well in a few years they will be devoid of teachers all together, why would anybody want to go there knowing they could be fired in a heartbeat. In Hillsborough county only three percent of the teachers in their most struggling schools were eligible for merit pay.

Then the number one reason the bill is bad it will be unfair to a colleague of mine. My colleague is the best teacher at my school and has been so since the day I walked through the doors. Not only is he a friend and mentor to all but he provides excellent instruction and guidance to his students. He goes above and beyond and he hasn’t received merit pay once. I am no gift to teaching and I have received it but he hasn’t. He is not a self-promoter, he just shows up and does his job and it doesn’t help that he teaches a non f-cat subject to nontraditional kids. This bill will not help him nor will it make his life easier. Any bill that makes his life harder is a loser.

This bill is designed to do one thing and reward the best teachers it isn’t. It is designed to further handicap public education so Scott, Wise, Proctor and their ilk can drain more money away into the private sector. This is about how their friends can make a buck.

Representative Proctor this is a bad, bad bill and you should be ashamed of yourself not just for supporting it but for trying to present that it is anything but such. You won sir, you helped pass the bill and your letter is not just like rubbing salt in the wound of all current and future teachers but it shows just how out of touch you are.

Chris Guerrieri
School Teacher


  1. With all due respect, your blog represents one of many reasons why we need this bill.Your writing and grammar are atrocious. AND you're a school teacher!!

    Point made.

  2. It's funny, when somebody says, with all due respect it usually has no respect behind it. If Guerrieri taught grammar I would probably agree with you but despite his spelling and other mistakes his messages comes through loud and clear and are appreciated by many.

    People who care about kids and education for example.

  3. You're probably right regarding the "with all due respect," comment, as Guerrieri, too, began his commentary.

    In addition, I don't think it really matters if he [Guerrieri] teaches English, science or math. When I assisted in teaching a film course at Florida State, part of the grading process involved grammar.

    That being said, you would think that a Florida teacher who takes a pot shot at Rep. Proctor (who by the way has been in the field of education for over 50 years) and the Teacher Merit Bill, would have enough sense to ensure that the blog itself is not poorly written.

    I stand by my prior statement that it "proves my point."

    I wouldn't want someone teaching my child who would write such a heated blog, yet not even take the time to edit it. It looks bad.

  4. There are just so many variables involved here. Philosophically, are we looking to reward teachers that do the most with the students they have or are we looking to reward the teachers that get the most students from point A to point B? Are there any "value-added" models that effectively measure all of the various courses taught? I think most of the legislators are assuming an elementary model of education where 20 students are instructed by one teacher for an entire day. How will I be measured? I teach anywhere from 2 to 5 different classes in a year. Will I be rated effective in some courses, but not others? Will I be given an average? Will there be transparency in this system? The current merit-pay system in Duval County allows for the teacher to submit a grievance, but we don't know what the targets are or where the cut-offs are or which "silo" we are contained in. Where is the incentive for teachers to improve if we don't know what the goals are? I do understand the idea that we want to get the process started, but in addition to the ridiculous number of tests that need to be developed, there will also be a costly infrastructure to oversee the process. I just think the system as envisioned will introduce a level of instability that was not intended. What if some new up-and-coming teacher shows remarkable gains with some students for several years and is enticed to work with lower performing students because he or she is such a valuable asset and the tests don't support that he or she is making similar gains? Do we just drop that teacher or do we think we have a place for this teacher somewhere in the system? Not all teachers have all of the same strengths with the variety of students we can find in Duval County. Finally, we keep overlooking the money issue. We'll find it down the road, the economy will rebound, etc. What about in twenty years when we hit another downturn? Will we pull the incentives back? I know the paper alluded to the idea that this is not a merit bonus, but, in either case, if I begin to think that each year I meet my goals I will earn $100,000 and then the state says it is broke and next year I can only hope to be compensated to the tune of $50,000, that is a significant change for me. What if far more teachers meet the standards than our current legislature thinks possible? The size of the pie won't change. We won't be rewarding all of the good teachers. That's what we are being promised. Will these same "slash and burn" legislators then come back and make the data-informed decision to increase tax revenues to meet that promise? That is where I am most reluctant to get on board with the plan in its current form.

    Also, it bothers me, too, but let's lay off of Chris' grammar and spelling. His heart is in the right place even if he is trying to get rid of my magnet school all of the time.

  5. Anonymous 1 and 3 um you assisted in a class once, okay. Blogs are a bit informal. I have a zeal to get the message out there, should I slow down and edit more, probably but that doesn't take away from the message.

    Instead of being a DICK and you came off as one, tell me how I am wrong. Attack the message not the messenger.

    Just tell me how I am wrong I will listen. Hyperbole, my neighbor said so and talking points will not be satisfactory by the way and which is what Proctor said.

    People that support this bill and teachers and parents don't by the way should be ashamed, though i wait for you to tell me how I am wrong...

  6. I love magent schools by the way and they would be the last thing i got rid of! I just don't think they are fair...

  7. "First the evidence overwhelmingly shows merit pay does not work." --- Sounds like Union rhetoric.

    "[enter union job here] is a lot more complex than pay the best, fire the rest"

    Guerrieri--- All of your arguments are union based arguments, not really education arguments. Why don't private schools have the same level of upheaval? (answer = no unions).

    In reference to other being a "DICK". Seems to me that you are the average angry "protected" employee. Name calling to shut people up.

  8. That is how you convince me? Friend studies shown, research shows, merit has not worked. It's nothing I made up, that's not rheteric, that's evidence.

    This has nothing to do with unions either, lots of teahers don't belong to unions and this bill will hurt them too.

    It sounds like to me you hate unions, why don't you just say that and as for you being a dick I just have to call them like I see them and I am sure you hae heard that before.

    You attack me, you offer no evidence that disputes what I wrote. You just don't like it. Remember I gave you a chance to show me I was wrong and you couldn't do it. Find one study that says merit pay has worked and I will put it on the study...

  9. A bit self-indulgent aren't you? Its not my job to convince you.

    Just offering a different opinion.

    "Friend Studies shown"... that's cute.

  10. You are entitled to your own opinion but you are not entitled to your own facts.

    Don't you want reforms that impact people and schools to be fact based, not based on what sounds good.

    If I give you facts and you choose to disregard them in favor of your opinion what does that say about you? I will tell you, it says you are wrong and willfully ignorant, just like Proctor is.

    Find me one study, one shred of evidence that merit pay works

  11. btw... I am not the same person that you called a DICK. There is more than one person that disagrees with you.

    "Friend studies" and unnamed "Research" as your "evidence"... too funny.

    Time to put on your big boy pants, Guerrieri.

  12. It's not unnamed. Vaderbilt University recently concluded a huge study as did the NYC public school system. Both said merit pay based on standardized tests didn't work.

    All I am asking is you make up your mind with evfidence not based on the misinformed opinions of others.

    My big boy pants are on. It's the legislature who is trying to pull them down so they can...

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. Chris why are you arguing with these clowns? Even if they read the studies they wouldn't believe their lying eyes.

  15. Your readers would love the link to the studies you cite. Particularly the "Friend" study.

    Are you suggesting that hiring/firing based on Union Rules (read: seniority) does work, and that no changes should be made?

    If so, where is the research that shows this?
    If you could cite one of your unbiased "Friend" studies, that would be nice ;)

    If it does work... the why would anyone ever put their kid in a Private School? Because in effect, the taxpayer that has their kid in a private school pays twice (once for taxes and again for private school). And they are doing so for a Private School system that isn't based on Union rules for hiring/firing.

    DICK - according to a Duval public school teacher and grammatically inept hyper-sensitive blogger Chris Guerrieri

  16. I guess there should have been a comma in between friends and study, as in Friend, studies show…

    The bill in question doesn't address seniority rules by the way but I will give it a go. There are great first year teachers, most however struggle and it takes years for them to get going, years in which they often rely on veteran teachers. Is it fair that a great first year teacher would be cut while a mediocre veteran teacher keeps their job? No it's not but overall seniority is the fair way to do it and it's the way most businesses operate too.

    Again the bill does not address seniority. On the other hand several studies report merit pay does not work.

    You are also sadly misifromed about the power of teachers unions especialy here in Florida. I have written about those issues many times too.

    As for my grammar I must be doing something right at least on occasion, here in my hometown I have been printed dozens of times in the Folio, Times Union and Victims advocate. I think of the blog as a little more informal, though I never claimed to be a great writer, just a guy with a great message, and that is teachers and education is important.

    I am still waiting for your evidence that shows merit pay has worked.

  17. And I am still waiting for your links to the studies you cite. Consider it a public service so that I can educate myself on your "facts".

    And your quote "seniority is the fair way to do it and it's the way most businesses operate too." is absolute BS. It shows a lack of knowledge of the private sector.

    And again... why do private schools thrive in a merit based system?

    Isn't today a school day in Duval? If so, thank you for spending your day with me on this blog.

    DICK - according to a Duval public school teacher and grammatically inept hyper-sensitive blogger Chris Guerrieri

  18. I am glad to educate the uninformed and rest assure I am home for the day. Thanks for questioning my integrity though, you just keep earning your name more and more.

    I am not aware of private schools that use merit pay perhaps you can educate me.

    Go to any shop, wall mart, citi bank the times union, people there for years get paid more than newbies even if they are in the same position and most have rules in place to protect employees after a probabtionary period.

    Try these, none written by me...

  19. Thanks Chris-

    question your integrity? hyper-sensitive much?

    An overwhelming need to make sure that everyone is aware that you wrote for the Folio. hyper-sensitive much?

    You just keep earning your name more and more.

    "Go to any shop, wall mart, citi bank the times union, people there for years get paid more than newbies even if they are in the same position and most have rules in place to protect employees after a probabtionary period."

    People with more experience getting paid more was never a question. The question was around your statement "Is it fair that a great first year teacher would be cut while a mediocre veteran teacher keeps their job?" It was about who keeps their jobs... not whether or not an experienced teacher is paid more.

    Try to keep focused.

    And thanks for the weekend reading...

    DICK - according to a Duval public school teacher and grammatically inept hyper-sensitive blogger Chris Guerrieri

  20. Chris, you seemed to have hurt someones feeling. I'm not a teacher or educator, I've never had a D or a R next to my name, If anything I'm a conservative TEA Party Independent and I'm not union friendly.

    I'm also not a friend to Tally Republicans acting like Pelosi's Democrats. SB 736 is as filled with hidden costs, taxes, unintended consequences, government over reach and disregard for individual privacy as Obamacare.

    SB736 is fiscally pathetic, there is no money to pay for it, no one has a clue what it will cost or if it will work.. It sounds more like progressive liberal idiocy than conservative realism.

    If you want to see the flaws take a look here.. One of my members has an entire website of well referenced blogs on the subject. While you're there, enjoy the video of Wise stumbling, bumbling and trying to babble his way out of Dockery's questions about money

    If you want to see what I believe should happen to this Gates/Obama/Bush scheme I've made it clear. It looks like Bartleby's become the only way to get those three. and their lapdogs to quit barking. BTW It's bad when Huffy Post and someone like me agree, Bartleby is getting attention from Huffy as well. You can find out how it works here

    If you're anything like me, you have regular readers, and email addresses for hundreds of sometimes readers, all with friends. Let's put an end to this once and for all.

  21. I was just was informed Pa parents are up in arms about the testing, this just in:

    Saturday at 3:20, CNN has scheduled a live debate on NCLB testing. Michele Gray, PA professor and ed activist will be arguing the side of opt outing for parents.