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Pay, Performance, Politics, and Education
Perry offers incentive pay, but only to a tiny handful of teachers
News Story  November 11, 2005, by Rachel Proctor May
"...With a swoop of his mighty pen, Gov. Rick Perry last week issued an executive order establishing a $10 million incentive pay program for a few Texas teachers..."

What's Different Between Teachers and Bus Drivers?
Postmarks  October 31, 2008
"...24]. Let me compare the two situations. Teachers currently start off at more than $40,000 a year..."

Beside the Point: Failing Our Teachers
Why won't we fund our schools?
News Column  September 15, 2016, by Richard Whittaker
"...For those who do enter the classroom, the turnover rate is appalling. The most cited study on teacher retention is a 2003 paper by University of Pennsyl­­van­ia researcher Richard Ingersoll, revealing that half of all teachers quit the classroom within six years..."

Teachers Need Money, Too
Austin Independent School District Superintendent Pat Forgione unveiled highlights from the preliminary 2002-2003 district budget Aug. 5, sparking angry dissent from the local teacher's union.
News Story  August 9, 2002, by Jordan Smith
"...Predictably, Education Austin President Louis Malfaro and Vice-President Bruce Banner were unhappy with the piddling raise -- less than half of the 4.8% for which the union had asked. "This is a slap in the face to the teachers who have done the work," Malfaro said Monday afternoon, outside the AISD Board Auditorium..."

Pay Statistics on Teachers Way Off
Postmarks  October 15, 2007
"...I'd like to point out one false statistic concerning number of hours worked per year. The sentence states 2,119 hours per year for managers, 2,215 by automotive technicians, and 1,488 by elementary- and secondary-school teachers..."

What About Retired Rural Teachers?
Postmarks  January 9, 2012
"...6]. With all due respect when mentioning education, teachers, etc., no one mentions the elderly retired rural teachers..."

Music, Art, P.E. Teachers Want Their Money Back
Austin ISD's 'special areas' experiment is dubbed a failure
News Story  May 21, 2004, by Rachel Proctor May
"...Austin ISD budget discussions won't even begin for another month, but already interest groups are mobilizing to snag a bigger chunk of the district's scarce funds. Most vocal so far are the "special areas" teachers at AISD elementary schools – the music, P.E., and art instructors who barely managed to keep their programs alive in last year's budgetary bloodbath...."

Texas <3 Teachers (Allegedly)
File under "chutzpah"
DAILY News  March 23, 2011, by Richard Whittaker
"...Authored by Rep. Vicki Truitt, R-Dallas, the resolution declares this week Texas Retired Teachers Week...."

School's Out, but AISD Pay Raise Talk Goes On
Debate over salary increase details carries on at AISD
News Story  July 9, 2015, by Richard Whittaker
"...A planned pay raise is part of the 2016 budget, to be finalized when trustees reconvene in August. Originally, the administration proposed a 1.5% raise across the board, plus an extra 1.5% for teachers and librarians with more than five years experience, costing the district $10.43 million total..."

Robbing Pedro to Pay … Highland Park?
The funds in the latest public ed bill appear much less than meets the eye
News Column  February 25, 2005, by Amy Smith
"...Kent Grusendorf, R-Arlington, chair of the House Public Education Committee, says his legislation would pump more than $3 billion "new dollars" into public education while "taking the sting out of Robin Hood's arrow" by reducing the amount of money recaptured from property-rich districts. At the same time, the legislation contains a strong shape-up-or-ship-out message to school administrators and teachers, with calls for greater accountability on standardized testing scores and the creation of a merit-raise system in place of across-the-board salary increases for teachers...."

Replace Teachers With Bureaucrats
Postmarks  February 28, 2011
"...Dear Editor, Here's an option for a solution to the problems with the education system. Pick a few of the "low-performing" schools, take all the teachers out of the classrooms, and fill their positions with all the board members, superintendents, and decision-makers in general..."

AISD: Balancing Teachers and Tech
AISD must ensure that new technology helps more than it hurts
News Story  November 26, 2010, by Richard Whittaker
"...Education Austin is already protesting plans to change the school day. Currently, the district allows teachers two 45-minute planning periods per day, but the district is considering cutting that to the state-required minimum of one..."

Perry vs. Texas Teachers
Is the governor standing between educators and federal stimulus money?
News Story  August 13, 2010, by Richard Whittaker
"...At the time, Perry claimed that the application would require the state to sign on to the federal Common Core State Standards Initiative, which he painted as the first step to a national curriculum. However, Texas Classroom Teachers Association President Brad Willingham and Texas American Federation of Teachers President Linda Bridges, who sided with Perry in rejecting those funds, have both backed the Doggett amendment..."

Does It Really Pay to Work in Austin?
Workers earn less in Austin than other major cities
News Story  October 12, 2007, by Richard Whittaker
"...Variable working hours also played a factor. The average manager worked 2,119 hours all last year, compared to 1,488 by elementary- and secondary-school teachers..."

This Holiday Season, Give Political Gifts That Resist
Anti-MAGA merch, feminist nudie mags, Chron swag, and more
News Story  December 6, 2018, by the News Staff
"...Gifting With Class: Are you confident Texas lawmakers will have the temperament and discipline to enact real school finance reform when they convene at the Capitol in January? Neither are we! So our public school teachers can look forward to lacking resources for another two years. Help them out with a gift card to the webstore Teachers Pay Teachers, where teachers sell lesson plans to each other..."

The Dropout Problem
Not students, but teachers – AISD struggles to retain qualified educators
News Story  August 12, 2005, by Rachel Proctor May
"...Two weeks before the first day of school in the Austin Independent School District, the halls of Akins High School are clean-feeling, almost sterile, yet with an aura of expectation for the new year. Early Tuesday morning, as the marching band practiced maneuvers in tidy rows outside, 350 adults filled a dozen classrooms inside to learn about classroom management, cultural sensitivity, AISD regulations, and other subjects the new crop of AISD middle and high school teachers will need this year...."

Dropping Out
Teachers Trade Low Pay for High Tech
News Story  June 5, 1998, by Kevin Fullerton
"..."Will we have educated, motivated, and ready-to-work workers?" Bush asked. "I believe the answer is `yes.'" Yes, except for one thing: Many of those ready-to-work workers are public school teachers - the ones whom the state desperately needs to create a skilled workforce..."

We're 49th! ... Or Just Seventh of 10
Union and Austin ISD argue over teacher pay – and what to do about it
News Story  April 9, 2010, by Richard Whittaker
"...The announcement came April 1 from Education Austin, but it was no April Fools' Day prank. Outside Lanier High School, surrounded by teachers wearing "AISD 49ers" shirts, teacher and staff union President Louis Malfaro argued that the ranking is the result of years of underpayment, a failure by the district to remain competitive..."

Capitol Chronicle
The Texas state budgeting process is called conservative, but might be better described as "penny wise, pound foolish."
News Column  January 26, 2001, by Michael King
"...Teachers' Insurance..."

Naked City
Education Austin, the union of AISD teachers, offers a budget counterproposal that includes increasing teacher pay, hiring full-time substitute teachers, and rewarding certified teachers.
News Story  March 2, 2001, by Kevin Fullerton
"...Attempting to divert attention from the district's headline issues of the past few months -- magnet school controversies and moldy school buildings -- the teachers' union has called on AISD Superintendent Pat Forgione to focus on teacher pay in upcoming budget discussions...."

Naked City
A raw deal on health insurance stays sweet for Aetna
News Story  August 27, 2004, by Michael King
"...The Legislative Budget Board took no action Monday on patching up the holes in the leaking teachers' health insurance boat, despite a request from Gov. Rick Perry, jawboning from Lt..."

Making Ends Meet
The new AISD budget hurts, but less than in past years
News Story  August 6, 2004, by Rachel Proctor May
"...Few phrases make public school administrators tremble like "budget negotiations." And for good reason. For the last few years, Austin Independent School District budget debates have been scenes of high drama and angst, where teachers, trustees, and administrators have clashed over salaries, program cuts, and simply how to run the process...."

Extra Credit
Grading the Governor
News Story  May 27, 1999, by Kevin Fullerton
"..."One can't look at his legacy and say, 'He's the education governor,'" says Association of Texas Professional Educators spokesman Larry Comer. "I don't think he'll be remembered for that at all." Teachers' groups are thankful that the conservative governor hasn't fought teacher raises, but neither have they found him a faithful friend..."

In the Name of Ann Richards
AISD's School for Young Women Leaders is a district showcase – does its glittering reputation hide a darker side for teachers and students?
News Story  August 30, 2013, by Richard Whittaker
"...Not, she argues, for any major sin or rank incompetence, but because she stood up for herself. "Teachers are upset and scared," she said..."

The Slow Dying of Johnston High
State accountability standards may close a school on the edge of survival
News Story  November 30, 2007, by Kimberly Reeves
"...Superintendent Pat Forgione says he has not lost faith that Johnston can turn itself around this year. He points to some promising benchmarks: 80% of the teachers returned, the principal is back for a third year, and the district has committed significant resources for this year – $10,000 per student compared to $6,000 at Austin High..."

Point Austin: Five-Card Draw
It's still early, but the governor's race bears a closer look
News Column  July 14, 2006, by Michael King
"...Although it's hard to tell if anybody's listening, education indeed comes up now and again on the stump. A couple of weeks ago, the candidates wooed the Texas Classroom Teachers Association, meeting in Austin..."

The Texas School Solution: More Guns, Less Money
Post-Sandy Hook bill would put teachers in firing line
DAILY News  December 26, 2012, by Richard Whittaker
"...Last session, Texas cut $5.4 billion out of public school funding. And now the gun lobby not only wants more guns on campus, but they want teachers to pay for them..."

The Little Red Truck
A chronicle of the work of the Missoula Children’s Theatre, which travels the country to introduce children to the joys of musical theatre.
star
Film Review  September 5, 2008, by Josh Rosenblatt
"...For most reasonable people, attempting to get a group of elementary school kids to produce an hourlong musical in only six days is a prescription for catastrophe. How could it not be, with all those lines to memorize, melodies to learn, sets to build, choreography to forget, faces to wash, shoes to tie, and Ritalin pills to consume? But to the drama teachers at the Missoula Children’s Theatre, introducing children to the joys of musical theatre in under a week is something to be celebrated rather than avoided..."

On the Lege
The Lege solves school finance. Or not.
News Column  January 21, 2005, by Amy Smith
"...Last Wednesday, just one day into the 79th legislative session, the entire Texas Senate threw its unanimous support behind an ambitious school finance proposal that would cut property taxes, raise teachers' salaries, and inject more money into public education...."

Been Down So Long
Piecemeal Relief Is Recommended for Retired Teachers
News Story  February 28, 1997, by Louisa C. Brinsmade
"...Worth's inner city public schools won her several commendations, and helped her 10th grade students regularly meet or beat the honors classes in TAAS scores. But like many young teachers in Texas' public school system, she saw her future, and it didn't look good..."

Pearce Gets a New Principal
High test scores at what cost?
News Story  August 24, 2007, by Justin Ward
"...So it's not difficult to see what attracted Austin Independent School District administrators to Troutman's résumé: He did succeed in raising standardized test scores at his Houston schools. But during Troutman's three years at the helm of Deady, more than a half-dozen teachers resigned or transferred to other schools – out of frustration, they say, with the leadership of a man who ruled the school with an iron fist..."

How to Watch a Bill Welch Ad
DAILY News  November 6, 2006, by Lee Nichols
"...That's because, as we've previously blogged, he received a last-minute infusion of almost $700,000 in the month leading up to Election Day, including almost half a million from "Voucher Sugar Daddy" (as the campaign of Democrat Valinda Bolton put it) James Leininger. To express their displeasure at Leininger's attempt to buy yet another election, Education Austin – the union for Austin teachers and school staff – held a press conference Friday at Kocurek Elementary, where Bolton said, "In my opponent's ads, he keeps saying that I'm opposed to merit pay for teachers..."

Naked City
'Better than a stick in the eye' says teacher union head
News Story  August 26, 2005, by Rachel Proctor May
"...The AISD community can now officially stop fighting about a proposed budget for next year that includes no pay raises for teachers. Instead, members can spend the last week of the budget battle season considering a proposal Superintendent Pat Forgione released on Monday to give teachers, librarians, and counselors a one-time, $1,000 "retention stipend" at the end of the year..."

Each One, Teach One: AFT's Online Mentoring
The AFT joins the wave of online teaching communities
News Story  August 24, 2012, by Richard Whittaker
"...How can young teachers learn from experienced teachers, when there are so few experienced teachers? The American Federation of Teachers believes it can create virtual mentoring through ShareMyLesson.com. The site helps build an online community where educators can share their experiences through lesson plans, supporting documents, PowerPoint presentations, or even game ideas – anything they may want to share that they feel may help their peers..."

Schools in Session
Legislators Study Issues: From Vouchers to Combat Pay
News Column  January 3, 1997, by Roseana Auten
"...Another product of last session's efforts on the education code was the "Safe Schools Act." Teachers' groups, especially, had long clamored for a law providing for "zero tolerance" for student misbehavior and violence, and they finally got it in writing from Texas lawmakers. The law also requires school districts to set up alternative education settings for students who are expelled...."

Testing, Testing, 1 2 3 ...
There are lies, damned lies, and statistics … and then there's the TAKS test
News Column  June 4, 2004, by Michael King
"..."What a way to end the school year!" exclaimed Neeley. "Students and teachers worked hard all year and these results confirm the progress our schools are making."..."

Sen. Kirk Watson on the 86th Texas Legislature
“In Texas, we don’t focus on what our needs are; we focus on what we want to pay
News Story  January 3, 2019, by Michael King
"...That’s the first part of the problem. The second part is, if you’re going to start with a deficit, how do you fund the other smart things we just talked about, like early childhood development, like doing better by teachers, like focusing on pockets of poverty? There’s going to have to be some means of finance [for those] – that’s what I think will be the biggest wrestling match..."

Austin ISD Salary Screw Up
UPDATE: Accounting system failure leads to underpaid teachers
DAILY News  November 1, 2013, by Richard Whittaker
"...Many Austin ISD teachers are wondering where their money is this morning, after an accounting system screw up left an unknown number with miscalculated and short salary checks...."

AISD
Voters support pay raise
News Story  November 7, 2008, by Michael King
"...Austin voters continued to demonstrate strong support for public schools Tuesday, voting 59% to 41% to endorse AISD Proposition 1, ratifying a property-tax increase necessary to provide a 3% pay raise for teachers and staff. AISD released a statement thanking voters for their support, noting, "Austin teachers and other School District employees have always been fortunate to have the support of a community that is passionate about, and committed to, a quality public education system."..."

Where Was George?
News Story  May 27, 1999, by Louis Dubose
"...With two weeks remaining in the session, his comptroller, Carole Keaton Rylander, held a press conference announcing that she had found $801 million in additional revenue -- enough, she predicted, to provide both the substantial teachers' pay raise that the Democrats have been fighting for and the big tax cut that the governor promised. Everyone at the Capitol knew it was coming, but by certifying the additional surplus with only two weeks remaining in the session, what Rylander really certified was that public policy would be made in a chaotic race to beat the May 31 end-of-session deadline..."

Naked City
The Eastside charter school begins its bankruptcy proceedings
News Story  March 5, 2004, by Rachel Proctor May
"...The U.S. Bankruptcy Court approved a petition Monday that would allow the Texas Academy of Excellence to pay its teachers their February wages as part of the school's Chapter 11 proceedings..."

My Afternoons With Margueritte
Gérard Depardieu plays an oafish man who bonds with a cultured older woman, who teaches him to read and alters his life.
starstarstar
Film Review  November 4, 2011, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Unloved by his mother (Claire Maurier), Germain still lives in a trailer on her property while she grows increasingly spiteful and feeble. Flashbacks to his childhood show young Germain (Yven) mocked as a dullard by his teachers and classmates, and treated as an unwanted oaf by his reluctant mother..."

A Christmas Story
Ralphie wants nothing more for Christmas than a Red Ryder 200-shot, range-model air rifle, but he must convince Mom and Dad that, if lucky enough to receive this “Holy Grail of Christmas presents,” he won't shoot his eye out.
Film Review  December 16, 1994, by Alison Macor
"..."You'll shoot your eye out!" becomes the film's mantra that besieges Ralphie at every turn. Based on Jean Shepherd's novel In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash, A Christmas Story celebrates being young and holding out for that special present that inspires an English class theme entitled "What I Want for Christmas." An ode to childhood in a more innocent time, the film's young actors supply moronic humor that transports viewers back to an earlier era when school children banded together and terrorized their teachers not with guns but with fake plastic teeth in their mouths..."

Naked City
Six candidates are vying for three uncompensated positions on the AISD school board.
News Story  April 7, 2000, by Kevin Fullerton
"...Taylor's campaign for the District 5 seat being vacated by Ted Whatley is well-organized and her PTA position should win her strong support. Even teachers' groups, initially skeptical of Taylor's stance against new taxes, and fearful that she favored privatizing school services, have been won over by her budgeting and planning expertise...."

Postmarks
Our readers talk back.
Columns  May 14, 2004
"...Finally, in social services and the salaries of employees funded by tax dollars, we find Texas' standing in comparison to the other states to be embarrassingly low: 50th in the percentage of those without health care; 49th as the most desirable state in which to raise children, among the 10 worst in all factors relating to teenage pregnancy; 38th in high school dropout rate; 39th in funding per pupil in higher education; 38th in public school teachers' pay; 45th in funding for public libraries; and 45th in nursing home funding...."

Naked City
The school board hears from districts that have tackled teacher incentive pay
News Story  May 14, 2004, by Rachel Proctor May
"...The Austin ISD board of trustees heard a report by representatives of school districts that had adopted "pay for performance" compensation plans, which link teacher pay to student performance. The discussion was part of a series of panels to prepare the trustees to revamp AISD's pay policy, which currently leaves teachers feeling stiffed...."

Candidate School
AISD board election
News Story  March 31, 2006, by Rachel Proctor May
"...He was an area superintendent when he retired, and his two sons graduated from AISD schools. His highest priority is closing the achievement gap; he also stresses the need to pay teachers well and to base policy on sound data...."

'Surely We're All Worth a Nickel?'
Will AISD flinch from tax election?
DAILY News  August 23, 2010, by Richard Whittaker
"...Austin Independent School District has one of the lowest tax rates in Central Texas and in its own recent history. Meanwhile, its teachers are among the state's lowest paid..."

The First AISD Cuts
Trustees cut positions and consider spending reserves
DAILY News  January 25, 2011, by Richard Whittaker
"...In total, the board eliminated 485 positions, including teachers at all levels. Out of the original staff proposals, the only ones spared the axe were the 52 elementary librarians, who the board described as too vital to lose..."

Capitol Chronicle
Bill Bennett sells his virtue for lucre from "virtual charters"
News Column  November 7, 2003, by Michael King
"...Judging from his business practices, it's not a lesson William Bennett cares to apply to himself. "What's significant about this whole [K12] effort," comments Ted Melina Rabb of the Texas Federation of Teachers, "is that it's of a piece with congressional redistricting..."

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