"...What an insulting way to offer 5% of teachers a pay raise ["Pay, Performance, Politics, and Education," News, Nov. 11]...."
"...That's what Carnegie-Mellon economist Richard Florida does in The Rise of the Creative Class, his bestselling book of pop urban studies, in which he anoints Austin the nation's second-most creative city (after San Francisco). For Florida, the creative class is big enough for Kitto and Bedgood -- plus architects, engineers, teachers, librarians, writers, actors, and musicians, as well as bureaucrats, financiers, and sports stars..."
"...AISD Teachers Get an A..."
"... Chalk up a victory for the legion of teachers battling belittling legislation this session. Under the auspice of reforming the Teachers Retirement System, the unsuccessful Senate Bill 8 would have set teacher retirement at the age of 60, breaking with the "Rule of 80," where retirement with unreduced benefits is possible once an educator's age and years of work total 80 or more..."
"...It's the kind of school that it's sometimes easy for Austinites to forget exists a good school on the Eastside. Its test scores (if you're into that sort of thing) aren't the greatest, but it's a place where teachers value creativity, where parents turn out in droves for events, and where kids can walk a few shady blocks and hang out with grandma after school...."
"..."Smaller learning communities are a necessary but insufficient strategy," says principal Steve Amstutz of Lee High School in Houston, which five years ago undertook a redesign that created 10 academies of about 200 students and a dozen teachers each. "It's a place to start..."
"...The Texas Supreme Court held that even though the driver promised to let the man back on the bus to protect him, and then failed to do so, the driver was protected by sovereign immunity. The Texas Legislature is soon to pass a bill (HB 4, among others) broadening immunity to include teachers, school bus drivers, firemen, and many more government employees..."
"...Often administrators make decisions and choices for the staff, and a sense of community, trust, and shared vision does not get built. Teachers are easily criticized, blamed for low test scores, and made to feel inadequate either directly or indirectly...."
"..."Not only would the Feds be on us like a duck on a June bug, but the parents would not be happy either. The kids that go into special ed are referred from teachers or parents and they have to meet certain criteria, which are federal criteria."..."
"...We need smaller classes and reduced administrative burden on teachers. We need resources for high quality education for all students, especially those with the highest needs..."
"...The pressures of high school are a shock to many teenagers. They leave the relative security of middle school, where teachers are responsible for smaller groups and better able to assist struggling students, and land in giant high schools where the work is harder and help less plentiful...."
"...Instead, the governor is thinking of the children; less than 40% of students who took the SAT or ACT were prepared for college, said Abbott, calling for school finance reform that includes paying teachers more and earning an ovation from both sides of the aisle. "We must provide incentives to put effective teachers in the schools and classrooms where they are needed the most, and we must create a pathway for the best teachers to earn a six-figure salary," he said...."
"...This being Austin, the subject turned to gentrification, and cities' use of planning, permitting, and affordable housing funds. Taylor argued for finding ways to get underpaid teachers living in their community, so they are better connected to their students and their families, and more reflective of that community..."
"...Get ready to swallow your "Statistic of the Day!" But first, to help you absorb the big one, here's a preliminary statistic: 158,000. That's the number of kindergarten teachers in America, and their combined income in 2013 was $8 billion..."
"...As the 82nd Texas Legislature reaches its midpoint, lawmakers are facing a gut check moment: Do they push through the $10 billion in planned cuts to public schools, or do they protect classrooms? The Save Texas Schools coalition wants them to do one thing: Come out of their offices on March 12, walk onto the Capitol grounds, and listen to the thousands of ordinary Texans who will be rallying for public education. The coalition's plan is to gather families, teachers, administrators, trustees, union activists, and business interests from across the state to tell legislators that cutting school funding is a terrible idea..."
"...But – neither is free money. Indeed, West points out that most of it is already allocated for educational mandates, like student/teacher staffing levels and an $800 pay raise for teachers, librarians, counselors, nurses, and speech pathologists..."
"...(Before the vote, St. Paul Federation of Teachers President Mary Cathryn Ricker said she understood the sources' caution: "If she signs today ....."
"...Because of the current school finance system, Austin voters will be asked to approve a 3.9-cent increase to their property tax rate in support of AISD Proposition 1. The measure will allow the district to provide teachers a 3% pay raise for this school year..."
"...Because the Legislature has historically resisted every attempt at sufficient and equitable funding of the public schools, individual districts go to war over matters that should be common public welfare. Why are public school teachers and employees, for God's sake, reduced to begging school districts for health insurance? Ask your legislator. Unequal Shares..."
"...• TEACHER GROUPS BACK DOHERTY Democratic congressional candidate Larry Joe Doherty, running for the Austin-to-Houston District 10 seat currently occupied by Republican Michael McCaul, received the endorsements of major teachers' unions last week, including the National Education Association, the Texas State Teachers Association, and the American Federation of Teachers. In a press release, Doherty attacked McCaul for voting "to strip $806 billion in vital funding" from the No Child Left Behind program and for voting against federal student-aid programs..."
"...Dear Editor, Did you know that AISD pays teachers considerably less than [districts in] outlying areas, considerably less than most Texas schools, and considerably less than most school districts nationwide? I find that appalling. An adequate wage for all AISD employees needs to be a conscious goal of every member of this community. I am a certified educational aide, otherwise known as a paraprofessional..."
"... All public school employees will be fingerprinted under SB 9, a bill sponsored and passed by Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, that received plenty of emotional testimony from parents whose children were involved in inappropriate sexual relationships with teachers..."
"...The teacher, Michael Poliakoff, had been at Bailey for 12 years; he is also active in Education Austin, the teacher's union, which has filed a grievance against AISD on Poliakoff's behalf. According to a union statement, Poliakoff was one of 49 teachers who sounded the alarm three years ago when Bailey principal Julia Fletcher changed student grades without informing either parents or the teachers who assigned the original grades..."
"...Speaking of teacher pay raises ["Triumph in the Lege?," News, May 12], can someone please explain to me why the Legislature gave the judges/justices (some of whom make anywhere in the range of $100,000 a year) of this state a 25% to 35% pay increase, and our children's teachers are getting a whopping pay increase of $2,000 a year? The state leaders obviously need a greater respect and understanding of the need to hire and maintain excellent teachers as they did for the judges! Thanks for your article. The public needs to be constantly reminded of what is important...."
"...Perry, for his part, greeted the surplus by suggesting that an even larger property tax cut is in order. Not to be outdone, Strayhorn laid out some proposals of her own on Monday, calling for a $4,000 across-the-board pay raise for teachers and the full restoration of funds to the Children's Health Insurance Fund..."
"...Dear Editor, What an insulting way to offer 5% of teachers a pay raise [“Pay, Performance, Politics, and Education,” News, Nov. 11]. If incentive pay for teachers is the way to go, then I suggest we give 5% of all governors in the country "incentive pay" to those whose initiative ideas get the most votes..."
"... Three East Austin/African-American properties were recently added to the National Register of Historic Places. The Teachers State Association of Texas Building at 1191 Navasota, the George Washington Carver Library at 1165 Angelina, and the Limerick-Frazier House at 810 E..."
"...The board members did not entirely take leave of their senses. They deferred the new curriculum which would cost $200 million just for new labs (teachers to be acquired later) until 2007..."
"...The $732 million budget that AISD Superintendent Pat Forgione proposed to the district's board of trustees Monday night is one that bets the lean years will soon be behind the city, and better times are on their way. In contrast to last year's budget debacle, when shortfalls caused massive staffing cuts and a de facto pay cut for teachers, this budget includes $15 million for a 5% across-the-board pay raise, plus funds for teachers' health insurance premiums...."
"...Heflin also grumbled dyspeptically at the late amendment, offered by Dianne Delisi, to move $175 million from public school "performance incentives" back into the health care fund for teaching staff (granted and cut in half and promised again over the last two sessions). You realize, he asked Delisi, that this amendment "takes money from a fund to reward teachers who add academic achievement and gives it to teachers who just keep their jobs?" Heflin apparently considers health insurance a bonus for exemplary employees, although by that standard he and most of his colleagues should certainly not be enjoying excellent health coverage at state expense...."
"...In the best of times, with clear leadership, it's a hard deal now you have 30 freshmen running around saying, 'No new taxes.' What's a tax in that environment?"Wild Cards If there's little early consensus on the big issues recapture and property taxes is there anything else in the grab bag of education proposals that might get accomplished in a month? Waco Rep. Jim Dunnam, chair of the Democratic caucus, says that while Democrats have not been privy to most of the preparations, "Some people have been saying all along that this is just a bait and switch for policy changes that haven't passed the Legislature on their own." Both the governor's plan and Grusendorf's substitute bill lead with variations on the "performance incentives" fund that would provide $500 million in financial bonuses for high-scoring teachers and schools..."
"...Juan Meza and his wife, Myrna, came to Austin from Laredo in the Seventies. Austin ISD recruited them as teachers for their fledgling bilingual program..."
"...This letter represents the formal response of the student members of the Griffin School Steering Committee. The Steering Committee is made up of three student representatives (elected by the student body), two teachers, and one administrator, and is responsible for the creation, alteration, and removal of all policies at the school..."
"...I have to agree that many of the textbooks history teachers have to use are bland enough to put the reader into deep hibernation ["Making Everyone Happy," Sept. 13], but the problem in history classes in the state of Texas is not just textbooks..."
"...Forgione reiterated that he "had no desire to eliminate any of the new programs, but that he felt obligated to put them on the table to see how much money could be generated for teacher pay raises." Welch says the district remains hopeful that when property appraisals are finalized in July there will be sufficient money to cover the need. "It will be real difficult to do even a 2% raise," Welch said, "if the property values aren't there to support it." Welch repeated that neither the administration nor the board wants to cut the dropout prevention program, "but there must be a pay raise for teachers, and it will have to come from somewhere..."
"...I have to wonder how many other parents are forced to comply with the same rules. Meanwhile, students and teachers are sick and the district continues to downplay the poor state of breathable air in the classrooms..."
"..."It's more important this time, then it has been in a long time," says Austin Community College/American Federation of Teachers President Myra Bradley of the May 4 Austin Community College Board elections. Although only three out of the nine spots on the ACC Board of Trustees are up for grabs, Bradley is not alone in assigning a special weight to this year's election..."
"...No neighborhood parents were interviewed on the subject. (The majority of parents don't even know at this minute that Liberal Arts is gone to LBJ.) No other teachers' opinions were gathered, and you failed to dig deep into the Alliance program, led by a group of good-intentioned teachers and volunteers, but nicely brainwashed by Interfaith..."
"...It's not a concise system of education," says UT System spokesperson Monty Jones. University officials have complained about the preparedness of high school graduates, but public educators have rejoined that it's the universities that train the teachers..."
"...With strong advocacy from Governor Bush, the Legislature told schools that passing third-graders who can't read on par is no longer acceptable. Money was also approved to intensify elementary teachers' literacy training, but will it be enough to prevent hordes of teens with driver's licenses from packing our middle schools?..."
"...Let me tell you, it sucks to sit there and see the same kids get awards for "academic achievements" when that same kid has been mean to you all year. It sucks that "the teachers who spent countless hours preparing the award ceremony" forgot my parents and other parents who were not "cheap with their generosity or time." It sucks that the kids that did get awards for high TAAS scores were the same kids that teased and bullied others for being the last to finish the TAAS test..."
"...It seems that only the award winners were allowed to have snacks. The thought came to me, "No wonder kids bring guns to school." AISD -- you can do better than this! I know there were teachers at that assembly who cared about kids..."
"...AISD Director of Personnel Services Paul Shooter told the board that all teachers (and librarians) will be paid at least $380 above the state minimum salary schedule, and many will be paid well above the minimum. To help reward the district's most experienced teachers, who are already at the top of the salary schedule and would otherwise not realize much benefit from the 5% average hike, the district will move them up an extra step on the pay ladder..."
"...We are concerned with the effect the TAAS Test is having upon our children and school system. Undue emphasis has been placed upon this test for several reasons: 1) School districts are rated and money allocated to them based on their TAAS results, 2) Teachers are evaluated based on the TAAS scores and, 3) students, regardless of grades, must pass this test in order to graduate..."
"...Considering the incredible turmoil the school went through this year, it seemed unlikely the students would show improvements on the test. The teachers spent half the year worrying about their jobs, and the students were essentially being blamed for shutting down their neighborhood school..."
"...In case you blinked and missed the excitement, lawmakers accomplished this week what they've failed to do in so many sessions past approve a new education-funding package that doesn't look half bad on paper. The new tax plan, which Perry said he will sign "with great passion and joy," will cut school property taxes 33% over two years, give teachers a $2,000 pay raise, and provide an average 4% increase in new money for school districts, with low-income districts getting additional state aid without wealthier school districts feeling quite the same squeeze from the "Robin Hood" days of old..."
"... And then there's the issue of teachers' salaries. Two gubernatorial hopefuls Democrat Chris Bell and state comptroller and GOP-turned-indie Carole Keeton Strayhorn urged Perry in separate press conferences Monday to include across-the-board teacher pay raises in next month's special session..."
"...AISD says the repurposing plan is a way to make more out of less in a brutal state school-finance environment. Under Texas' redistributive system disdainfully known as Robin Hood, AISD's revenue is flat, even as teachers need raises, utility costs increase, and a growing population of low-income and immigrant students require extra services like tutoring..."
"... Ten AISD teachers earned national board certification this week, bringing the number of teachers with the respected qualification to 70 the largest number for any district in Texas. The idea behind board certification is that professional development helps educators teach better and encourages them to stick with a profession where about half of all recruits quit within five years..."
"...If and when state leaders ever agree on a school finance plan, textbook publishers and teachers will have enough material to devote entire chapters and lesson plans to "How the 79th Legislature Messed With Texas."..."