A Citizen Speaks Out About The High Performing Teacher 
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----- Original Message -----
Name Deleted


Monday, February 18, 2002 11:47 AM
Subject: RE: Lake Fenton Hall of Shame

After reading some of the letters sent to the errors-of-fact, it appears none actually dispute you on the facts and that the respondents in this category are just attacking you personally for bringing the facts to light.  It seems everyone in the country recognizes public schools don't do a great job, yet teachers unions resist any genuine attempts at reform. 

As to the "high-performing teacher" in that column, he's right, he doesn't get 3 months off.  Assuming the school year is 180 days as it is in New Jersey, that means he has 16 weeks, or closer to 4 months off (teachers like to perpetuate that 3 month myth), and when he does work, it's a 6 hour day, with about 3-4 hours actual instruction time.  He complains he makes $36,000/year and takes a summer job, but ignores that the rest of us don't take a second job because we are working at our regular FULL TIME, FULL YEAR job.  And he thinks we all drive company cars, get bonuses, have expense accounts, and go home at 5:00pm. Well, we don't.  We also don't get tenure, have a guaranteed pension, get automatic salary increases for getting a post-grad degree, or claim to be professionals yet belong to a union.  We can be let go with no notice, without regard to seniority, or any of the protections schoolteachers enjoy.  If he is such a "high-performer", I suggest he support vouchers and charter schools without the limitations of union teachers so that he can be recognized and individually rewarded if his performance actually merits it, like all of us outside education. 

I suspect otherwise.

Good luck in your legal dispute with L. Hatfield, Mr. Riley.

Please remove my email address as with the others.

The legal dispute was dismissed.  Lori Hatfield lost on all counts.

All very good points.   Thank you for his thought provoking letter.  

It is a shame that Lake Fenton's school board is not up to the same, in that they deem it unnecessary to even respond to those parents who write them.  When finally forced to respond by media knocking at his door all the President of school board John Sharpe could think of to talk about was how "slanderous" the use of this web site to encourage them to interact with the public is.

I have had jobs where I received some of the perks he talks about.  With every one of them the bulk of my pay was based on performance.

Perhaps the answer to boring, lazy, uppity, and indifferent teachers is to base  half their pay on a number of performance factors.  Base the pay on a combination the class's collective progress and on parent ratings of the teacher.

The evaluation of the teacher would be done by a separate entity, with the teacher only given a report of the results and how those results impacted their pay.  And perhaps specific suggestions as to how they can improve their performance the next year based on parent feedback and class performance.  

Maybe even allow the children to have a small say in pay, say 10%, based on how interesting the teacher made the subject to the children.

Ronald J. Riley

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