Education letters 2/01

Live in any Northern state that has decent education and you will pay property taxes at two to three times the rates in Georgia. A $300,000 home in Cobb equals $3,500 in taxes. A $300,000 home in suburban Chicago equals $9,000 in taxes. Guess where that difference goes? It is time to put up or shut up.

Northview (Ex)Teacher: The good news is we have enough money to pay a football coach at UGA $750K.

Does it matter: It’s obvious that some school systems are top-heavy and refuse to get rid of the unnecessary bench warmers at that level. So, the state will have to step in and mandate that counties must spend a higher percentage of funding on class teachers (so as the funding is cut, you can maintain the number of teachers, but the counties will be forced to trim at the top). You cannot rely on the locals to do the right thing.

Cherokee: It’s crunch time and time to prioritize. If legislators really support education, it’s time to put up or shut up. Start to cut elsewhere and/or reallocate. It also means that school systems need to get even more creative. We can do this though.

CH: Fair tax, fair tax, fair tax. We are facing a loss of state revenue but people have managed to spend over one billion dollars to go see “Avatar.”

Just another day: It’s all about money. The more Sonny can take away from HOPE, the more loans college students will be forced to take. The more loans they carry, the more money Sonny’s rich banker friends make. I’m surprised that HOPE survived this long.

George who wonders about Georgia: No wonder my niece left for college out of state. She and I can clearly see the backwardness of this state.

No wonder Northerners make fun of us, and Jeff Foxworthy is making a killing as he laughs all the way to the bank thinking of new material for his next comedy tour, based on today’s headlines of the newspaper.

John: It is time that the breeders directly pay for the education of their spawn via an education tuition tax that is levied for every unit they pop out and is in the school system.

Stay out of my wallet — pay for your own damn kids.

ScienceTeacher671: John, if you don’t like paying education taxes, you need to either move to a state which doesn’t require funding of public education in its constitution, or work to get the Georgia constitution changed.

I don’t know that you’d really wish to live in an area that valued education even less than Georgia does, however.

Cutting School Days: A number of people mentioned that we should reduce the number of school days because there are so many wasted days. I just want to make sure that I understand that the reduced school days will be accompanied by a proportional cut in teacher salaries, a permanent cut, not a furlough.

Of course, I just wonder why we are paying teachers for those days, too.

Joy in Teaching: I wonder how much of a cut Go Fish had to take?

GA Teacher: I think having students pay for bus transportation is a great idea.

My daughter teaches in suburban Chicago, and the students’ families pay for bus transportation. Lots of kids walk in snow to school, too. There’s no playing around in her junior high, either. Academic achievement is paramount. No frills, either.

I have a Smart Board, LCD projector, a Classroom Performance System, two computers, and a television in my classroom. Each classroom has this equipment, too. I love it, but is it really necessary?

In my daughter’s seventh-grade science classroom, she has an overhead, but has to check out the other equipment to use for the day. That’s probably all you really need.

Mift: Many folks will loose their jobs and students will suffer. It is sad.

Lee: One of the problems in today’s schools is that a large percentage of administrators do not deal with the ineffective teacher. And now, we are supposed to believe that with this new pay methodology, these same administrators will begin to do so?

Happy Teacher: If you really think that the current system encourages best practices, is fair, and furthers student achievement, then by all means choose to keep that as the way that you are compensated. If you feel that merit pay will heighten student achievement and encourage best practices, then please choose to opt for the merit pay track.

No merit pay system will ever be perfect, but the current system is deeply flawed and encourages too many fly-by-night masters and time out of the classroom in my opinion.

Since no one is going to be forced into the merit pay track, and we will see the actual numbers by who chooses what plan, let’s just try to fix some of these issues instead of continuing to complain.

Teachermom: I think that the governor is trying to find a way to lower teacher salaries and save money. I bet his plan is to start with a lower base, and the promised bonuses that never come. That’s just my opinion ... I’m all for pay for performance if the bonus is in addition to regular teacher salary and not in place of.

Catlady: Before pay for performance for teachers, maybe we need pay for performance for students. Another load of ill-thought-out hogwash from the state, carefully cloaked behind sketchy surveys and statistical manipulation.

Old School: How about the Legislature put a moratorium on the pork/special interest spending for a couple of years? They could even freeze their automatic pay raises.

Meme: This is my last year in the teaching profession. I have come to the conclusion that the pay for performance issue is a smoke screen to divert our attention from the furlough days. There will be more next year and Sonny just wants us to be grateful that we have a job.

Tech Prof: Pay for performance is well intentioned but I can easily see it leading to teachers switching to more affluent/high performing districts at the first chance, which is not the point of the legislation (I hope). Anybody can tell you it is far easier to teach and to challenge students who have affluent parents with graduate degrees than it is for students who still can’t do basic math in high school.

Teachers already tend to want to teach in higher performing schools because the environment is much more conducive to doing the job but this will exacerbate this problem tenfold. The end result will be that top school districts will have a large applicant pool to choose from while lower tier ones will basically be at the mercy of whoever applies.

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