Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A new day dawns

Each day that I wake up and go to work, I'm excited again. I no longer feel like I have the weight of the world riding on my shoulders, trying to keep me in bed and keep me down. I am happy to be free of CMS and all of the pressures that are looming on the horizon.

Even so, I can't seem to turn my back on what is happening in CMS. I talked in one of my last posts about the pay-for-performance initiative that CMS is trying to push through. In case you've forgotten, I'll recap a little:
  • Peter Gorman wants to have pay-for-performance in place by 2014
  • up to 25% of each teacher’s pay will be put into a pool, out of which bonuses will be taken and paid to the high-performing teachers
  • In an environment of budget crisis, Peter Gorman and CMS are spending nearly $2 million to create 52 new district-wide assessments covering everything from Kindergarten skills to high school Journalism, and these new tests will be used to determine who gets paid the most and who gets paid the least
Previously, CMS teachers were assured that no matter how much they heard about it, pay-for-performance would never happen unless the teachers allowed it to, because it had to be put to a vote by the teachers. However, according to the Charlotte Observer, Sneaky Pete has gone behind the teacher's backs, made a deal with a local republican politician, and together they've drafted a bill which would allow CMS to bypass the teacher vote and implement pay-for-performance at will.

In my opinion, this is outrageous. The only reason to go around the teacher vote is because he knows that it will not pass if the teachers are allowed to have their say. The only thing that pay for performace will do is drive high-quality teachers out of CMS. Unfortunately for CMS teachers, there are no unions to watch their backs and stand up for them; the NC legislature has already made unionizing illegal for teachers in North Carolina.

While there are a few educator's associations and a parent organization that are speaking out and fighting against pay for performance, I fear it will not be enough. It's time for CMS and North Carolina teachers to stand up for themselves.

I'm certainly glad that I got out while the getting was good!