Teacher Pay May Stagnate, But Not Cut, Gorman Says
In the new pay plan CMS Superintendent Peter Gorman is pushing, teachers will be paid more if their students do well and less if they don't. New tests for students will be part of the process. That has some teachers worried their salaries will be cut if their students have an off-year. Gorman say that won't be the case. "We said we weren't going to cut anyone's salary from where they are now. Let me be clear, that doesn't mean everyone will get the same for what's additive. They could be where they are for awhile," Gorman chuckled Wednesday during his weekly briefing. Tests are being given to students at all grade levels this week as a trial run for the end of the school year when CMS will give the official tests and start using the results to set teacher salaries. Some parents and teachers complain the tests are time-consuming and not a good measure of a teacher's effectiveness. About 75 gathered Tuesday night at East Mecklenburg High School. Several parents said they would keep their children out of school or have their kids leave the test blank in protest. "Let's bubble E for enough and send a message to Dr. Gorman. . . we'll take your silly tests and we'll give you exactly the same information that you've given us!," said one parent to applause and laughter The tests will not be part of a student's grade, but Gorman says parents shouldn't consider them optional. "So the next piece is, 'Well, Mrs. Smith is going to talk about the Louisana Purchase, but she's not going to grade it so don't do that.' I think that's an improper message to send to a child. We're asking them to be involved in an academic pursuit that's going to help us have information to help teachers teach better." Gorman says the new tests are just one of multiple tools that will be used to judge a teacher's success or failure. An advisory group of parents and teachers will develop the pay framework for the CMS school board to approve. The current system sets salaries based on a teacher's seniority and credentials. Pay raises tend to happen across-the-board, with cost-of-living increases built into the annual budget. Gorman wants to implement a pay-for-performance plan by 2014.