Future of Teaching

Teacher salaries to range from $54,411 to $119,565 in new contract, UFT says

Starting salaries for a first-year New York City teacher will increase to $54,411 by 2018, up from $45,530 this year, according to a salary schedule released on Tuesday evening by the United Federation of Teachers.

The pay scale bump reflects an 18 percent raise that the UFT negotiated for members that dates back to 2009, when the union’s current contract expired. The proposed contract would extend to 2018.

The contract agreement, which still needs to be ratified by the UFT’s members, calls for a pay increase that is closer to 19.5 percent rise when the increases are compounded. The maximum salary for teachers will rise from $100,049 to $119,565, according to the salary schedule, which details how much teachers earn based on how many years they’ve been working and how many education credits they’ve accrued.

The retroactive raises, along with a series of back pay checks, will be delayed and spread out over several years—a compromise reached to ensure that the city could afford wage increases for the UFT, which constitutes almost 30 percent of all public employees in the city. That payment structure has provoked criticism from some union members, who have taken to UFT’s Facebook page to air their grievances.

“Give me my retro money now!” Susan Lupi Rau said in one of hundreds of comments that have flooded the UFT page in recent days.

UFT officials are working late into the night on Tuesday to get information about the proposed nine-year pact posted online so that members can begin to pore through all of the changes. Earlier on Tuesday, the UFT posted details about policy changes that will affect schools and classrooms. 

On Wednesday, the UFT’s 3,400-member delegate assembly will meet and vote to recommend the proposed contract to all 100,000 members.

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Struggling Detroit schools

The list of promises is long: Arts, music, robotics, gifted programs and more. Will Detroit schools be able to deliver?

PHOTO: Detroit Public Television
Detroit schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti answers questions at a community meeting in Detroit.

Arts. Music. Robotics. Programs for gifted kids. New computers. New textbooks. Dual enrollment programs that let high school students take college classes. International Baccalaureate. Advanced Placement.

They’re all on the list of things that Detroit schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti told a group of community members assembled in a Brightmoor neighborhood church that he would introduce or expand as soon as next school year.

Vitti didn’t get into the specifics of how the main Detroit district would find the money or partnerships needed to deliver on all of those promises, but they’re part of the plan for the future, he said.

The comments came in a question and answer session last month with students, parents and community members following Vitti’s appearance on Detroit Public Television’s American Black Journal/One Detroit Roadshow. The discussion was recorded at City Covenant Church. DPTV is one of Chalkbeat’s partners in the Detroit Journalism Cooperative.

Vitti has been appearing at community events since taking over the Detroit schools last spring. He is scheduled next week to join officials from two of the city’s major charter school authorizers, Central Michigan University and Grand Valley State University, at a State of the Schools address on October 25.

 

Watch the full Q&A with Vitti below.

Another error

Missing student data means 900 Tennessee teachers could see their growth scores change

PHOTO: TN.gov

Tennessee’s testing problems continue. This time the issue is missing students.

Students’ test scores are used to evaluate teachers, and the failure of a data processing vendor to include scores for thousands of students may have skewed results for some teachers, officials said.

The scores, known as TVAAS, are based on how students improved under a teacher’s watch. The scores affect a teacher’s overall evaluation and in some districts, like Shelby County Schools, determine if a teacher gets a raise.

The error affects 1,700 teachers statewide, or about 9 percent of the 19,000 Tennessee teachers who receive scores. About 900 of those teachers had five or more students missing from their score, which could change their result.

The latest glitch follows a series of mishaps, including test scanning errors, which also affect teacher evaluations. A delay earlier this summer from the Tennessee Department of Education’s testing vendor, Questar, set off a chain of events that resulted in the missing student scores.

To calculate a teacher’s growth score, students and their test scores are assigned to a teacher. About 3 percent of the 1.5 million student-teacher assignments statewide had to be manually submitted in Excel files after Questar experienced software issues and fell behind on releasing raw scores to districts.

RANDA Solutions, a data processing vendor for the state, failed to input all of those Excel files, leading to the teachers’ scores being calculated without their full roster of students, said Sara Gast, a state spokeswoman. The error will not affect school or district TVAAS scores. (District-level TVAAS scores were released in September.)

Gast did not immediately confirm when the state will finalize those teachers’ scores with corrected student rosters. The state sent letters to districts last week informing them of the error and at least one Memphis teacher was told she had more than 80 of her 120 students missing from her score.

In the past, the process for matching students to the right teachers began at the end of the year, “which does not leave much room for adjustments in the case of unexpected delays,” Gast said in an email. The state had already planned to open the process earlier this year. Teachers can begin to verify their rosters next week, she said.