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Subject: Progress in the Schools in the treatment of teachers as the core of education
Ms. Elia: You must invite this wonderful principal down cited in the NYT article below to give a presentation to the Hillsborough County School Board, the CTA, and interested members of the public so that she can teach the local school cadre how to treat teachers with respect and generosity. I think your behavior in these areas explains your ubiquitous unpopularity in the school system, so you should listen closely to Principal Heller.
One area that earns especial animosity from the teachers and from the public for you is your greed: your conive to milk every last penny out of the taxpayers to fatten your paycheck and pension payoff. This behavior causes revulsion. The principal of NYC US 324, Ms. Heller, could teach you some lessons in generosity and civility. You need them.
My bet is that you are not only unpopular with the teachers and students but that you are also covertly unpopular with the board and your administrative staff. They just lack the guts to show this sentiment. The board is a feeble crew whose fecklessness the taxpayers don’t know about, or they would turn them out. The staff got its jobs for unprofessional reasons so that its members are in chronic fear of losing their jobs unless they kiss your tootsies, and this condition generates covert revilement of you.
Inviting this splendid Ms. Heller principal to speak at a community event sponsored by the administration, school board, and CTA so that the whole school family and members of the public can hear how she and her teachers cooperated to share bonus money for their 324 school’s A-plus performance would catalyze a whole new zeitgeist in this forlorn Hillsborough County school system badlands. This unhappy school district has languished in the hands of you and your gutless complicit school board as well as those who preceded you and it for many a long and joyless year to the detriment of education and civility in this forlorn clime.
Lee Drury De Cesare
I wonder if the Hillsborough Schools' CTA's phlegmatic head has the moxie and smarts to do something like this. I love this principal at the end of the article. Are there any like her in the HC schools? I am going to find out her address and try to write her a commendation. I will put the address on the Web if I find it for anyone else who wants to comment this fine gal. lee
City to Give $14.2 Million in Bonuses to Teachers at Schools With Improved Report Cards
Go to PS 324 online. There's a place to send an email to Ms. Heller and the teachers. lee
M.S. 324 - Patria
Janet Heller, Principal
21 JUMEL PLACE, MANHATTAN, NY 10032
Ms. Heller: My four children began grammar school in Flushing before we moved to Florida. PS 155 I think it was. They got good starts in that school.
I read with delight that you and your teachers got some bonus money from the board of education for your excellent performance at PS 324. Well done. I was a teacher before I retired--college English, and I always cheer when teachers do well. Teachers are my gang.
The board and administration treat teachers badly here in Hillsborough County, Florida. So I am glad to see you treat your teachers so well.
I like your generosity in sharing your bonus. That sets a good example for us all.
Congratulation and thank you for your good work and that of all your teachers and students.
lee drury de cesare
New York Times
Article Tools Sponsored By
By JENNIFER MEDINA
Published: September 18, 2008
Teachers at 89 elementary and middle schools will receive bonuses of several thousand dollars each, based on the progress their schools made on report cards released this week, Chancellor Joel I. Klein announced on Thursday. The bonuses, which total $14.2 million and will go to slightly more than half the 160 high-poverty schools the city deemed eligible, are part of Mr. Klein’s efforts to boost pay-for-performance programs in the city’s schools.
A dozen principals at those schools were awarded $25,000 bonuses — the largest ever given to school administrators by the city — for placing in the top 1 percent among the more than 1,000 schools receiving grades this week.
Under an agreement reached with the city’s teachers’ union, which is strongly opposed to individual merit-pay programs, each school that earned the bonus got a pot of money to distribute as it chose. In most schools, the bonuses were spread evenly for classroom teachers, with several giving less to special-education aides and other staff members. A few schools constructed more elaborate systems, like basing bonuses on extracurricular activities.
Schools that met targets set by the Education Department last year received amounts equal to $3,000 for each union member, while schools that reached 75 percent of their targets received $1,500 per union member. Schools that fell below 75 percent but still maintained an A on the report card were also awarded $1,500 for each member.
Despite their past squabbles over other merit programs, Mr. Klein and the presidents of the unions representing teachers and principals presented a united front on Thursday, repeatedly talking about collaboration between school leaders and staffs.
“People are in it together — they are rowing the boat together,” Mr. Klein said. “It’s an affirmation for their community, which works very hard to move their kids forward. They feel a sense of passion and commitment, and now they have an affirmation and that’s all to the good.”
Approval of this program by Randi Weingarten — head of the city’s United Federation of Teachers as well as the American Federation of Teachers, one of two national unions — is an important symbol, and she said on Thursday that she would be willing to support similar initiatives around the country.
Ms. Weingarten has taken care to emphasize that she views the school-based bonuses as different than merit pay, because they do not, as she has said, “pit teachers against each other.”
“If this becomes one of the choices where it’s collectively bargained the way we did it here, or there’s real voice in the nonbargaining states, we’ve always said this should be one of those options,” Ms. Weingarten said. “But it can’t be a top-down model, where it’s imposed on people, because even the best top-down model imposed on people doesn’t work.”
At Middle Schools 319 and 324, which share a building in Washington Heights in Manhattan, classroom teachers each received roughly the same amount, regardless of which subject they taught or how many after-school activities they took part in.
“For us, it was not even a question,” said Ysidro Abreu, the principal of M.S. 319, who received a $25,000 bonus. “We knew that everyone here was important to the success, and we wanted to reward everyone equally.”
At Bronx School of Science Inquiry and Investigation, the staff constructed an elaborate system that essentially set up two tiers of rewards, with all union members receiving at least $2,000 and those who do extra activities like supervising clubs, writing grants and teaching on Saturdays getting an extra $1,786.
“At last it’s a way for us to recognize people that go above and beyond,” said John Barnes, who helped design the system as principal of the school and has since moved to Bronx Early College Academy, where he is earning an extra $25,000 to take over a troubled school. “There are rare opportunities to give people the kind of compensation they deserve. The truth is they deserve a lot more.”
Janet Heller, the principal of M.S. 324, said that the school’s chapter had voted unanimously to reward each staff member with roughly 5 percent of average salary, so that teachers received $3,600 and school aides, $1,200.
“Everyone thought that the teachers are here until 8 o’clock at night and writing the lessons plans and worrying about can their kids read,” Ms. Heller said. Noting that a large chunk of her $25,000 bonus would be eaten by taxes, Ms. Heller said that she planned to donate another $6,000 to the school for field trips and other special events — and that, even though they got their own bonuses, she was considering rewarding her teachers with gift certificates for a massage.
“They really might need it,” she said. “I have to think of something to thank them with.”