I got this email this morning. My response is below. "Krejda" obviously dislikes Merit Pay.....
"...Escambia county got the job done." This from your self-serving letter intoday's News Journal. I know personally of a teacher whose evaluation wasn't filled out completely by the administration and therefore didn't qualify for the bonus. Does that sound like getting the job done? I suspect that many school districts opted out of the MAP program not because they couldn't deliver as you suggest, but because they correctly recognized the inherent problems indeveloping a fair and equitable way to distribute the money. Teachers in SantaRosa county believe their county declined to participate for exactly thisreason. The example above clearly indicates that Escambia county also hasfailed in this regard. If it has happened once, I would bet that there areplenty more examples. Two teachers I know at another school opted out of theprogram, not because of any agreement amongst personnel, but instead due to thelarge amount of documentation they were told would be required to qualify andthe perceived ineptness of the administrators that would be doing theevaluations. Still another teacher at another school was told (sic) "apply, itwill be easy and requires no additional work on your part." Does any of thissound anything like fair and equitable? Still another teacher who inquiredabout a guidance counselor opening at her school after being told by studentsand colleagues that they thought she would make a good counselor, was told byher principal that the job mostly entailed doing paperwork and include verylittle actual counseling. How is it then that a guidance counselor at at leastone school qualified for the merit pay? These are just a few anecdotes that Ihave collected in the last week, I'm sure there are many, many more. Maybe youshould stop rushing to pat yourself on the back (again), and find out what isreally going on in Escambia county.
Call me names, hate on me, I don't care. I'm not patting myself on the back-rather I am illustrating the point that Escambia County schools did show leadership statewide by developing, adopting, bargaining and implementing a merit pay plan for educators and district level personnel who met the criteria. As your cynical, inane email below fails to mention--This plan was developed collaboratively with Escambia County Teachers, district level personnel, Gail Husbands, Tom Wazlavek and the EEA. If you hate this plan so much, why not ask your bargaining unit why they ratified it? Also, This law (MAP) was sponsored by Senator Don Gaetz (former Okaloosa County Superintendent), and passed overwhelmingly by the Florida legislature last March. This plan was endorsed by Andy Ford and the FEA, as well as the Florida School Boards Association. I was at the bill signing in Tallahassee the day Governor Charlie Crist signed this program into Law. So that's the background, just so you know what's what. If you or the employees who feel they were not evaluated properly have a major problem, the Escambia County MAP has an Appeals process that can be utilized. Did you know that Krejda? Better yet, give me the names of those that were allegedly slighted and I will look into their cases personally.
While we are on the subject of Merit Pay, did you hear that nationally Both Presidential Candidates John McCain and Barack Obama support Merit Pay? Did you get that memo? You need to edify yourself lest you sound glib on this subject-----Unless you feel that McCain, Obama, Crist, Gaetz, FEA, EEA, FSBA, tens of thousands of teachers, progressive educational reformers statewaide and Escambia School board member Jeff Bergosh---we are all wrong on Merit Pay and you, Krejda, are right? Good luck with that concept.
Finally, in your email you said "Maybe you should stop rushing to pat yourself on the back (again), and find out what isreally going on in Escambia county."
To this quote, which is nothing more than an ad hominem personal attack, I will respond with reasoning and factual information. I will tell you that I AM certainly VERY MUCH in touch with what is going on in Escambia County Schools. I am actively engaged in the schools, my three children attend these schools, I have taught in public schools, between my wife (Beulah Elementary PTA President, ECCPTA area vice president) and I, we have attended at least 9 Open houses in the last two weeks. I attend extracurricular events at these schools, I participate in fundraising for these schools, and I talk up Escambia schools to everyone that will listen. Last Thursday I attended two open hoses in the same evening. I talk with teachers, parents, constituents, and administrators on a regular basis. I join the PTA at schools that I visit for open house. These are some of the things I do. What do you do Krejda?
My finger is on the pulse, I had the courage to seek this position, I stand up for things I believe in, and I'm not afraid to tell someone if I disagree with them. Apparently you do not take a stand on important issues--unless that happens to be "opting-out" of the MAP plan. Do us all a favor and go ahead and "opt-out" this upcoming year as well---leave the money for those who truly deserve/earn it. Better yet, with your attitude, perhaps you ought to consider a career change. “Opt-out” of Teaching altogether. Think about that.
One last thought: The merit pay is one of many education reforms meant to foster and groom a new generation of teachers that want to be the BEST they can be. The days of teachers all deserving the same pay based on time in service and steps on a scale no matter what they are doing, may be slowly coming to an end. Taxpayers want and deserve accountability. Everyone making the same pay, regardless of desire, effectiveness, ability, or performance only rewards mediocrity. Do you understand this Krejda? Our children and the truly great teachers deserve better. We want to reward the BEST and create an environment for teachers to want to strive to be the BEST. Please remember, this isn’t about ME, but rather about Escambia Schools, and getting some of the “positives” out to the public.
Escambia County School Board, District One
I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.