Letter: Effectiveness stipend wrong for EBR system

In regards to the recent article urging Dr. Bernard Taylor to rewrite the salary schedule for the East Baton Rouge Parish school system, I would like to make some clarifications and present information that makes this effectiveness stipend wrong for our school system.

First, the actual problem is not with the teacher salary schedule. The teacher salary schedule compensates teachers based on the number of days in the year they work, years of experience, and the level of degree the teacher has attained.

Any pay incentives for teachers to earn further education is compensated in this salary schedule. No one has a problem with paying teachers more for their extra certification.

Second, the problem lies with the effectiveness stipend. This is where the teacher is evaluated in the classroom and shows student growth, thus earning a score that in turn rates them as Ineffective, Emerging, Proficient, or Highly Effective. I want to state that this stipend is based on teacher performance and student growth. There should not be any other factors that should be considered for this stipend.

Third, the main problem with the Effectiveness stipend is that it creates division among teachers. When you pay one teacher more money than another teacher who earned the same level of effectiveness, this creates dissension and kills morale. As of now a teacher with a BA and 1-10 years experience gets $350 for a Highly Effective rating while another teacher with a BA and 11-40 years experience gets $63 for a Highly Effective rating.

Is this fair? What makes one teacher’s success in the classroom worth more money than another? Just for the record, a teacher rated Highly Effective with a master’s gets $500. This kind of discrimination between employees can be very depressing.

Fourth, it’s very important to remember that classroom teachers are in contact and responsible for their students all day every day. I was very disappointed to see that personnel not in the classroom setting were getting paid stipends for Highly Effective ratings in the ranges of $500 up to $986.

Student growth is achieved through the daily contact between teachers and students. I agree that support personnel are very important and definitely play a part in the educational process, but in the case of this stipend, the upper echelon is compensated too high in comparison to a $63 stipend paid to a teacher.

Fifth, the surrounding parishes all presented stipends that were fair to their teachers across the board. Teachers want to know that their hard work and success matters as much as their co-workers. I’m hoping that this Effectiveness Stipend created and approved by the East Baton Rouge Parish school system is reviewed and changed to compensate all teacher’s for their successes.

Charles Wall

educator

Baton Rouge