Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Honesty is the best policy - when there is money in it.

Yet another modest proposal for your consideration. In the last blog entry, I touched lightly on the power of money and how we could potentially improve the calibre of board candidates if we offered a higher sum of money. An actual salary instead of a meagre handout of $50 per meeting. During the day, these board members could put whatever skills they might possess to work making the District a better place. Have them meet and mingle. Let them dig around. Encourage them to ask questions and poke under rocks. They could drive a school bus, prepare and serve lunches, they could fill in when a teacher is sick.

Now, imagine if the Edmonds School District offered the superintendent a substantial raise. Not to suggest that he doesn't already get paid enough at more than $200,000.00 a year. But imagine if the District paid him $250,000.00 a year, with one small string attached. The net percentage he would actually "earn" would be directly tied to WASL scores. If 60% of District students passed the WASL, he would take home 60% of his pay. If 60% of District students failed, he could be flipping burgers next to many of them on weekends to make ends meet.

It's a standardized test and outside of the superintendent's direct influence or control. If better teachers are recruited and retained, there might be a better chance he could earn more money. If they leave in droves, his income may take a dive. Nothing motivates a person to succeed better than lining their pockets with legitimately earned income. The superintendent could add another Porsche or two to his collection and we can churn out brighter and more accomplished students. Maybe they might even survive a few rounds of math at the University of Washington.

I would suggest even taking this scenario one step further. Eliminate Marla's salary and put her on commission. Let her deals see the light of day and openly encourage creativity. Instead of guessing as to the financial impact of these questionable deals, cast some light on them and openly acknowledge her accomplishments with a percentage of the transaction's value.


Anonymous said...

I totally agree with your statement; makes perfect sense, but do you think this could really happen in the real world? It would be fun to see Nick driving around the District in a school bus delivering/picking up kids, fighting traffic, kids yelling on the bus, or he could go to a school and push a broom for 8 hours! A REAL leader would consider such tasks to understand the efforts put forth by dedicated employees who do not make the "Big Bucks"! Does he ever even visit buildings? Or is that a thing of the past as well?

Anonymous said...

That could never work. There are too many dynamics associated with standardized test scores. Quality teachers are one and transient populations are another (off the top of my head).

Would the %be tied to a control-group of students who began in the district as kindergarteners? After a certain amount of time to acclimate to our curriculum, would students who relocated be allowed to replace the control-group attrition?

What about ELL/IEP/504 students? Would they be included in the control group? And if not, does that mean that the district will redirect attention and resources away from them to students who can pass tests?

Not to mention, the EEA/WEA would object to any measure of merit-based pay or reward. Although your suggestion doesn't call for teacher merit pay, you can be a trickle-down effect would be required for the sup to have that much quality-control.

Anonymous said...

Great statement!
Nick, where are you? I see that you stamp my check "WoW" & you write some dumb letter with my check "nice".
How about do something for the people that run the district. " no joke" Nick, please step down now! you have done enuff bullsh@t to kill 2 cows! Remember you are only as good as your worst employee & you got a lot of them! We need a change now not later. Be the better man & go recharge your batteries & come back some rainy day "please"

Anonymous said...

The WASL is a flawed test. It doesn't do what it is designed to do. Results do not comeback in time to do anything about them. You are not tracking/comparing the same students from year to year; you are comparing this year's students with last year's (it is like comparing the first born child to the second born-they are DIFFERENT children).

The State has spent BILLIONS of dollars on this thing and has nothing to show for it. It doesn't track the NEAP (national test), it doesn't track IQ, it doesn't track job performance, it doesn't track high school or college GPA. The money wasted at ESD pales in comparison.

National Board certified teachers tend to quit public schools for private schools when a WASL-like test begins to drive the curriculum (the cirriculum tends to narrow in order to get the kids to jump through this one hurdle [as if life will be better when you can pass this one test!] rather than widen to provide more challenges to students).

But then again, using the WASL inappropriately one more time probably wouldn't change anything anyway!