IDAHO SECRETARY OF STATE
Ben Ysursa, Secretary of State
Referendum to approve or reject legislation providing teacher performance pay based on state-mandated test scores, student performance, hard-to-fill positions and leadership.Referendum to approve or reject S1110; relating to education: revising Idaho Code by adding new section 33-1004I to provide and distribute in fiscal year 2013 state share-based pay for performance bonuses to certificated instructional staff based on a school's median student growth percentiles on state achievement tests and a school's median standardized score on state achievement tests and local share-based pay for performance based on student test scores, graduation rates, dropout rates, percent of graduates attending postsecondary education or entering military service, meeting federal "adequate yearly progress", number of students successfully completing dual credit or advanced placement classes; percent of students in extracurricular activities, class projects, portfolios, successful completion of special student assignments, parental involvement, teacher-assigned grades, and/or student attendance rates, and, in fiscal year 2014 and thereafter, in addition to the aforementioned bonuses, provide incentives for certificated instructional staff in hard-to-fill positions and leadership awards for certificated instructional staff who assume one or more of the following additional duties: instructional staff mentoring, content leadership, lead teacher, peer coaching, content specialist, remedial instructor, curriculum development, assessment development, data analysis, grant writing, special program coordinator, research project, professional development instructor, service on education committees, educational leadership and earning national board certification.
Shall the legislation providing teacher performance pay based on state-mandated test scores, student performance, hard-to-fill positions and leadership be approved?
Argument IN FAVOR of Proposition Two
Voting yes means supporting legislation passed in 2011 by Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter and the Idaho Legislature.
This law recognizes that the most important factor in a student's academic success is the quality of the teacher in the classroom. The system we had before made it almost impossible to financially reward great teachers and difficult to deal with ineffective teaching. This law removes the barriers to both by implementing a statewide pay-for-performance plan. The Idaho Legislature provided an additional $38 million in new dollars to fully fund this plan. On average, each Idaho teacher can earn an additional $2,000 a year. Some teachers could earn as much as $8,000 in addition to their annual salary. Now local school districts have a way to recognize and financially reward great teachers for the job they do. An estimated 85 percent of Idaho's teachers will receive a bonus.
Under this pay-for-performance plan, all teachers (including P.E., special education, alternative high school teachers, etc) are eligible to receive performance bonuses in three different areas:
Idaho will distribute bonuses based on academic growth in a whole school. These bonuses will be awarded to the entire school because every teacher contributes to a student's success, whether it is in math, P.E., or art. Importantly, this concept fosters continued teamwork, collaboration, and sharing of ideas among teachers and administrators in a school. Local school districts will have the flexibility to set their own student growth measures based on student achievement goals set by the local school board, teachers, and administrators.
The student achievement portion of this plan focuses on academic growth. It measures educators' success in a school based on the academic growth or progress that the students in that school make during the school year. This is the only fair way to measure academic performance.
This plan was developed in 2009 by a group of stakeholders including the Idaho School Boards Association, Idaho Association of School Administrators, Idaho Education Association, and representatives of the Idaho Business Coalition for Education Excellence.
Previously, Idaho teachers had little or no control over how much money they earned. Teachers were paid based only on their years of experience and the amount of education they had. This made it difficult to reward excellence or to attract and retain the best and the brightest classroom teachers. Now, a teacher will continue to receive a salary based on experience and education, but also has the opportunity to earn bonuses each year above and beyond their base salary.
Yes For Idaho Education
Rebuttal to Argument IN FAVOR of Proposition Two
Proposition 2 is another top-down mandate that will hurt our children's ability to compete in the worldwide economy. It is simply not true that the law was developed collaboratively: Superintendent Luna admitted that he drafted the pay scheme in his office with only "about twelve" administrators.*
Like the failed "No Child Left Behind" law, this proposal emphasizes standardized testing at the expense of our children's education, treating students like widgets on an assembly line. Each child is unique, and it takes a dedicated, highly-trained teacher to reach each one. We need to make sure our children are critical thinkers and lifelong learners, not just good test takers.
Proposition 2 ties teacher pay to standardized test scores. This means teachers working with the most challenging children are likely to get paid less, as students with special needs and economic disadvantages often don't perform as well on standardized tests. That's not fair and discourages our best and brightest teachers from working with students who need them most.
There is no evidence that basing teacher pay on standardized tests improves student learning. Instead of forcing teachers to "teach to the test," we should require school principals to monitor classroom performance, enable experienced teachers to mentor and assess their colleagues, and give parents a role in the process.
Tell Superintendent Luna and politicians in Boise that more emphasis on standardized tests will compromise our children's education and hurt their future.
Vote No on Proposition 2.
*KTVB News, March 10, 2011
Vote NO on Propositions 1, 2, and 3
Argument AGAINST Proposition Two
Proposition 2: an unproven, unfair pay plan
Proposition 2 is a top-down mandate, much like the Federal No Child Left Behind Law, that unfairly links teacher pay to standardized testing. It is part of the package of laws pushed through the legislature in 2011 by State Supt. Tom Luna. This one-size-fits-all plan puts Idaho's students and teachers last.
As one parent told lawmakers, "With these rules, even more weight is put on a single test score, and students are treated like widgets coming off an assembly line." The fact is, each child is unique, and it takes a dedicated, caring, highly trained teacher to reach them. We need to make sure our children are good critical thinkers, not just good test takers.
Putting more weight on standardized test scores doesn't help our teachers inspire creative thinking in our children and takes away the joy and success of learning as well as the great feeling teachers have when they see a student conquer a challenge. In fact, when the Idaho Department of Education reported that last year nearly twice as many Idaho teachers left the profession as in previous years, the new red tape in Proposition 2 was cited by many as a chief factor. Base pay for Idaho teachers is now lower than it was in 2009* and because politicians cut already-low salaries to pay for this unproven plan, many of our teachers are forced to change careers or move to other states.
There are other unintended consequences. Proposition 2 means teachers working with the most challenging children are likely to get paid less, as students with special needs and from low-income areas typically do not score as well on standardized tests. That's not fair and discourages our best and brightest teachers from working in the schools that need them the most.
Measuring teacher performance is important, but this is the wrong way to do it. Instead of putting even more emphasis on standardized testing - like the failed federal No Child Left Behind law - we should require school principals to monitor classroom performance, have experienced teachers mentor and rate others, and allow parents to weigh in on the process.
When Superintendent Luna and the legislature wrote these laws, they didn't involve the parents and teachers. That was the wrong way to do it. To do it the right way, we need to vote No on Proposition 2 and allow parents and teachers to be part of the process of truly reforming the way Idaho's teachers are rewarded for a job well done.
*HB 669-Idaho Legislature 2nd Regular Session 2008 and SB 1410-Idaho Legislature 2nd Regular Sesson 2012
Vote NO on Propositions 1, 2, and 3
Rebuttal to Argument AGAINST Proposition Two
A YES vote means 85% of Idaho's teachers will earn a financial bonus of up to $8000 per year.
A NO vote means we revert back to the old system where all teachers are paid the same regardless of their performance in the classroom.
Yes for Idaho Education
In Favor Of
Yes for Idaho Education
Vote NO on Propositions 1, 2, and 3
ARGUMENTS PRINTED ON THIS PAGE ARE THE OPINIONS OF THE AUTHORS AND HAVE NOT BEEN CHECKED FOR ACCURACY BY ANY OFFICIAL AGENCY.