Yesterday's Budget Meeting

It was clear in yesterday’s meeting in the County Council Chambers that there is reluctance on the Council to use the $12.1 million owed to the school system for long-awaited, much-deserved, and badly-needed pay improvements for educators. Dr. Maxwell was asked to provide a list of alternatives uses and responded with the additional positions as noted in today’s newspaper. Not noted in the article was the clear statement from Dr. Maxwell that the Board has a budget request before the Council that has not been funded – the $33 million in personnel costs – and they are continuing to advocate for its use there, as originally requested.

We need to help by advocating for our interests too. TAAAC members need to remind the Council that educators vote too.  Please spend a small amount of time to support your profession and your well-being by participating.

MONDAY, MAY 14, 2012: OLD MILL HIGH SCHOOL
  • Hearing begins at 7:00
  • Testimony Sign-ups at 6:00PM
  • Picketing 6:15PM to 7:00PM.
  • Bring your own sign or carry one of ours, come in to hear the testimony given by your TAAAC president; then leave when you please.

 

GRADING POLICY

There are only two days left to submit comments on the grading policy. You will find below excerpts from some of your colleagues who have posted.

“I have, on average, up to 200 students in any given semester. If 20% of them want to “improve their knowledge” before or after school within one week, but they’re all from different sections, are we not really adding an additional teaching period each week? Then, suppose only 5 can show on Monday, 5 on Tuesday, and then the other 10 on Friday after school after work hours have ended? What then? And, what if it a “C” or above, but every student, in an Honors’ class, let’s say, decides they want reteaching and then a chance to improve their grade?”

“I think the language of this particular section definitely needs to be looked at carefully. The logistics all placed upon the teacher, sound like a nightmare.”

“The proposed changes are an insult to real education. By design they make administration look better and create needless extra work for teachers. Redo’s and flexible due dates set students up for failure after high school where none of these policies exist in business or college. They also teach students they do not need to study, that it is just a game to them. In practice in the classroom students have proven this by asking when the redo will occur as soon as an evaluation hits the table. This misguided proposal will prove that administration needs to listen to the classroom experts, the teachers, when students start failing college and business careers because of this high school failure. ….Newly retired after due to these changes…”

“On page 4 (5) it states that final semester or marking period exams may not be reassessed.  Why then are we forced this year to give our high school exam in middle school three weeks early to accommodate reteaching and redo’s of that same exam?”

“And how many teachers are truly going to comment?  With fear of retaliation for expressing an opinion that may be different from administration, most of us are simply keeping quiet to save our jobs knowing that our opinion truly doesn’t matter.”

“Please take me off of your email list, because I haven’t been employed by AACPS, nor involved in TAAAC, in almost two years.  I am terribly sad to hear the spin you are putting on the student-centered grading policies listed below. Top schools throughout the country are adopting these policies in support of their students, with successful outcomes.  Take time to read the research. 🙂  Many students could benefit.  Teachers have no issues adapting to these policies, if they are of a growth mindset. :)”

“After two years at XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX it is clear the students do learn more content from the redo policy.  However it takes a lot of time and is a nightmare to keep track of.  I can have 4 different assignments in each of my XX classes.  If we gave our students a limited number of upgrades it allows flexibility in mastering content and still keeps teachers in charge of a structured environment with some deadlines.”

“This grading policy is unacceptable.  I have 200 kids.  If 50 of them fail a quiz, who in their right mind expects me to call 50 parents, reteach the lesson to 50 kids, make arrangements to give the quiz again and then regrade those quizzes.  If I make 50 five-minute phone calls, that’s 250 minutes (4 hours and 10 minutes).  And, if it takes five minutes to regrade each quiz, that’s another 250 minutes. ”

“We need to do what is best for our children. If the above creates more work for teachers then the work load needs to be adjusted according to the demands. The current policy kills our children’s’ ability to do what they need to do to prevent themselves from failing. I have found that even though my child has an IEP for extra time do to ADHD teachers refuse to adjust their program to work with her. When I advocate for special education children, 504 children, and those with extenuating circumstances I all too often run into a brick wall. Many teachers go the extra mile to be supportive, helpful and understanding. Even if we do enforce the above I don’t believe it will be followed.”

“I have implemented several of the policies they are discussing, but work in excess of 50 hours easily, per week in order to provide the extended opportunities for demonstrating mastery, that they are desiring.  ”

“The implementation that they are discussing (as indicated in my comments) would extend the amount of work that a teacher must do, by upwards of 30+%.”

To have your say, please click onto the below link to review the draft and make comment. Comments are being accepted only to May 11, 2012.

Please also forward a courtesy copy to BJones@mseanea.org.