“Notes from the Superintendent” is a document intended to provide answers to the most frequently asked or most topical questions that I hear from our dedicated teachers and staff members at the campus level. These notes are kept on the HUB, the district’s online newsroom, and will provide brief answers to different questions every two weeks.
If you have a question related to something that affects a number of employees, you may submit that question here. I hope this additional form of communication will help all of us stay on the same page and enhance our ability to serve our students.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Question: Is the compensation level for teachers under the TEI system competitive?
Answer: Yes. Our goal is to offer staff salaries that are the most competitive in North Texas. In order to keep salaries competitive, compensation will have to be adjusted as salaries change in the region. The TEI Expert Group will provide input regarding an increase in the compensation levels for several of the effectiveness levels at its February meeting. At this time, the following increases are proposed:
Question: Under TEI, will salaries increase for all teachers? Will support staff receive raises next year?
Answer: In October 2015, most returning teachers in Dallas ISD will receive a raise. However, we anticipate that some teachers will not attain a level of effectiveness that is high enough to earn more compensation.
Still, the current rules for TEI allow for the district to provide an adjustment to all of the levels or to salaries in order to take into account cost of living adjustments or other market conditions. While teachers should not expect such an adjustment every year (which would mirror the concept of the old salary schedule), the district will propose a small increase in all wages for the 2015-2016 school year.
Question: Did the district eliminate the writing ACPs, which are administered in January?
Answer: Yes, those writing assessments will no longer be administered as an ACP. They will, however, be a campus-level benchmark exam. That means students will take the exam, but the exams can be administered and scored by a student’s teacher. Scores will not be used for TEI and will not be centrally collected. This will allow teachers and schools to receive immediate feedback and use the exams to improve instruction.
Question: Is the district eliminating incentives for Advanced Placement teachers and their students who pass AP exams?
Answer: The AP incentive program began in the late 1990s through a grant from the O’Donnell Foundation. In 2000, the TI Foundation graciously provided additional support for this program. The incentives continue to be funded by the Texas Instruments and the O’Donnell Foundations, and are administered by the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI). We are deeply appreciative of that support and know how much it has benefited our students.
The current grant, which includes teacher, student and campus incentives, runs through the end of this school year. As part of its annual review of education grants, the TI Foundation will consider this spring how it will support AP and other programs that contribute to student success in the future.
The district does not apply for the grant or for funding. The TI Foundation uses its own criteria for determining which districts and programs to support.
The district is actively working to sustain the successful results of the AP program and remain in discussions with the TI Foundation.
The district has also for the first time allocated $1 million in the budget to pay for student AP exam fees and prep sessions, demonstrating our commitment to support rigorous programs that help prepare college-and career-ready students.
Question: Will effective or distinguished teachers be forced to move to struggling campuses?
Answer: No. We have received a few emails and phone calls about a Fox4News report, which suggested that this might be the case. It is not the case. I have said all along that effective teachers will not be forced to move to struggling campuses. Once we know who our effective and distinguished teachers are and where they are teaching, we will decide the best way to incentivize effective teachers moving to our lowest performing schools. That means the choice is with the teacher.
DID YOU KNOW?
- In the most recent climate survey, 48.2 percent of teachers believe the District is headed in the right direction. Another 25.9 percent were neutral.
- Instructional coaches, assistant principals and principals will serve on the Distinguished Teacher Review teams. This year, only principals who have received a “Proficient I” or higher evaluation were invited to participate in the distinguished review process.
From The Coming College Decline – NationalJournal.com, Jan. 14, 2015.
The best way to understand the stakes in President Obama’s proposal to massively expand access to community college is to consider a stark forecast from prominent demographer William Frey.
Frey has calculated that if the U.S. does not improve its college completion rates for young people, the share of Americans holding at least a four-year degree will start to decline as soon as 2020. After that, his model forecasts that the share of college-educated Americans will not climb back to its level in 2015 (just under one-third) at least through 2050.
That’s an almost unprecedented prospect for the American economy: The percentage of Americans holding at least a four-year degree has increased steadily since at least 1940, according to the Census Bureau. It’s also an ominous prospect in an international economic competition increasingly centered on knowledge and innovation.
The reason the U.S. faces the risk of declining educational achievement is its failure to sufficiently respond to the profound demographic change reshaping society. The current school year marks the first time in American history when a majority of all K-12 public school students nationwide are minorities. Minority students already comprise nearly two-fifths of high-school graduates and will reach about half by 2023, the Education Department projects.
This cresting wave of diversity is reaching onto college campuses. The minority share of the entering class at two- and four-year colleges has increased from about one-fourth in 1995 to nearly two-fifths now. But completion rates for African-American and Hispanic students who start college remain considerably lower than for whites (or Asian-Americans). Because those black and Hispanic students make up an increasing share of the college pipeline, it is their high attrition rate that creates the risk that the nation’s overall share of college graduates will shift into reverse.
That will quickly affect employers, because the Census Bureau has projected that through 2030 the number of working-age whites will fall by 15 million. All of the growth in the workforce through then will come from Hispanics, Asian Americans and African-Americans (in that order). Frey projects that by 2030 minorities will become a majority of all young (18-29) adults. “The fact that the labor force will continue to ‘brown’ from the younger ages on upwards means that a great deal of attention must be paid to increasing minority postsecondary education so that the skill levels of our entire workforce stays competitive,” says Frey, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and author of the insightful recent book Diversity Explosion. . . .