Monday, February 15, 2010

Georgia Ammended Budget Approved By House

Posted by League of Women Voters of Georgia:

The Georgia House adopted an amended state budget Thursday that cuts approximately $1.2 billion for the current fiscal year. The cuts include changes in appropriations to Health and Human Services, such as $940,000 in Administrative Services. The FY 2010 Supplemental budget calls for furloughs of state personnel including teachers, caseworkers, and food stamp eligible workers. It also cuts funding for independent living programs, domestic violence shelters, and recruitment and screening of prospective adoptive parents.

It restores funding for the Alzheimer's Center, Harrison County Senior Citizen Center, DeKalb County's Meals on Wheels service. Additionally $274,000 was restored to the Autism Center. Funding for a new database was delayed. The House also rejected the Governor's plan to pay for certain scholarships with lottery reserves. Instead, it proposed funding those scholarships with general revenue funds. The FY 10 Amended Budget now moves to the Senate for consideration.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

What is Happening in Georgia Regarding Bulling?

Bullying currently affects ALL of our children in our K-12 schools across Georgia. Bullying affects those who bully, those who are victimized, and those who are witnesses or assistants to interpersonal violence. We can and must reduce this age-old problem. Currently Georgia’s legislature is looking at a bill that may expand the definition of bullying in Georgia. Below is an explanation of the bill. Read the explanation and give us you opinion on the topic.

In a House Judiciary Committee meeting, HB 927 was passed in the House Judiciary Committee meeting and now moves to the House Rules Committee for placement on the House calendar regarding the date for a vote. HB 927 expands the definition of bullying to include cyber-bullying and other disruptive behaviors and to include acts by students in grades k-12. The legislation would allow local boards of education to assign bullies to schools outside the bullies’ attendance areas for the purpose of separating bullies from their victims. The bill also directs the state board of education to enact a model bullying policy, which contains a:

• Prohibition of bullying;
• Requirement that teachers or other employees who have reliable information leading a reasonable person to suspect that someone is a target of bullying immediately report it to the school principal;
• Requirement that each school have a procedure for the school administration to promptly investigate in a timely manner and determine whether bullying has occurred;
• Identification of an age appropriate range of consequences for bullying;
• Procedure for a student, parent or guardian, teacher, or other school employee, either anonymously or in such person's name, at such person's option, to report or otherwise provide information on bullying activity;
• Requirement that a parent or guardian of any target of bullying or student who bullies another shall be notified; and
• Statement prohibiting retaliation following a report of bullying.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Teachers' Pay Looks Good From the Outside Looking In However, the Picture in the Inside is not as Good

According to studies such as the Manhattan Institute’s study of teachers’ salaries in America, public school teachers are actually paid 11% more money than the other professional workers in America. The literature indicates that private school teachers’ salaries are much lower than public school teachers’ salaries.
According to BLS statistics, the average teacher wage in America is $34 an hour. These wages exceed those wages of the average wages of the following professionals in American:

• Accountants earn a median hourly wage of $27.89
• Architects earn a median hourly wage of $32.96
• Civil engineers earn a median hourly wage of $33.41
• Medical scientists earn a median hourly wage of $33.24
• Fashion designers earn a median hourly wage of $32.39
• Computer programmers earn a median hourly wage of $32.40
• Architects of the internet age earn a median hourly wage of $32.40

Teachers can make a very good living in teaching depending on the subject specialty and their state’s school district. However, teachers also many teachers also indicated that they spend a great deal of money out of pocket for materials which other professional may not be spending.

Teachers’ positions used to be more secure and in the last few years due to the economy many school districts are cutting their teaching staff and schools budgets to the bone which affects the moral and climate of the teaching profession. In the meantime more and more expectations are being placed on teachers to perform miracles in the classroom with little support in some situations from the home.

Teachers’ do not have the opportunity in many situations to take care of basis needs such as going to the bathroom when the need arises as other professionals have the benefit of having. Teachers cannot leave students unattended. Administrators are planning master schedules much more interesting in work productivity of teachers than planning for instructional planning time which puts undue stress on teachers to perform their job with all the extra demands due to NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND.

Even though the picture looks good on the outside many teachers will tell you that the inside problems of teaching are much more difficult than the picture on the outside. Many people think of teaching as being a good job with a good salary with summers off. However teachers are required to continue to continue their professional learning experiences in order to continue to be teachers. Because of this requirement many teachers take college classes for credit or work on degree programs to improve their salaries or attend workshops in the summer months.

The picture looks brighter on the outside than in the inside of teaching so many young teachers do not stay in the teaching field and in a few years there is a prediction of shortages of teachers throughout America. Steps need to be taken to assure we have the quality teachers our students in America need in the future. Many states such as Georgia are looking into Pay-Per Performance Programs at this time.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Should Georgia Pay National Board Certified Teachers What They Are Worth?

An attempt is underway to introduce legislation that will be a good incentive for teachers with National Board Certification. Democratic Representatives Smyre, Porter, Hygley, Ashe, and Randall are sponsoring HB 1136, in support of supplementing pay for teachers certified as National Board Certified Teachers. This legislation, seeks to restore the pay in full for National Board Certification at all schools, regardless of when the educator receives the certification.

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is a volunteer way to try to address teachers showing teachers are highly effective, or highly qualified. Through the certification process, the teachers must demonstrate, and gain recognition for knowledge and teaching skills. A group of peer National Board Professionals evaluates the candidates’ effectiveness. According to Goldhaber and Anthony (2004), the National Board for Professional Standards Committee definitely identifies the most effective teachers among the applications received to participate in the program. The National Board Professionals appears to pick the best applicants to go through the process. The candidates selected also are normally more effective as teachers even before becoming candidates for the program (Goldhaber & Anthony, 2004).

As a teacher I have thought about going through this process several times. However, first it is expensive to go through the process with only the possibility of becoming certified. Secondly, it take a great deal of time and energy which the literature also indicates could take away from the ability of a teacher to instruct the students while going through the National Board Certification Process. Would it be reasonable to pay for these teachers' services and for expertise for becoming National Board Professionally Certified in Georgia? Georgia avocated for its teachers to get certified for a long period of time. What do you think?


Goldhaber, D., & Anthony E., (2004). Can Teacher Quality Be Effectively Assessed Report NO. NCRTL_RR-(@-4). East Lansing, MI: National Center for Research on Teacher Learning. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED347346).