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Cortines' Proposal on Teacher Pay

March 19, 2000

* Re "School Contract Offer Links Pay, Performance," March 15:

I liken LAUSD Supt. Ramon Cortines' suggestion that teachers be paid according to how well their students perform to the "grand old game of baseball." I can imagine a teacher (manager) on the first day of school (opening day) hoping to field a team that will perform miracles in the classroom. The teacher checks the roster and studies the GPAs. The teacher recognizes that a lot of talent exists this season; some 4.0s, a few 3.0s and a majority of 2.0s and lower. The resourceful teacher is thinking ahead and has already devised a four-student (player) trade that would send two 3.0 kids to another class in exchange for a GATE kid and a student with potential to be named later.

The season begins well. However, the teacher begins to notice some key students having difficulties in the classroom (field). It turns out that the difficulties are attributed to problems at home (off the field). The students' parents (agents) are not allocating enough time to work with their students. The end result is a teacher who works tirelessly all season to try to improve the performance of the students. The season ends and despite using cutting-edge strategies and proven techniques, the teacher is asked to take a salary cut.

The reality of Cortines' plan to link teacher pay with pupil performance will cause a major rift at each school site. I can see the headline now: "Teacher sues principal and LAUSD due to lack of bright kids received at the beginning of the semester."


Long Beach

* So Cortines wants to tie teachers' and administrators' pay to students' performance? To the best of my recollection, the Stanford 9 doesn't test achievement in physical education, music, foreign languages, computer skills or a myriad of other "single" subjects taught in LAUSD secondary schools. Are the teachers of these subjects going to have their salaries tied to student achievement? Or does that only apply to those of us who teach math, language arts, science and social studies?


Teacher, LAUSD

* Your story left out one of the most important parts of the LAUSD contract proposal. The proposal calls for an increase in the working day of educators of 16% to 32%. This means the overall proposal calls for a pay cut of at least 14%. How could The Times overlook this? Oh, I forgot. The Times wrote in a Jan. 9 editorial, "The teachers might strike. Let them."


Van Nuys

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