Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Productivity / Performance Factors

Here is an interesting exchange from this post.  MinnPost LM was Right  RB raised the question of "Effectiveness Factors", which is an interesting concept to me.  Thoughts?
"Do you have any "good and reasonable" proposals?

Or do you support Paul's proposal that we just tax and spend more, and not work to optimize the current system for the good of the students and tax payers?

Do you truly believe that only years / degrees should be used to determine who is paid the most and kept in our children's classrooms?

And if you truly believe that years / degrees determine the best Teachers... Then what is your rationale for allowing them to opt out of the schools that teach the unlucky students who need the best Teachers?" G2A
"Are you saying that there is no correlation between years of experience teaching and the teacher's effectiveness, or is that just a smokescreen?" RB Holbrook 
"There likely is correlation between education, experience and performance. However I certainly don't see it being what one should exclusively base compensation and retention on. Based on your logic, anyone who practices a lot, hires coaches and tries long enough should be able to play professional sports and get payed the highest salary with no chance of getting fired no matter how they change or how much effort they show.

The reality is that excellent perfomance has many factors. Natural ability, education, experience, ability to change and effectively implement what is learned in classes or by experience, effort, beliefs, personality, work ethic, organization skills, classes management skill, etc. Yet people like yourself seem to think there are only 2 factors to be evaluated. (ie years and degrees)

By the way, you evaded answering the questions I posed. If you want to double down on years + degrees = performance, then how are we not ensuring that the older high dollar Teachers are not working with the children who most need them?" G2A

 
"I have never said that education and experience are the only bases for compensation and retention. However, I feel that making the elimination of tenure as a significant factor in teacher retention is, at best, taking the easy way out.

Let's use your example of someone who "practices a lot, hires coaches and tries long enough" to play professional sports. Yes, the idea that such a person is entitled to play is absurd. Do they get a tryout? If they do, there is no guarantee that they will be the better performer, but, if I had to bet, I would bet on that person over someone who has never given any thought to playing professionally but who is placed on the team because we need a "new approach." I would also bet against a more experienced player over a rookie (up to a point. If Pete Rose does get reinstated . . .).

My bet is that most of the people who are ill-suited for teaching leave the profession in relatively short order. That is not a guarantee, but I would suspect that there is more correlation between experience and performance than the simple-solutions crowd would like to admit.

Why are we not ensuring that the older high dollar Teachers are not working with the children who most need them? Good question. Perhaps the incentives are not high enough." RB Holbrook
 
"They are already making almost twice what a 3 year Teacher is making. How much more incentive do you want to give them for Teaching where their experience is most needed? I will need to try that at work sometime.

"Boss, Even though I am one of the higher paid Project Managers with ~25 years of experience and 3 degrees. I demand that I am only given the simplest lowest stress projects."

The Public School world is almost like an alternate universe..." G2A

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Public School world is almost like an alternate universe.

In many ways public schools are an alternate universe, or at least a different universe. In market terms, when we are dissatisfied with a product, we return it to the store, or buy a different product next time. In the alternate universe of children, our options are different. We can't return children to the factory, nor can change the brand of child we get next time. A lot of different consequences flow from these facts in that alternate universe.

--Hiram

John said...

"We can't return children to the factory, nor can change the brand of child we get next time."

Very confusing...

Schools do not have children, they are there to teach / improve children. And we certainly can change a system that is leaving kids behind and/or doing this service inefficiently or ineffectively.

At best your statement is describing Parenting...

jerrye92002 said...

Seems to me we have a lot of circumlocution to what is in reality a very simple proposition: We should pay teachers based on what they are worth, considering how well they do the job and how difficult it is. Paying them by union scale is the complete opposite of that very sensible standard.

Anonymous said...


Schools do not have children, they are there to teach / improve children.

I disagree. Whenever I visit one, they seem to be all over the place.

--Hiram

Anonymous said...

We should pay teachers based on what they are worth, considering how well they do the job and how difficult it is.

Well, I doubt we could hope to afford that. We pay teachers something like what the market bears, which has no relationship at all to what they are worth.

--Hiram

jerrye92002 said...

"We pay teachers something like what the market bears..."

That's true in the aggregate-- that if 200 people want to be teachers and we only need 100 we can pay them, collectively, less money. But within the 100 we do hire, some should get paid more than others, based on merit and "degree of difficulty." And those at the bottom will drop out and give somebody else a chance, starting at the low end of a pay scale but with room to prove themselves and get more pay thereby.

Anonymous said...

And we certainly can change a system that is leaving kids behind and/or doing this service inefficiently or ineffectively.


We can certainly change the system, and we have. Schools are a lot better than they used to be, we teach just about all kids better now than in the past. For myself, I am somewhat skeptical that whatever tinkering we have done with assorted evaluation formulae has had much to do with actually improving our schools, but for other reasons, I am certainly in favor of improving the way we evaluate stuff. But bear in mind, however more valuable a good teacher is than a good second baseman, for now, and for the foreseeable future, the second baseman is going to be paid more.

--Hiram

John said...

Trying to make this more generic. What factors do you think are most important in performance of the typical employee?

How does this apply to School Staff performance?

"The reality is that excellent perfomance has many factors. Natural ability, education, experience, ability to change and effectively implement what is learned in classes or by experience, effort, beliefs, personality, work ethic, organization skills, classes management skill, etc."

jerrye92002 said...

Funny, I just had this conversation with my DFL State Senator, who claimed, correctly, that student achievement has gotten better. He is correct, but I still have a little problem with the math. The original NCLB expected to have "100% of students proficient in reading and math by 2014." That may have been unrealistic, but certainly a worthy goal. At the current rate of "improvement," in fact, Minneapolis schools could reach those goals somewhere between 25 and 50 years from now! So between 2 and 4 entire generations of students will have been failed by the system in that time. I count that unacceptable.

Anonymous said...

The original NCLB expected to have "100% of students proficient in reading and math by 2014."

I can't ever recall expecting to have all students proficient in reading and math by 2014, and it strikes me that the congress people who did have such expectations didn't know much about education, schools and children. Having such expectation on their part says a lot more their naivete and downright ignorance about education issues than it does about what's going on in our school.

Personally, I don't think schools now or ever in the future reach the goals I set for them. If they did, I would move the goalposts. But reaching goals is something different from making progress, and the fact is, our schools are making progress.

--Hiram

John said...

What are you basing your making progress belief on?

Or is it just a feeling?

Laurie said...

I believe quite a lot has been written about how the schools have made progress in the last 20 years (I am not sure of the time frame that is typically used.) If I can find something quickly I will post a link otherwise it will have to wait until tomorrow.

Laurie said...

U.S. high school dropout rate reaches record low, driven by improvements among Hispanics, blacks

Laurie said...

The Kids Are All Right

If you don't trust Kevin Drum read the NAEP report for your self.

jerrye92002 said...

I'm looking at charts from the Minneapolis School District, showing "progress."

OK, so we may never get to 100%, but 50% is not acceptable, and taking 25 years to get above 90% is not acceptable either. We need some radical changes to education.

jerrye92002 said...

Laurie, thanks much for those links. Unfortunately, the one on dropout rate still indicates we have to wait at least 15 years, one whole "generation" of kids, to get them where they should be. That number says nothing, too, about achievement. Since the DFL eliminated the grad tests, we can't really know whether those kids learned anything in their extra years before graduation.

The other item, about NAEP standards, uses scores on a test to show improvement, when what is important is how far that score is from some definition of "proficient." Even at that, improvements are at best 5-10%, and when 50-80% are "not proficient," that's not good enough.

Laurie said...

Here is another test score link for you comparing USA students to countries around the world:

PISA: It’s Still ‘Poverty Not Stupid’

John said...

Laurie,
I like your last source the best, though I think the title is wrong.

The same factors that affect performance at work, also impact if you will be poor, middle class or wealthy. (Natural ability, education, experience, ability to change and effectively implement what is learned in classes or by experience, effort, beliefs, personality, work ethic, organization skills, management skill, etc)

Poverty is caused by something... Unfortunately it is likely that that something also causes academic challenges.

However if the Schools could change that something in children as part of educating them, they may not be poor when they grow up.

Unless you really think that poor people need to be academic failures, just because they are poor.

Laurie said...

The point of my link to me is that educating low income students to achieve at the same level as their more privilaged peers is not easy. Perhaps more resources are needed.

(the other point is American schools do a pretty good job educating the non-poor students)

John said...

Laurie,
I do agree with you on the "other point".

As for the first, I think we need to eliminate more waste from the system befote we start putting more money into it.

jerrye92002 said...

"Perhaps more resources are needed."

I will agree also, but I must point out that we already give far more resources to the schools in poor areas, yet they continue to fail. If more resources were the answer, Washington DC schools would be the nation's best, and they are nearly the worst. What matters is how those extra resources are spent, and I see almost 0 inclination in the public schools to radically alter their policies and processes to reach those kids. If it were up to me I would change the state aid formula so that every kid took X number of dollars with him to the school (I would prefer school choice, obviously, but that's a different issue) and then I would require each school or district to come to the legislature with a proposal for how much money they needed to bring most of their kids up to some standard, and how they were going to use that money to accomplish that feat. They would in essence take a "performance contract" and after a few years, if they failed, the contract would go to somebody else. I know it's radical, but that is the kind of change we need.

Anonymous said...


I will agree also, but I must point out that we already give far more resources to the schools in poor areas, yet they continue to fail

And succeed. The irony of public expenditures generally is that they can tend to hurt the numbers. We work a lot harder to keep the marginal kids in school. That's expensive, and it lowers achievement numbers. If the goal were to ramp up the numbers we could do what other states do; push lower performing kids out of schools before they have a chance to mess up the numbers.

--Hiram

John said...

Hiram,
Source please...

"do what other states do; push lower performing kids out of schools"

Laurie said...

another education link:

Test anxiety: Is it the kids or the teachers who are driving opt-outs?

jerrye92002 said...

Laurie, charter schools ARE part of the solution, but they are being starved for resources by the public school defenders.

And the notion that keeping kids in school "hurts the numbers" doesn't hold up when one of the main numbers is graduation rate. Besides, putting kids out of school is an admission of failure to give them the education to which they are entitled, not the fault of the kid, or parents, or lack of funding.

John said...

Laurie's Link and Comment.
Star Tribune Thousands of Mpls Kids Leaving

Maybe charter schools are part of the solution.

John said...

It is especially problematic since it is usually the concerned parents that will pursue other schools and options, while the unluckiest stay in the "no action required" option. That is part of how Mpls landed in this mess in the first place.

jerrye92002 said...

I look at that differently. I say that those who can afford it have school choice for their kids, often by buying a new house "near good schools." Poor folks, who most need a good education to better their lot, are trapped in the "free" public schools that are failing them. It's a "separate and unequal" system.

John said...

Do you remember our discussions of likely reasons "why poor people are poor."

Some of them included:
•bad choices
•irresponsible behaviors
•divorce
•limited education
•government incentives

John said...

Now between magnets, charters, open enrollment, freedom to live elsewhere, private school scholarships, online school, home schooling, etc, I don't think there is any excuse that a dedicated responsible academically focused parent can not help there child succeed.

John said...

And most of them do, that is why Mpls is left with the kids who's parent don't make that extra effort.

What in those traits above indicate that the parents of the unlucky kids would be smart, disciplined, responsible, self sacrificing, academically capable, have good communication skills, etc?

They may want better for their children, that does not mean they know how or even are capable of helping their kids.

Maybe in another state I may agree with you, but in MN choices abound.

jerrye92002 said...

"Now between magnets, charters, open enrollment, freedom to live elsewhere, private school scholarships, online school, home schooling, etc, I don't think there is any excuse that a dedicated responsible academically focused parent can not help there child succeed."

That's sarcasm, right? Poor folks don't have the means for home or online schooling, to move elsewhere, nor to pay for private/parochial schools. They may not even have money to pay for transportation for alternate enrollment or non-public charters. And when private school scholarships or even charter/magnet school "slots" are up for a lottery, the turnout is often 20:1 or even 100:1. Now, are you going to claim that only 1% of the parents TRYING to do better for there kids-- the lottery winners-- are actually making responsible choices? 90+% of kids in failing schools, I am convinced, are there because their parents have no other options. You can't blame parents for not making good choices until you offer them real choices.

John said...

No sarcasm intended. The Parents in MN have many choices regarding schools.

Two of the most important other choices that I may post on this weekend are the choice to stay married and the choice to not have more children than they can afford on their income.

You seem to flip flop on the topic of parent responsibility, it seems you want to hold the schools accountable for not being good "Parents", and let the poor irresponsible Parents off the hook.

As Laurie's data shows, it is the children of poor Parent's who have the hardest time succeeding in school. Even though most schools, Teachers, curriculum, etc is similar.

If this link works, look at the the demographic differences between the RDale district and our STEM magnet. Or our Spanish Immersion.

Both have full district busing, yet certain demographics just don't make an effort to apply.

jerrye92002 said...

"No sarcasm intended."
Too bad, I had hoped you were more logical than that. For your proposition to be true, you would have to show me that there were enough equal-cost alternative school "slots" for every kid. That's the only way you will convince me that parents of kids in bad schools failed to make the better choice.

"Both have full district busing, yet certain demographics just don't make an effort to apply." Oh, you mean the demographics of those who don't want their kids in Spanish immersion or STEM, just "regular school" that teaches them something?
I think you can add to that the number of MPS kids coming out to your district, to escape Minneapolis. Why don't you take them all?

John said...

I think our district administrators would probably happily take every child who's parents care enough to send them, they love open enrollees who bring their funding with them.

They just don't like RDale Parent's who try to intra-district transfer their kids. I mean they take spots in the best schools and bring no additional money with them. And those spots are more likely to draw kids and money from outside the district.

Now you are trying to tell me that poor and Black people have an aversion to the highest performing schools in RDale? (ie STEM / RSIS) Give me a break...

The reality is that the Parent needs to understand that the magnet schools are available, that they need to apply and when, and they need to take the initiative to take action... Unfortunately the parents of the unlucky children are too ignorant or lazy to do this. And yet you choose to blame others for their situation/choice.

jerrye92002 said...

It escapes me how you can create two specialized "magnet" schools, for Spanish and for STEM, and then condemn parents for not choosing something specific that doesn't interest them? What school should the parent choose if he just wants his kid to read and write English and do ordinary math? Why should the MPS kids have to come all the way out there to get an education?

John said...

Your backwards causation perspective seems unshakeable.

You believe that schools are "failing" because of the "school", where as the data mostly shows that schools fail because of the make up of their student body Parents.

Northport and Zachary Lane are 2 schools in the same district, and they have equal opportunity, equal Teachers, equal curriculum, etc. In fact, Northport has more resources... Yet ZLE has good to great results and Northport has poor results.

It definitely is not Robbinsdale or the Northport's issue.

jerrye92002 said...

The schools are responsible by law, by custom and by common sense, to educate children. The children are not educated. What is "backwards" about that correlation?

John said...

The correlation may be fine, it is the causation which is backwards.

You seem to adamantly believe it is the schools that are failing the students. And I don't disagree that they can improve.
However, I believe it is the parents who are ultimately responsible for the well being and education of their children.

Which means supporting, mentorting, modelling, funding, discipling, etc. And only having the number of children they can responsibly handle.

And even though schools work fine for most main stream students, you want to create a special system for the students of questionable Parents, instead of holding the Parents accountable for their poor choices.

jerrye92002 said...

"...it is the parents who are ultimately responsible for the well being and education of their children."

Absolutely. It is written into the GOP platform. But is it not the duty of the State, according to the constitution, to provide parents with the MEANS to educate their children?

We started the public schools so that all kids could read their Bible, and then it became a matter of educating people sufficiently to participate in the representative republic. Now it is supposed to equip them for the complex world we live in, but for too many it does not. Sounds to me like you want parents to go back to teaching the kids how to read the Bible and be done.

jerrye92002 said...

"whereas the data mostly shows that schools fail because of the make up of their student body Parents."

No, you are assuming that correlation is causation, which you do not normally do. You can certainly say that "most schools with large fractions of poor or minority students have poor academic results." That is the correlation. Since a) the schools are responsible for educating the kids and b) we cannot seem to "solve" poverty, what is left as the only causative factor here is the school. To change the outcome, change what the school does. Spoke to a teacher today whose class is 85% poor and Hispanic. She doesn't use the usual teaching methods but her class succeeds beyond most expectations. Does she get credit for "causing" the improvement? One should hope.

jerrye92002 said...

Let me get this straight: If a kid does well in school, the teacher is great and deserves more merit pay (if available). If the kid doesn't do well in school, it's the parents' fault???

jerrye92002 said...

"... instead of holding the Parents accountable for their poor choices."

How? By denying their kids the education that they are entitled to get, and that might prevent them from making the bad choices their parents did? Maybe unto the 7th generation? How Old Testament of you.

John said...

Now we are back to this post.
G2A Responsible Parents

In fact I asked just that question.