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Korsmo’s Weekly Roundup: Principals and Chardonnay

Chris Korsmo

Friends,

Well. What to say? No. Really. What is there to say? We aren’t going to talk about politics in the other Washington lest we start looking for an all-too-early excuse for room temperature chardonnay. And there’s not been a ton of progress – not public anyway – on the state budget. Fret not! It’s never a bad time to get smarter about education funding. (Put down that chardonnay! Learning is fun!)

They Call Me McCleary: First, you can catch yourself up on where things stand in the negotiations over ed funding – often shorthanded by the name of the court case the state is responding to: McCleary. Don’t miss the fight over the “Staff Mix” in the budget debate or you’ll never get the full story on how we build and perpetuate inequitable funding systems. If you’re going to understand ed funding, it’s good to know where the money goes. And, lest you forget, the people that make up the bulk of the system’s budget have thoughts on how the money should be used.

While we wrestle this issue to the ground and then some other states are working to solve the same problem.

It’s the Principal of the Thing: When you think of a school principal’s day what comes to mind? Waltzing through classroom after classroom interacting with teachers and kids, bringing a waft of fresh instructional leadership into every room they enter? Or maybe you remember the time(s) you were sent to the principal’s office and a different kind of wafting. Truth is that for many the day consists of one fire drill – sometimes literally – after another. Lunch duty, bus patrol, tying shoes, negotiating newly exposed hormones among tween girls, kids and sometimes parents with serious trauma, interspersed with classroom observations and report after report compiled and submitted. D.C. public schools is trying to get their principal corps back into the role they were hired for: instructional leadership.

And for as sexy as I just made the whole principal experience sound, teachers will climb the ranks of administration because it’s the only way to a significant increase in pay.

The Rest:

  • When confronted with a problem, one district changed everything to solve it.
  • I saw this in my college town: gaps
  • We love brain science!
  • Speaking of science

As always, thank you for all you do on behalf of our kids.

Chris

 

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Posted in: Blog, Closing the Gaps, Funding, Legislative session, Weekly Roundup

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New study looks at what it takes to attract and support talented principals

CRPE (the Center of Reinventing Public Education) released a a study titled Principal Concerns: Leadership Data and Strategies for States which explores what states do (and can do) to “find, deploy,  and keep good principals.”

As the study notes, principals are an extremely important component to education. Principals are responsible for hiring teachers and enacting and developing school policies that increase student success. In fact, researchers cite a study which says that principals account for a quarter for “school’s total impact on student achievement.”

According to the research, states are just now beginning to implement legislation to support strong principals. Some districts, such as  New York City, New Orleans, Chicago, Hartford, and Denver have enacted laws that have given principles more decision making power by getting rid of mandates that deal with “requirements in schools, class sizes, how many students can be in a class, and how teacher time must be used.” Some states and districts have also worked to ensure budget flexibility enact competitive pay.

CRPE provides suggestions for state policymakers to aid them when it comes to attracting and keeping talented principals which includes looking at and publishing data, choosing high impact options, encouraging  districts to try new things, and linking principal policies to teacher policies.

Read the full study here (PDF).

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New tool for understanding K-12 policy

A new database called the ERIN (Education Resource Information Navigator) Project gives users access to analyze data and information regarding important educational topics.

Users can take the tool to delve deeply into a wide variety of education issues. Actions include the ability to search for or select a topic; read an overview; see the funders, the policy, the research and organizations associated with the topic; and technological resources for topics. For example, selecting Curriculum and Programs, shows users that Georgia passed a pre-kindergarten law and that that the Bill & Melinda Gates are one of the top funders when it comes to that topic. It also allows users to read a study by the National Reading Panel on phonological awareness skills, get to know the Virginia based Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), and learn about D2SC, a software program for schools and school districts.

There are 13 total topics which include: Charter Schools, School Choice, School Funding, Curriculum & Programs, Instruction, Technology in Schools, Assessment, Student & Parent Options, Superintendents & Principals, Teachers, Governance, Data, Running Effective Schools

Check out the ERIN Project site for more information.

 

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Summary of the Recommendations of the Compensation Technical Working Group

Passed in 2009, ESHB 2261 created the Compensation Technical Working Group (CTWG), which was charged with developing a new salary allocation model (SAM) that is simpler, more competitive with other professions, and aligned with educator development and certification. The new compensation system must better attract and retain world-class educators and help build a world-class education system. The CTWG is comprised of representatives from stakeholder groups, including school administrators, principals, teachers, school employees, school districts, school boards, and compensation experts. After 12 months of meetings, the group released its recommendations on June 30, 2012.

To determine an appropriate wage for K-12 employees a comparable wage analysis was conducted for each staff position using Washington State Employment Security Department data on the wages of occupations in Washington State with similar knowledge, skill, education, and training requirements.  The proposed SAM would increase beginning teachers’ salaries from $33,401 to $48, 687. The beginning salary for comparable occupations to teachers was determined to be $58,424, that figure was then adjusted downward, multiplied by 83.3 percent, to account for teacher contract days spanning ten out of twelve months during the year to arrive at starting teacher salary of $48,687. A similar wage analysis was conducted for principals, which determined that the comparable wage for principals is $105,374. Currently the state has an average principal allocation of $58,175, though because districts use local funds to supplement principal salaries, the average principal earns $101,860 annually.  Further, all K-12 staff are moved to a competitive salary using a comparable wage analysis.

The proposed SAM would be a way to allocate money to districts and then the districts would be able to determine their own salary structure as long as they met the minimum starting salary requirement of $48,687 for teachers. There is an annual adjustment for cost of living increases; there is no regional cost adjustment.

The new model would also limit the use of local funds for salary enhancements of state-funded basic education staff to 10 percent above the state allocation to districts for basic education staff.  Ex., a district receives a $100 million state allocation to pay for basic education salaries. The district would be able to spend up to $10 million above the state allocation, in local funds, to pay bonuses or supplement salaries.

The new model is projected to annually cost $2 billion more than current allocations.

The complete report by the Compensation Technical Working Group can be found here. A detailed teacher salary allocation model is located on page 32 of the report.

 

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Opinion: We need great principals in all of our schools

Former policy director for Terry Surguine Governor Mike Lowry, the governor of Washington from 1993 to 1997 wrote a guest commentary in the Everett Herald espousing the importance of principals.

In the opinion piece, Surguine writes,

“In all our efforts to improve public education, we’ve overlooked the people who arguably have the greatest impact on student learning: principals.

Effective organizations have skilled leaders focused on results. In education, student learning is the bottom line, but we’ve paid scant attention to providing effective school leadership even though we have the tools to do so. I believe we need to use those tools more effectively.

Since the Washington Education Reform Act was passed in 1993, we’ve debated certain issues endlessly: Teach to the standards or teach to the test; WASL or no WASL (soon it will be the national Common Core Standards and new testing); hold teachers accountable; hold the Legislature accountable for funding basic education for all children; and charter schools, defeated at the polls three times, but here they come again. Yet we’ve talked very little about the need for excellent school leadership.”

Read the whole thing here.

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Join us for a tele-townhall: Connecting the statehouse to the schoolhouse

How will the newly-signed teacher/principal evaluation bill help ensure students will have a high-quality teacher in their classroom and a quality principal in their school?

Under the umbrella of A+ Washington, LEV and our coalition partners  invite you to join the conversation from 12–1pm on Friday, March 16th, for a conference call with three experts to learn more and ask questions about the teacher and principal evaluation system. The panelists for the discussion and question and answer period will be:

Rep. Eric Pettigrew, 37th Legislative District will talk about why the new law is important to him and Washington state.
Christopher Eide, Teachers United Director will talk about what this new law will mean in the classroom and how it supports teachers.
Dave Powell, Policy Director Stand for Children Washington will answer your policy questions about the new law.

Here are the conference call details:
Date: Friday, March 16, 2012
Time: 12–1pm
Phone number: (888) 886-6603, Extension: 18364#

It’s within our reach to make sure every student is prepared for success in work and life. It will take all of us – parents, families, educators, business and community leaders working together to help every student reach his or her full potential.

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