Education Czar Markell and Coach Murphy bones teachers with bonus plan

Thirty ‘high-need’ schools eligible for teacher bonuses Written by NICHOLE DOBO The News Journal

The $8.2 million, three-year program is meant to help reward and attract teachers to challenged schools in Delaware. Thirty schools were named by the state as eligible for the program, which will award a $10,000 bonus to certain teachers in these schools who meet yet-to-be-defined student test score goals set by the state.

It’s up to school districts and charters to decide if they wish to participate by the end of this month. If they don’t, their teachers will not be eligible for the bonus.

No schools have formally agreed yet to participate. Many have questions about the program, he said. Among the unanswered questions are what specific criteria will be used to determine which teachers will be eligible for the bonus.

Teachers don’t need bonuses! They need respect and control of their classroom without spies aka data coaches.

I urge DSEA to reject this plan and replace with school-wide bonuses allowing those within to determine how to spend it or share it. Why do we want to give individual teachers bonuses for doing their jobs? Why do we want to give Teach for America teachers bonuses on top of AmericCorps incentives 

The “schools” should be challenged from the cafeteria ladies, the custodians, teachers and all support personnel within. A committee within the school should decide how to use the money or divide it. One idea would be improving parental outreach that will have a far greater impact than teachers stuffing $10,000.00 in their pockets. Whatever happen the village analogy?

Another 3 year program and when the money is gone what do we have left? Race to The Top is nothing but a money grab for Wall Street, consultants and teachers and administrators willing to play kiss-ass!

Poverty has become a profit center in education and these teacher bonuses puts Delaware at a new low. Why not reward the students with E-readers or other items that can help them keep improving? How about and apartment for a homeless student and family? The money belongs to children and the betterment of their education. Honoring a teacher for doing their job with monies that could be better served adding more tangible classroom resources is a dishonor to the teaching profession.

22 responses to “Education Czar Markell and Coach Murphy bones teachers with bonus plan

  1. I will be urging my school board to reject these bonuses.


  2. Teachers don’t need bonuses! They need respect and control of their classroom without spies aka data coaches.

    Amen, brother Kilroy!


  3. ghostogstmaryscountypublicschools

    It wouldn’t be the first time.




  5. Thus it begins…

    I can just imagine the PR for this program:

    ATTENTION TEACHERS! Do you want to make a difference in a high-needs school? Do you want to challenge yourself to help raise the achievement levels of all students in this struggling school using your innovative skills and abilities? AND, do you want to make $10,000 just for doing so? Then urge your school district to sign on to this “once in a lifetime” teacher bonus program… (do not read the fine print)

    [fine print: money for program will only last three years; a teacher who is rated as highly-effective at their current school could move to the high-needs school and immediately lost that ‘highly-effective’ rating as a result of the underachievement of the student body and be subject to penalty on their DPAS II Component 5 evaluation, once all parts of said component are live.]


  6. How about instead of bonuses…use the money for grants that teachers can apply for to pay for programs that benefit the students in the classroom. Then there is a direct benefit to the students. MBNA used to supply these and they are effective for teachers working with students one on one!


  7. Vicki Seifred

    I am beyond sickened by this idea of giving bonuses. To put this on a more personal level, I teach Social Studies and within this content area are many reading and writing skills that we practice. I strongly believe that I support our ELA teachers in reinforcing reading and writing within my content area. Raising student achievement test scores is a multi-facted endeavor. From the cafeteria ladies who came in early to make a hot breakfast for ALL of our students on their testing day to the teachers who do not teach Math and ELA and inspire student to do well. ALL staff members play a part in a student’s success. How about taking that money and putting it into after school programs to help those students who need additional assistance?? If this bonus program moves forward, I can’t imagine the “fall-out.” This is just another example of the “powers that be” trying to implement a program without thought or imput from our teachers!! Again, so very sad and so very frustrating!!!


  8. john kowalko

    This bonus component is an illusory technique resulting from the major flaw in RTTT. It (RTTT) is a contest to pit schools and teachers and parents against each other for a reward not necessarily earned. As long as money is spent on competitions than money will be denied the “losers” who inevitably need the most resources to improve their plight. Be very, very aware that a system of rewards given on the basis of unproven evaluating techniques which rely on a paucity of accumulated data will inevitably be used as justification (unfair and wrong) to punish those teachers at the other end of the “spectrum” who will be branded and marked by the likes of the big money winners (innovative schools, edison learning and all the other private consultant charlatans) and a failed testing system with no basis in education reality. Beware the measurement of teachers is already committed to today, (for reward) and a year from today (for punishment) you only have to pull up the transcript from Dr. Lowery’s Joint Education meeting testimony a couple of months ago. Beware all of you wonderful teachers, DSEA and all true education reformists (not Skippy). It’s not a secret path to public education reform if you are willing to look at the top 3 countries worldwide performance assessment and consider that less than 5% of their children live/exist in poverty while the U.S. approaches a 50% childhood poverty level. Enough of the smoke and mirrors snake-oil salesmen with their magic elixer. They tarred and feathered them in the old days and rode them out of town on a rail. Beware, beware and follow the money.
    Rep. John Kowalko


  9. @JohnK
    One might also say beware the status quo. This may ne wrong, but the system remains broken. Where are thee solutions you WOULD endorse (and please don’t say mozre money).


  10. delawareway

    And speaking of TFA – new ruling from Ninth Circuit that they are NOT TO BE CONSIDERED AS HIGHLY QUALIFIED STATUS UNDER NCLB


  11. John Young

    NCS Dad, you mean the status quo of flailing unproven reforms in an unending stream of unfunded mandates, that status quo?


  12. Pingback: Free Money, get your Free Money, here! DDOE teacher bonus program in direct conflict with DPASS-II component 5, oh yeah, and common sense, too. « Transparent Christina

  13. Barbara J. Finnan

    I never did and never will support “bonuses”. First, despite DSEA waxing enthusiastic over the new Superintendent and tying teachers’ evaluations to the crappy test and whatever the scores from it are through whatever pretzel like twists they come up with, as so many of you point out, the CLASSROOMS need the money. After working in one of the most challenging schools most of my career, and being told that we couldn’t have more money for our much more pressing needs because parents in “better” schools would object, I remain of the opinion that bonuses are a divide and conquer approach to improving schools on the cheap. Must less costly to hand out a few bonuses (if they ever actually are – look at what’s happened to the Board Cert teachers’ bonuses), than to do what’s really needed and have smaller classes (that means less than 20). When I saw the list of the school “eligible” for this, I had to ask how other schools were left out. And why? Much appreciation to you John Young, and John Kowalko for trying so hard on behalf of sanity. Wish there were at least another one or two Legislators in Dover (or anywhere), who were honestly and truly speaking for all kids. Also, if the info posted about TFA from Delawareway is correct, it’s way past time!!!


  14. When is Markell up for re-election?


  15. @John Y
    You still don’t get it. You want the government in charge of schools. Markell is in charge of Government. You reap what you sow. You want government schools, you get government control. I have no doubt you could do better job. But one person in control cannot make all happy.


  16. I do not want the government, fed or state, running the schools. I favor local control.


  17. So John, how do you separate money and control? Local funds are insufficient (more so in some places). Kilroy says the money belongs to the children, so give it to them! I say we go with education stamps and turn the DOE into an accreditation agency. Let the kids go where they want and can afford.

    Higher stamp value for special needs, lower above $200,000 combined household income.

    Sure, there are problems with this plan, but that does not mean it is unworkable. And, we do the same thing with food, so don’t tell me Education is too important to be left to the free market, please.

    (PS: I admire your willingness to be present here, thanks.)


  18. John Young

    Local funds are insufficient only due to inordinately low property taxes coupled with too high state income taxes that necessitates the funneling of $$ through the state, which gets prescriptive with rules and regs.

    The free market is ruining education, see RTTT for the dissertation on how its being done.

    So, tax higher locally and fund local monies into the schools. Take money, and responsibilities away from he state. TO your point, have them serve some basic coordination/audit role, but significantly decrease accountability role. Accountability stays witht he $$: local


  19. Oh, RTTT is NOT free market in any way that I can see.
    When local money is insufficient to the need, there must be a balancing done by someone (The State), but let it be through an agnostic system. Simply move the money (increase stamp value) but leave control at the School level. See we agree on the basics 😉 How do we get it done? This is nothing short of a revolution.


  20. kilroysdelaware

    as far as the issue of state government involvement in local education. Lets be clear, there involvement is setting / formulating funding (state share) and setting state standards. Also ensuring schools are in compliance with state laws governing public education.

    The state should no be involved is setting implementation within the local public and charter schools. Currently, the overreach of the state / DE DOE in the delivery of education at the local levels puts undo financial pressures on “local” funds. As far as federal funds, take away the overhead in administration cost, compliance that requires a manager for every sub-grant with in the consolidated grant and the back-filling via local and state allocated dollars to public schools for such things as textbooks and material designed by testing companies as some kind of necessity to DCAS and you’ll find at best 2% going to needed human capital in the classroom re: added teacher. $8.2 million dollars for data coaches and now another $8,2 million dollars for “selective” teacher bonuses could have been better serve adding more paraprofessionals. Look at all the money spent on the new wing of DE DOE , School Turnaround / RTTT unit. Do you really think once all those people added will be out of a job when RTTT funding is gone in 2 more years?

    Layer upon layer on micromanagement from the state and feds is suffocating teacher creativity, compassion and unique individuality.

    Like I said before, every-time the system goes to reform public education there is an expansion in administration and consultants.


  21. There is so much wrong with this, I cannot even begin to state. But it gives the illusion of something being done about the “crisis of education”.

    The crisis is at home. It is not in my classroom.


  22. Pencadermom

    “The crisis is at home. It is not in my classroom.” – a school guidance counselor told a friend of mine that when she calls parents to tell them their child bullied or fought or whatever, the parents often say something to the effect of “sorry, they are your problem during school hours” and want nothing to do with those kinds of calls. 😦