Representing our members: CEA delegates at the NEA RA July 2, 2010

CEA-R member Marilyn Allen (second from left) and other NEA RA delegates from Ohio pose with a wax likeness of the late President Lyndon B. Johnson. Photo: Robert Hern, Jr.

More than 30 delegates representing the Columbus Education Association participated in the second Ohio Caucus for the 2010 NEA Representative Assembly (RA), held in New Orleans, Louisiana. During the caucus, delegates received reports from Ohio Education Association officers and staff.  Delegates also listened to a number of speeches from candidates seeking a variety of elected positions within the National Education Association.

Following the caucus, delegates registered at the Morial Convention Center. While the RA does not officially start until Saturday, July 3, many delegates chose to browse the dozens of vendors at the exhibition hall. Vendors provided many free resources to the teachers, including pens, tote bags, school supplies and other items.

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Performance Pay Not News To Us

The Columbus Education Association has been a leader in school reform at the local, state and national level for many years. Performance pay may be a buzz word now, but it is nothing new to the members of CEA.

Over the past decade, CEA has negotiated multiple performance pay programs. In 1997, CEA negotiated the Gainsharing program and, later, the Performance Advancement System (PAS). Nearly $2 million was awarded to teachers for improved student achievement for the 2007-2008 school year.

Gainsharing is a method of distributing funds for improved education and student achievement in Columbus City Schools. Teachers assigned to buildings for at least 120 days are eligible to receive a bonus if the school makes Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). Teachers who do not work full time in a building may participate in Gainsharing though service agreements.

PAS is a program for all members of the CEA bargaining unit to engage in classroom action research. If teachers’ projects post mean student achievement gains greater than the district, CEA members will receive cash awards of $2,500 for meeting the PAS gain criteria.

In recent years, the district adopted the Teacher Advancement Program (TAP) in eight schools. TAP is a comprehensive school reform system that restructures and revitalizes the teaching profession with a goal of achieving measurable gains in student performance. Teachers received bonuses ranging from several hundred to several thousand dollars for knowledge and skills and student growth in the 2007-2008 school year. The master and mentor teachers also received a stipend for extra duties and responsibilities.

Our 114 National Board Certified Teachers (NBCT) receive a $1,500 annual stipend from CCS, above and beyond the state stipend. At the Superintendent’s sole discretion, teachers who agree to work in high-needs schools can receive an additional stipend.

Any system that involves alternative pay should meet the “APPLE criteria” developed by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Systems must be administratively feasible, professionally acceptable, publicly credible, legally defensible and economically affordable.

“This is a time for innovation and opportunity in the field of education,” stated CEA President Rhonda Johnson. “I am proud to be a member of an organization that has always been on the cutting edge of school reform.”

States Eye NBCT Supplements In Budget Battles

nbptsSince the establishment of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards in 1987, almost 74,000 educators across the country have earned the designation of National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT). Many states help classroom teachers pay for the $2,500 application fee and pay stipends to those that maintain their NBCT status. Due to budget shortfalls caused by a worsening economy, states across the country have begun to reduce or withdraw financial support and incentives for teacher participation.

With the second-highest number of NBCTs in the country, Florida’s state legislators have cut spending on the program in half, dropping applications for the program to just 12% of last year’s numbers. Mississippi has reduced its spending on the program, while Georgia, South Carolina and Louisiana’s proposed budgets would eliminate NBCT teacher stipends.

Ten additional CCS teachers recently achieved this highly sought after designation, bringing the district’s NBCT count to 114. Columbus City Schools has more NBCTs than any other district in the state of Ohio.