Performance pay could be more pressure for teachers - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Performance pay could be more pressure for teachers

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  Teachers say they're under a lot of pressure to perform. That pressure could be magnified is the state starts paying teachers based on student achievement.

Critics worry it could pressure on teachers to try to succeed at any cost.

At Westover High School, administrators have two main goals, make Adequate Yearly Progress every year and become a Georgia School of Excellence. Educators say that's tough to meet when students learn at differing levels.

"We accept all students, we do not deny anyone so it makes it tough when you accept everyone, but that's the challenge we accepted," said Coach William Chunn, Westover High School.

Coach Chunn says the challenge is compounded by larger class sizes.

"Class size, able to give the individual students the help they need and if we can reduce that class size by any means it's definitely going to benefit the students in the long run," said Chunn.

Even in smaller classes at Byne Memorial Baptist School teachers say the job can still be a struggle to get students to succeed.

"You always want to meet certain goals by the end of the year, we have goals just like the public schools do," said Natalie Crosby, Byne Memorial Baptist Science/Math Teacher.

Both say a pay-for performance plan may have benefits and downfalls, urging teachers to succeed but at what cost?

"I think it does give a teacher higher standards in the classroom but I think a lot of times at the bottom of the line, teachers can't really control exactly what students are going to do on the test," said Crosby.

At Westover, administrators say teachers know they've got daily, monthly and yearly goals to meet and they'll rise to those challenges, pay increase or not. 

If the legislature approves the governor's Performance Pay measure, it would make Georgia schools eligible for as much as 400 million dollars in competitive federal grants.


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