My Texas School Plan – An Open Letter to the Candidates From Both Parties, Part 2

In the public interest and courtesy to all of the candidates for Governor, Lt. Governor, State Senator, and State Representative, I present the Texas Model Education and Ensured Economic Prosperity Plan.  Feel free to discuss and use as if it is your own. 

1. Significantly increase the quality of candidates attempting to enter the teaching profession.  How?

A. Increase ACT / SAT score requirements to enter state college of education programs.  

B. Increase Alternative Certification Program entrance GPA requirements or require a minimum GRE score to be accepted into the program.

2. Significantly increase the quality of teacher training and preparation. How? Teacher preparation programs should focus on both content and pedagogical knowledge.  

A. Which means that a potential math teacher should graduate from a college of education with a major in the content, a minor in pedagogy, and a full semester of student teaching.

B. A graduate from an Alternative Certification Program (ACP) should have a degree related to the content area (a prerequisite) and the equivalent of 18 hours of pedagogy course work.  The student teaching for the ACP candidate can be covered through supported and mentored classroom teaching while in the ACP program.

3. Pay teachers a professional salary.  This goes hand-in-hand with increasing the quality of the candidate pool for teaching.  The more a candidate brings to the table, the more options she has.  If teacher salaries are not comparable to the professional salaries of those with a similar education then the best candidates will continue to shun education careers for better economic options.  So here is your professional salary scale for teachers.

A.  $45,000 minimum salary for starting teachers.

B.  $65,000 minimum salary for a core content teacher with 5-years experience, and 3-years in the same district, and multiple certifications (example: K-8 reading and ESL certifications).

C.  $75,000 minimum salary for a core content teacher with 10-years experience, and 5-years in the same district, and multiple certifications, and a Master’s degree.

D.  $85,000 minimum salary for a core content teacher with 15-years experience, and 8-years in the same district, and multiple certifications, and a Doctorate degree.

4. Extend teacher contracts to 200 days. Do this concurrently with the increase in minimum teacher salaries. Use the extra 20 days for training and extended teaching options for struggling students. 

5. Have clear, deep curriculum standards that schools are required to teach. How? We are close to this in Texas.  The TEKS are a good start. They are just too broad. Narrow the overall focus and increase the emphasis on critical thinking.

6. Mandate a maximum 21:1 student/teacher ratio in grade K-6 core content courses.  Mandate a maximum 24:1 student/teacher ratio in grade 7-11 STAAR/EOC courses.

7. Increase the number of hours and days students devote to academics and school. How?  This is easier to do than you might think, it just requires two simple (on paper) changes. A.  Move all athletic based extra-curricular activities to outside the school day.  This ensures that all students engaged in athletics will receive an extra 45 to 90 minutes of academic instruction in either core content, fine arts, foreign language or career based classes, EVERY DAY. B.  Move all EOC / STAAR tests to May.  This will encourage (force) schools to teach the content deeper into the year. C.  Mandatory (in lieu of retention) 3 to 5-week summer school session for all students who failed either a STAAR/EOC test or a core content course.

8. Increase the stakes on the high school exit exams. How? Now everyone immediately thinks this is about increasing punitive measures and consequences.  That is the novice move.  If bigger sticks were the answer, we wouldn’t have our current agenda driven “Failing Schools” problem.  No, we want carrots, BIG FREAKIN’ CARROTS.

A.  We still keep some floor performance requirements.  The diploma should guarantee a level of basic skills.  Right now there are 5 EOC tests. I would prefer seven: two tests for English – ELA 2 and ELA 3; two tests for math – Algebra 1 and either Geometry or Algebra II (student choice); two tests for science – Biology and either Chemistry or Physics (student choice); one test for Social Studies – U.S. History To graduate the student must score at least 60% on 4 of the 7 tests. 

B. We add a performance bonus for a defined level of commended results that could work something like this. For every test the student scores at least an 85% on there is an automatic scholarship that is awarded to the student, redeemable at any state institution (2-year or 4-year) during the freshman and sophomore years.  Prorate the scholarship amount based on need, for example: a. Student qualifies for free lunch – $2,000 per exam, which represents a potential scholarship amount of $14,000. b. Student qualifies for reduced lunch – $1,000 per exam, which represents a potential scholarship amount of $7,000. c. Student not eligible for free/reduced lunch – $500 per exam, which represents a potential scholarship amount of $3,500

Now all students have a significant incentive to take higher-level courses and perform in those courses. And if parents want to opt out their students from testing, they can do so for the advanced tests, but at a potential economic loss (reduced scholarship eligibility).

Accountability still in place but success is driven through the positives of earned scholarships and extended learning opportunities for struggling students. Not school sanctions and mandatory student retention.

9. Implement the following Superintendent Salary Schedule:

A.  District with fewer than 500 students, Superintendent salary no higher than 1.5 times the average teacher salary in the district.

B.  District with 501 – 1,000 students, Superintendent salary no more than 2 times the average teacher salary in the district.

C.  District with 1,001 – 5,000 students, Superintendent salary no more than 2.5 times the average teacher salary in the district.

D.  District with 5,001 – 15,000 students, Superintendent salary no more than 3 times the average teacher salary in the district.

E.  District with 15,001 – 30,000 students, Superintendent salary no more than 3.5 times the average teacher salary in the district.

F.  District with 30,001 – 70,000 students, Superintendent salary no more than 4 times the average teacher salary in the district.

G.  District with more than 70,00 students, Superintendent salary no more than 5 times the average teacher salary in the district.

10. Make charter schools subject to the same teacher pay, class ratio and superintendent pay standards as traditional public school districts.

Think about this plan overnight because tomorrow we tackle the big problem, how to pay for this ambitious plan.

Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…

  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/Fundamental5 
  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “Look at Me: A Cautionary School Leadership Tale” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/lookatmebook 
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Plans (Fundamental 5 Lesson Plan Tool); PW Lite (Basic PowerWalks Tool); PW Pro (Mid-level PowerWalks Tool) 
  • Upcoming Presentations: NAESP National Conference; Kentucky Association of School Administrators Leadership Institute; The Fundamental 5 National Summit (Keynote Presentation) 
  • Follow Sean Cain and LYS on www.Twitter.com/LYSNation  and like Lead Your School on Facebook
My Texas School Plan – An Open Letter to the Candidates from Both Parties, Part 1
My Texas School Plan – An Open Letter to the Candidates From Both Parties, Part 3

Related Posts

Menu