Is the Wake Count school system not getting the best bang for the buck by offering higher pay for teachers who have master's degrees or national board certification?
At Tuesday's school board work session, school administrators presented data showing the majority of Wake's high-performing teachers don't have either a master's degree or national board certification.
"An important point is we pay extra for the board-certified teachers and the advanced-degree teachers receive extra but the high-performing teachers receive nothing," said Superintendent Tony Tata.
David Holdzkom, assistant superintendent for evaluation and research, presented this handout showing Venn diagrams of Wake teachers who are high performing and have those other degrees and certifications.
High performing is determined by assessing the performance of a teacher's students using EVAAS. Depending on whether the students are showing growth on state exams, teachers will get different ratings.
EVAAS isn't used for some elementary teachers due to the combination of the lack of state exams in K-2 and that you can't calculate growth in third grade.
Based on 2009-10 data, Wake had 104 fourth- and fifth-grade math teachers identified by EVAAS as high performing. Of the group, 62 only had a bachelor's degree, 22 also had a master's degree or higher, 13 had national board certification and 7 had all three.
Of the 101 grade 4-5 math teachers with national board certification, only 20 were identified as high performing.
Of the 207 grade 4-5 math teachers with a master's degree or higher, only 29 were identified as high performing.
The handout indicated similar results for middle school and high school teachers.
School board member John Tedesco said that it shows the need to make sure that the best teachers are being matched up with the students who most need the help.
"If I was a parent, I don’t necessarily want a nationally-board certified teacher or the master’s teacher, I’m going to want the one who will help my child grow," Tedesco said.
School board member Anne McLaurin said presenting something like this at the board table would show people that they do talk about academics. She said people may not watch the work session discussions where they discus these kinds of issues.
School board chairman Ron Margiotta responded by saying they may have a public presentation of the data at a regular board meeting.
Whether the board can and will change things remains to be seen. The difference in pay can be large.
For instance, a Wake teacher with 20 years on her license who only has a bachelor's degree would receive a salary of $49,858.90. If that same teacher got national board certification, the salary would be $55,837.40.
Teachers can also receive an additional $126 per month for an earned advanced certification and an additional $253 per month for a doctorate.
Wake has the most nationally board certified teachers in the nation. That's in large part because the state helps teachers pay for the cost of certification and then boosts their pay 12 percent if they get it.
Click here for a PDF from EDSTAR that explains the EVAAS system.
Click here for a sample EVAAS teacher report.
Click here to view the policy adopted by the state Board of Education.