There’s something new going on in some school districts. In Minnesota, for example, the newest development is an “alternative system for evaluating and paying teachers”, known as the “Q Comp program”, and has now been joined by an additional seven school districts and another 23 charter schools in the state. This brings the total participation to 51 school districts and 54 charter schools, including a few in the larger metro areas. This “education initiative” was enacted by Gov. Tim Pawlenty and is seeing fruition in his last month of office.
The tech revolution continues to sweep the nation in tons of classrooms everywhere. The Minnesota Department of Education has taken a front-row seat in integrating tech in the classroom. The Department is using the popular application, iTunes, in collaboration with its parent company, to upload “state approved lessons for teachers and preschool through high school students,” said Pawlenty.
Those that participate are given an additional $ 260 per student from the state and “additional levy authority.” Combined, that means the participating districts are receiving 4 million dollars. Those in the Q Comp program follow the prescribed system of development and evaluation for teachers with the caveat that teachers evaluate each other’s performance. Another stipulation is that a teacher’s pay will be linked to their student’s test scores.
These changes hearkened to President Barack Obama’s grant program named “Race to the Top”, however Minnesota did not receive any money from the grant at that time.
Teachers are apprehensive about their pay being based on student performance, said Julia Blaha, the chapter president of the teachers union in Anoka-Hennepin. However, they do like the idea of getting feedback from their professional peers. Peer evaluation is a three times a year assessment of their teaching performance, with at least one assessment coming from a teacher who taught the same subject.
With an increasingly tech-savvy generation on their hands, school officials and law makers decided to join by adding teaching lessons andlearning online. It will act as a go between source for both teachers and students; for teachers, a resource for lessons, and for students, a type of digital library. All uploads by teachers or students will go through a screening process to see if they meet the state standard for education and are appropriate for each audience section.
So far, nearly 700 files have been uploaded and can be accessed at any time. They can range anywhere from “algebra lessons to a behind-the-scenes look at the Minnesota Zoo.” Those in the department expect to see a rise in the amount of data collected as more participate in the Q comp program.
Sarah writes about Online Education for University-bound.com – a resource site for those interested in earning a degree online.