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State law lets districts pay math and science teachers more — if the unions agree

In April, I blogged about a bill authored by Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles) that would allow districts to pay math and science teachers more than their colleagues, as long as their respective teacher’s unions approved. (Read the entry here.)

Here’s an update for you: Gov. Schwarzenegger announced this morning that he signed SB 1660. That means that California law no longer requires all public school teachers in a district to be paid according to a uniform salary schedule.

The legislation seems to be an effort to recruit more math and science teachers to public school classrooms; lawmakers said the shortage could reach 33,000 in the next 10 years, and that was before the new eighth-grade Algebra I requirement.

Do you think OUSD should adopt an alternative salary schedule for these harder-to-staff disciplines? If it did, do you think it would bring more top-notch math and science teachers into the district?

image from 161’s Web site at flickr.com/creativecommons

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • spedteacher

    This may end up being quite controversial. I would also comment that the biggest shortage area is in Special Education teachers, not math or science (yes, it is the truth, although self-serving).

    I am not sure whether I agree or not, but this should absolutely NOT be applied to un-credentialed/interning teachers. That would be a slap in the face of experienced teachers in non-shortage areas. I would also like to say that although other areas may not be considered shortage, many OUSD schools again have started the school year without permanent credentialed teachers in their classrooms. Montera is without a credentialed Spanish teacher for the 3rd year in a row!

    I think the hardest job of all is to teach in a K-5 classroom. Perhaps those people should receive extra pay for having to cover so many standards! Or how about extra for teaching in an inner-city school, or middle school students, or what about …?

    The pay for all teachers needs to be raised, not selected groups. I have to admit that I would like to see teachers with Masters degrees given incentives. Currently, some districts do pay a differential by degree, while many (including OUSD) pay strictly according to units of prof development + college.

  • TheTruthHurts

    I don’t care. Get who you need how you can to support our students. A school district can’t succeed by ignoring supply and demand and sticking its head in the sand.

  • John

    I think higher pay, or a generous stipend, for math and science teachers is infinitely more sound than the historically (once court mandated) stipend given to OUSD Spanish “Bilingual” teachers who were training students for careers on the Taqueria truck (You don’t have to know much English to get a CA driver’s license either.)

    I have no problem with ‘supply and demand’ pay for teachers in subjects that teach marketable skills and move students forward in these United States.

    Too bad the district has to ask “pretty please” to the union on this one. The ‘OEA La Raza Bilingual Teachers for Pay Equity’ (or whatever they’re called these days) will likely weigh in with an ounce of heavy hitting self serving ‘tip the scale’ bad advice on this one.

    But then competition for math and science teachers probably won’t become an issue in Oakland. It’s a dog eat pero “sellers market” out there for credentialed (qualified) math and science teachers. So why sell your math and science (teaching) skills to Oakland. Besides, OUSD already has Bilingual credentialed teachers qualified to teach basic math number concepts: “uno, dos, tres, quatro, cinco tacos, with or without hot sauce?” Congratulations, you’re hired and mired in a great hot saucy finger licking good career!

  • Jim Mordecai

    If you read SB 1660 the money a district can use is taken from a block grant of professional development money. More teachers less professional development choice must be made by a District. Another thing about this is that the limits to the money create a tension between teachers. Only teachers in deciles 1, 2, 3 schools can receive the money. How do the special education, math, and science teachers feel about the other teachers getting more pay? Also, these specially targeted teachers receiving pay from the Professional Development funding get a built in cost of living raise coming to the district that under the Govenor’s newly signed budget is cut.

    This is shortage area pay that has to be negotiated with the exclusive bargaining unit the OEA.

    Jim Mordecai

  • John

    Jim: I don’t recall “tension between teachers” when OPS Bilingual teachers received a $2,000 stipend. But then it would demonstrate an intolerance for diversity to suggest it’s better that students be taught in American (job market) English . I suppose I’m not ‘backward forward’ thinking enough, “For the times they ever be a changin,” especially with ‘Spanish speaking onlys’ pouring through porouse borders filling up California schools to the now near half way Hispanic mark. Academic quality is drowning and public and private service sector resources are drying up making things more expensive for ALL of California ‘native Americans’ and legal immigrants.

    I recall rumors of ICE raids being conducted near a large Hispanic enrolled OPS school I worked at. The mandated ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ veil of ‘immigration status secrecy’ was seriously penetrated when attendance took a three day fifty percent nose dive while ICE agents were (thought to be) roaming the hood. I’m sure a lot of ‘tax payer school ADA money’ was saved during this illegal immigrant eradication scare.

    “Press ONE for Spanish” and ZERO for Math, Science and California’s future if we have to say ‘pretty please’ to California’s La Raza infiltrated teacher unions.

    ICE, we need(ed) you!

  • Mary

    I’m really tired of the assumption that intern teachers are necessarily unqualified and/or unready to teach.

    I have a PhD, 10+ years of teaching experience at the university level, and a year of private school teaching experience.

    However, by the California State Department of Educations rules, I am not considered subject matter competent in the area of my PhD.

    When I decided to earn a teaching credential, I entered a different subject area — one where I also had experience teaching.

    Yet my district pays me less that a credentialed teacher and gives me NO credit for any of my experience and very limited credit for my education.

    The top private schools in the country are staffed mainly by non-credentialed teachers.

    Credential DOES NOT EQUAL quality teacher!

  • John

    “Credential DOES NOT EQUAL quality teacher!” Mary! Truer words were never spoken!

    Your comments don’t make it clear whether or not you’ve already taken any credential courses. If you have it might be informative for some readers if you were to compare the informational value of such classes with that of other classes you’ve taken and/or taught.