DISD superintendent talks new plan tying teacher pay to student - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

DISD superintendent talks new plan that ties teacher pay to student performance

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Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Mike Miles recently discussed the state of education in the district, his relationship with the board and what the next big thing is that could change the makeup of teachers in the district.

Miles had a lot to say, and talked about celebrating gains in the district, but seemed to ignore much of what's going on around him, keeping his view instead on what's ahead.

Miles' first challenge of 2013 dealt with the new principal evaluation, which placed sixty five out of 223 principals on a growth plan that determined they had to either improve or lose their jobs.

Two were terminated.

"The principals have been trained," said Miles. "They are in the classrooms, so we've grown the quality of our instruction."

The district has also marked some success in state and national achievement tests.

"If you look at our STAAR exam results, you saw that we had growth compared to the state in 18 out of 27 areas on the latest NAEP. The National Assessment of Educational Progress shows our eighth grade readers are moving up; our English language learners are moving up."

But Miles was almost moved out this year, accused of fixing a contract and bullying. Protesters called for his firing.

Miles was cleared after an independent investigation, but found to have violated board policy by witness tampering and disparaging trustees in an employee resignation letter he helped write.

As a result, the board gave him a written reprimand and a 90-day improvement plan, changed his contract and restricted some of his power. When it comes to his relationship with the board now, Miles says, "I think that relationship is improving. It's strong and effective."

Miles' focus in 2014 is on a new teacher evaluation initiative.

"The teacher evaluation system that we are proposing in May will be fair, accurate but also rigorous," he said.

For the first time, it ties teacher pay to student performance. The new teacher evaluation initiative is the only one in the country where a big city urban school district ties teacher pay to performance.  

"This will help us reward our best performing teachers, recruit effective teachers and retain our effective teachers," he said.

While the board won't vote on it until May, the initiative will begin being discussed right after the first of the year at a retreat planned for the board, where they will see the superintendent's proposal.                   

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