Source Of Conflict Between School And Union English Language Essay

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The Denver School District was one of the first school systems to pilot a performance pay teaching system. The source of conflict between the school system and the union is the disagreement in the way that teachers should be paid. Denver now pays teachers for adding to their knowledge and skills, teaching in poor areas of town, teaching hard-to-staff subjects such as middle school math, getting good performance reviews, and improving student scores on Colorado's annual achievement tests. The bottom line is that the district wants to pay teachers for their performance, not their length of time in the system. It used to be that the longer teachers served, the more they would earn. Some teachers don't want to be measured by their students test scores and performance, nor do they want a "private sector" type of pay scale based on merit.

The Denver school district is offering various types of pay incentives, but the teachers who are at the beginning or middle of their career will reap the larger rewards, not the veteran teachers. The union leadership disagrees with the change that would hold down salaries of veteran teachers to free more money for novices. In addition, the Denver plan sets a base salary, but most raises depend on a teacher's accomplishments, and teachers aren't automatically rewarded for making it through another year. All new teachers have to enroll in the incentive plan, but it is optional for veterans.

In addition, Superintendent Michael Bennet has proposed that only those with less than 13 years experience would continue to get bonuses incorporated into their salaries. Veteran teachers would get annual bonus checks, but their base salaries wouldn't grow for except for cost-of-living adjustments (Kreitner and Kinicki, Organization Behavior, 2010).

Officials say that without higher pay, the district will continue to lose teachers who are early in their careers. Teachers with less than a dozen years' experience are 19 times more likely to quit DPS than their more veteran counterparts, the district says.

Roughly 1,740 teachers in the 4,400- teacher district have 13 or more years of experience. About 900 of those are enrolled in ProComp, which is voluntary for veterans but mandatory for new teachers.

(Merit pay splits DPS, union By Jeremy P. Meyer The Denver Post)

2. To what extent does Denver's pay plan build on recommendations from equity and expectancy theory? Explain.

According to Kreitner&Kinicki , the equity theory of motivation states that people strive for

fairness and justice in social exchanges. The pay for performance plan started out to be equitable, but now it seems as if Denver's plan has built inequity into their raises for teachers. There are large increases in incentive pay but Superintendent Michael Bennet's proposal states that only those teachers with less than 13 years experience would continue to get bonuses incorporated into their salaries. . (Kreitner, Robert & Kinicki, Angelo, Organizational Behavior, 2010.)

The fifth practical implication of equity theory states that treating employees inequitably can lead to litigation and costly court settlements. Similar events such as sick-outs, and threats of a strike have occurred in Denver, which does not bode well for agreements between the district and the union.

Expectancy theory is like positive reinforcement. It states that a reward, or outcome, must be meaningful to an individual, and must be seen as highly likely to result from a given behavior to be effective. That is to say, a desired outcome will result from a certain degree of performance.

In Denver, the probability of teachers acting in a particular manner, such as putting forth more effort to improve their performance, will increase when they associate it with a given, attractive outcome such as bonuses for good performance reviews or raising student scores on achievement tests. Teachers are also rewarded for continuing their own educations. What we're talking about is equitable vs. inequitable treatment - older teachers feel they are being inequitably treated.

3. What role does organizational culture play in this case?

Organizational culture is a set of shared assumptions that a group holds and that determines how it perceives, thinks about, and reacts to its various environments. These assumptions can be either explicit or taken for granted. It influences our behavior at work, and operates on different levels. Organizational culture is also a by-product of societal culture, and this in turn affects an individual's values, ethics, attitudes, assumptions, and expectations. In an educational culture like a school system or university, employees are highly skilled and tend to stay in the organization, while working their way up the ranks. The organization provides a stable environment in which employees can develop and exercise their skills.

In the Denver pay-for-performance plan case study, the organizational culture would be considered a market culture, which has an external focus, delivers results and accomplishes goals. (Kreitner and Kinicki, 2010). For example, teachers are rewarded if they can improve their student's test results. Therefore, the Denver public school's pay for performance plan is actually following the market culture's theory which is to focus on goals, productivity and results.

A strong organizational culture is related to better academic results and lower failure and dropout rates.

ln reality, if the culture creates strong links and a common vision, if it fosters greater support by members for academic goals, better academic results can be expected.

4. Using the various motivation theories discussed in this chapter, how would you revise the pay plan so that it would be acceptable to both the school system and union? Provide specific recommendations.

The Individual-Organization Exchange Relationship - an employee's inputs, for which he or she expects a just return, include educational/training, skills, creativity, seniority, age, personality traits, effort expended, and personal appearance. On the outcome side of the exchange, the organization provides such things as pay/bonuses, fringe benefits, challenging assignments, job security, promotions, status symbols, and participation in important decisions. (Kreitner and Kinicki, 2010).

Also known as need theory, the content theory of motivation mainly focuses on the internal factors that energize and direct human behavior. Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Alderfer's ERG theory, Herzeberg's motivator-hygiene theory (Herzeberg's dual factors theory), and McClelland's learned needs or three-needs theory are some of the major content theories.

Of the different types of content theories, the most famous content theory is Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of human needs. Maslow introduced five levels of basic needs through his theory. Basic needs are categorized as physiological needs, safety and security needs, needs of love, needs for self esteem and needs for self-actualization.

Just like Maslow's hierarchy of needs, ERG theory explains existence, relatedness, and growth needs. Through dual factors theory, Herzeberg describes certain factors in the workplace which result in job satisfaction. McClelland's learned needs or three-needs theory uses a projective technique called the Thematic Aptitude Test (TAT) so as to evaluate people based on three needs: power, achievement, and affiliation. People with high need of power take action in a way that influences the other's behavior.

Another type of motivation theory is process theory. Process theories of motivation provide an opportunity to understand thought processes that influence behavior. The major process theories of motivation include Adams' equity theory, Vroom's expectancy theory, goal-setting theory, and reinforcement theory. Expectancy, instrumentality, and valence are the key concepts explained in the expectancy theory. Goal setting theory suggests that the individuals are motivated to reach set goals. It also requires that the set goals should be specific. Reinforcement theory is concerned with controlling behavior by manipulating its consequences.

Equity is a model of motivation that explains how people strive for fairness and justices in social exchanges or give and take relationships. The Denver model is reducing the inequity among teacher's salaries, and it provides rewards for all teachers, from the novices to the veterans. Other than this, the school system and the union should provide goal setting to all teacher whose achieve some particular goals by rewards them bonus or reputation/promote. When people feel fairly or advantageously treated they are more likely to be motivated; when they feel unfairly treated they are highly prone to feelings of disaffection and demotivation.

Negative inequity is the comparison in which one person receives greater outcomes for similar inputs. Positive inequity has lesser outcomes for similar inputs. Distributive justice is the perceived fairness of how resources and rewards are distributed. Procedural justice is a perceived fairness of the process and procedures used to make allocation decisions

Teachers Unions as Agents of Reform, An Interview with Brad Jupp, April 11, 2006

Voters in Denver, Colo., in 2005 overwhelmingly approved a $25 million tax increase to fund a new, nine-year performance-based pay system for the city's teachers. ProComp, the new teacher pay system funded by the tax initiative, reflects a landmark agreement between the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) and the Denver Board of Education to link teacher pay more closely to performance and market conditions-something that rarely happens in public education.

Unlike traditional teacher pay schemes, in which salary is determined by experience and higher education coursework, ProComp will tie raises or bonuses for teachers to positive professional evaluations, meeting objectives for improving student learning, working in hard-to-staff schools or positions, and building professionally-relevant knowledge and skills. Teachers who perform well on these measures will be able to earn much more money over the course of their careers than under traditional pay plans based on experience and education.

Merit pay splits DPS, union

By Jeremy P. Meyer The Denver Post

The district wants ProComp to reward the best teachers. Critics say it would be done at the expense of veterans.

Four years after Denver teachers ratified a performance-pay system - considered unprecedented by national educators - the much-praised model is at the center of a debate that has led to discord and possibly a strike.

The teachers union and the school district that collaborated on ProComp - the Professional Compensation Plan for teachers - are in a pitched battle over whether to retool the taxpayer-supported system.

Denver Public Schools officials want an overhaul they say will better attract and retain talented teachers. The union says the current plan is fair to all teachers but that the DPS proposal would favor beginning teachers over veterans. Three days of mediation are set to begin Aug. 20, and the union has told teachers to prepare for a strike if no agreement is reached.

DPS administrators want to change ProComp, suspending some yearly pay increases for longtime teachers and giving richer incentives to teachers enrolled in the system.

The Denver Classroom Teachers Association is pushing to keep the pay system as it is, saying more time is needed to examine whether ProComp is attracting and retaining teachers.

The system provides bonuses and other ways to earn permanent increases throughout a teacher's career. The district plan would eliminate some of the increases after a teacher's 13th year.

Before ProComp, teachers received cost-of-living raises every year and average annual step increases of about 4 percent through their 13th year. After that, veteran teachers got only cost- of-living raises.

Under ProComp, teachers continue to receive cost-of-living hikes and get permanent raises if they take a professional-skills course, meet objectives they set for their students or receive a satisfactory evaluation.

And some teachers - union and nonunion - have started a website:, calling for the union to cease and desist.

"People are sick of this, and they want a change," said Greg Ahrnsbrak, a teacher and union member from Bruce Randolph School who is one of the 300 DPS teachers who have signed the online petition. "You are heading toward more sickouts, demonstrations and strikes. That will be devastating to everyone."

But Margaret Bobb, a teacher at East High and a union member, said the district's offer would effectively dismantle everything ProComp put in place.

"The change that they are asking for takes us right back very close to where we were before ProComp, where teachers' salaries plateau after year 13," she said.

The incentives, she said, are "not predictable and not accessible to every teacher in the district. It's not fair to every teacher in the district."

Bennet says ProComp fails to provide teachers with enough money early in their careers, incentives are too small, compensation is back-ended in favor of veteran teachers and too much tax money is being banked every year in the ProComp trust.

The ProComp V2 plan offers richer bonuses to more teachers, resulting in "the largest pay increase in the history of Denver Public Schools," Bennet said.

Starting-teacher salaries in the plan would rise from $35,500 to an average of $42,413 for a person with a bachelor's degree. The DPS figure includes incentives, each of which would grow to $2,900 from $1,067 a year.

The district says 90 percent of ProComp teachers would get at least one bonus and most would get two. On Thursday, Bennet sat in a DPS administration office looking at a 93- page booklet with every teacher's salary in the district arranged from largest raises to lowest. The booklet lists 49 teachers per page.

"We get to Page 88 before some teachers make less than 5 percent or more" in pay increases, he said. Many teachers in the DPS proposal would get increases of more than 10 percent to 20 percent, he said. Only 16 of the 4,500 DPS teachers have no gains under the plan, he said.

The union wants a 3.5 percent increase for all teachers - raising the starting salary to $38,000, not including incentives, and wants ProComp untouched for another year until a thorough study is completed. Incentives would rise to $2,280 a year.

Union officials are calling the district's proposal "NoComp." They want veteran teachers to continue earning money for setting student growth objectives and professional development units.

They don't like the district's "master teacher" idea, which would allow the principal to select a teacher for a one-time $2,900 bonus. The union calls it the "pet teacher" project.

Union president Kim Ursetta said the district's plan amounts to "a quota system" because it does not give the same opportunity for every teacher.

Read more: Merit pay splits DPS, union - The Denver Post

AUGUST 18, 2008

Denver Teachers Object to Changes In Pay-for-Performance Plan


DENVER -- The Denver Public Schools' pay-for-performance plan to motivate teachers was hailed as a model for the rest of the country when it took effect three years ago. It now stands on the verge of collapse after months of contract negotiations have stalemated.

Veteran DPS Teachers Feel "Dissed" by Deal

Author: Jeremy P. Meyer Posted: Monday, August 25, 2008 Source: The Denver Post

All Denver Public Schools teachers would see a 3 percent raise this year, and some veteran teachers could see annual raises vanish under a tentative labor agreement unveiled Sunday.

All teachers would get a 3 percent raise this year, and in the next two years would receive cost-of-living raises plus 0.25 percent. They also would get more planning time every year.

The agreement also calls for changes to the district's nationally recognized alternative pay plan, Professional Compensation System for Teachers, or ProComp.

ProComp teachers would see, on average, raises of 15 percent, which would be the largest in state history, district officials said.

The increases would improve average teachers' beginning salaries to $42,000, district officials said.

ProComp, which is supported by a $25 million tax, gives teachers bonuses for teaching in hard-to-serve schools or difficult subjects such as math or special education.

Those bonuses, or "incentives," would be increased to $2,345 from $1,067 a year.

ProComp also provides teachers ways to build salaries every year by meeting certain objectives.

Under ProComp, teachers receive cost-of-living hikes and get permanent raises if they take a professional-skills course, meet objectives they set for their students or receive a satisfactory evaluation.

Those raises still will occur for ProComp teachers through their 14th year under the new plan. After that, veteran teachers would receive a raise only if their students met growth objectives. Other objectives would be treated as a one-time bonus, not built into their pay structures.

The district will allow teachers to opt out of ProComp until Oct. 15.

Superintendent Michael Bennet said he wanted to change ProComp in a way that he believes will attract and retain more teachers, most of whom leave before their 12th year in the district.

"The district is saying they don't want career teachers," Rupp said. "They want young teachers who are cheaper and cut down on retirement costs."

"As a veteran teacher, I feel real dissed," said Ginger Gruber, a first-grade teacher at Horace Mann with 16 years' experience. "This is taking it in the shorts. What other profession says after the 14 years you don't get any more money?"

Kim Ursetta, president of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association, spent about two hours with other union leaders talking to teachers at South.

"Teachers were overall pleased with the language on the master agreement," Ursetta said. "They were concerned about the capping of salary building after year 14. But there were compromises on both sides."

Jeremy P. Meyer: 303-954-1367 or [email protected]

DPS tentative labor agreement:

All teachers would get a cost-of- living adjustment of 3 percent in 2008-09. The following two years, teachers would get a 0.25 percent increase above the Consumer Price Index. There also will be an adjustment if the district merges with the state's Public Employees Retirement Association.

Under ProComp, all base-building elements will remain the same through a teacher's 14th year. After that, veteran teachers in ProComp will only get raises by meeting objectives they set for their students.

Incentives under ProComp would increase to $2,345 from $1,067. Fifty percent of ProComp teachers would get an incentive for teaching in a hard-to-serve school, 25 percent for taking a hard-to-staff assignment, 50 percent for teaching at a "distinguished school" and 50 percent for teaching in a high-growth school.

All current ProComp teachers can opt out by Oct. 15.

Tuition reimbursements would be increased to $4,000.

Teachers would get to start late five days for teacher professional development.

For more information: announcements/dps-dcta-tentative- agreement-summary.

"Denver is one of the places where people are thinking about that problem," Greene goes on to say. "A merit-pay system is an innovative structure. Though, there are many critics of such plans."

The jury is out on whether Denver's modest (and union-backed) merit-pay program - which rewards some good teachers but does nothing to failing ones - is working.

But there are other unintended consequences with all this scripted talk of starving teachers. Specifically, it may be discouraging talented young minds from choosing a career in education.

No one is getting rich teaching, but will this study help change misconceptions about salary and spark a discussion about how to more fairly pay teachers?

What to do about the low pay of teachers? Denver has an idea: Reward them for the academic progress of their students.

Recently, the Denver Classroom Teachers Association approved an overhaul of its salary structure that rewards educators for the progress of their students. Under the pay-for-performance plan, teachers and other school employees would earn raises if their students met or exceeded clearly specified academic targets. Teachers are typically compensated based on a number of factors, including years of service and the extent of their education.

First, it dramatically increases the incentives available under ProComp. Several key bonuses for early and mid-career teachers will more than double, from $1,000 to $2,345 a year each. These incentives reward teachers who choose difficult-to- teach subjects, work in hard-to-staff schools and whose students improve in the classroom.

Denver Merit-Pay Plan Embroiled in Conflict - Union Objects to proposal to modify pact

By Vaishali Honawar | EdWeek

Where to Put the Money

The only study released on ProComp so far is by Edward W. Wiley, an assistant professor of education at the University of Colorado at Boulder, which looked at two years' worth of data. It found that teachers who opted into ProComp raised student test scores only slightly compared with their peers who did not take part in the pay plan.

But Mr. Wiley points out that the new system is still in its early stages. "To say it is working or not working are shortsighted responses," he said. "Reforms take a while to mature, especially in complex urban school districts such as [Denver]."

The district proposal would give ProComp money to increase teacher salaries in the early years, and raise the starting salary from $35,000 to $44,000.

School and union officials agree that Denver has among the lowest teacher salaries in neighboring school districts, a situation that they believe is hurting recruitment and retention.

In a letter to teachers in May, Mr. Bennet pointed out that teachers with fewer than 12 years of experience are nearly 20 times more likely to leave the district than those with 12 or more years of experience.

In conclusion, there are two opposing viewpoints to this case study. One is to treat education like a business in order to get better results. This side feels teachers are already getting paid very well for working approximately 250 days a year. This sides stresses pay for performance. For example, if a teacher gets results and stays in their profession, raise their salary. If a teacher doesn't get desired results, fire them. Some tenured teachers are certified but failing in performance. We have people that have worked in a profession such as computer science, business, engineering, science, and in the arts that are not allowed to teach but have been making a living in that field for years. Then we have teachers that have never worked in these professions a single day but are instructing our kids in that field. It doesn't make sense. We need to have an educational system that provides for the demand our culture has. What we are doing now just doesn't work.

The other side is people who hold the opinion that tenure is more important than ever because it protects teachers who have invested their time and money into a career requiring almost as much education as a doctor. To evaluate a teacher on the performance of their pupils is like evaluating a doctor on health outcomes of his patients. If the patient ignores the treatment, drugs, or rehabilitation, or just bad genes - the doctor can't heal them. A teacher can't teach a child when the parents don't respect education or what the teacher does. Where does this stop? What if doctors or lawyers were evaluated based on the outcome of their clients' cases and were not protected by something like tenure?

An Interview with Brad Jupp

Teacher compensation is heavily back loaded. The beginning teacher needs to work much harder than the experienced teacher. Starting salaries are somewhat low but the salaries grow steadily so that experienced teachers have high compensation. Reform of teacher compensation should reform both beginning teacher compensation and career teacher compensation. However, the contract improved beginning teacher compensation but did not reform career teacher compensation. The contract will substantially increase compensation costs with little benefit.

Teacher compensation should be modeled after university professor compensation. University professors do not have collective bargaining although there are many rules about professor work obligations. University professors do not have defined benefit pensions. Hence university professors retire later. Market conditions have a big impact on professor compensation. Disciplines without high demand have lower compensation than other disciplines. Starting compensation is aligned with market conditions.