He said the district also minimized reliance on the state’s model for calculating teacher effectiveness out of concerns over its fairness.
Overall, close to 6,000 teachers received between $700 and the top $6,300 bonus this year, Carvalho said. The bonuses should be in their next paychecks.
Many teachers still aren’t eligible to be named top performers because state data limits comparisons to only reading and math. That left Miami Beach Senior High history teacher Nadia Zananiri feeling that many teachers had traded tenure for peanuts.
“I think if you ask most teachers if they’d rather have $300 or job security, they’d say job security,” she said.
And while United Teachers of Dade President Karen Aronowitz said she was happy to see the district “spread the money as widely as possible,” she said she remains opposed to the performance-pay concept behind the bonuses.
“I don’t support the Race to the Top ideology,” she said, “that there’s some kind of competition and that teachers operate best in a competitive environment.”
Carvalho countered Monday that the current step system negotiated decades ago, in which teachers are paid based on years of teaching and credentials, creates an “unacceptable disparity” between teachers and is “broken.”
“The world as we know it has changed,” he said. “That needs to change.”
Politics aside, Monday was a day of celebration for teachers like Susan Fletcher, a sixth-grade language arts teacher at Ada Merritt K-8 who won $2,500 after many hours of grading papers, holding student-teacher conferences and brainstorming ways to “encourage critical thinking.”
“It’s great that they’re going above and beyond,” she said of the district. “We all work very hard.”