Saturday, July 26 2014 6:44 AM EDT2014-07-26 10:44:31 GMT
The Ohio State marching band is moving forward without its director; a day after he was fired they're performing with the Columbus Symphony in what's often considered the band's unofficial season kickoff.More >>
Having forced out a beloved football coach and watched its president retire after a series of verbal gaffes, Ohio State University again finds itself grabbing headlines with the firing of a celebrated marching band...More >>
Saturday, July 26 2014 6:44 AM EDT2014-07-26 10:44:13 GMT
A federal judge has dismissed a Wyoming man's lawsuit claiming a group secretly found the missing airplane of aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart in the South Pacific but kept it quiet so it could continue to raise...More >>
A federal judge on Friday dismissed a Wyoming man's claims that an aircraft recovery group secretly found wreckage of aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart's missing airplane in the South Pacific but kept it quiet so it...More >>
Saturday, July 26 2014 2:02 AM EDT2014-07-26 06:02:47 GMT
Police are searching for two men who carjacked an SUV and plowed into a group of children and adults selling fruit at a Philadelphia street corner, killing three kids and seriously injuring two women.More >>
Police were searching for two men who carjacked an SUV and plowed into a group of children and adults selling fruit to raise money for their church, killing three kids and critically injuring their mother and the...More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 11:56 PM EDT2014-07-26 03:56:40 GMT
Police have arrested the foster parent of a 10-month-old girl who died after being left inside a hot car in Wichita, Kansas.More >>
A 10-month-old Kansas girl died after being strapped for more than two hours inside a sweltering car, and police arrested a foster parent who said he'd forgotten about her until something on TV jogged his memory, an...More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 10:33 PM EDT2014-07-26 02:33:36 GMT
U.S. District Judge Neil V. Wake was attending a ceremony for a judicial colleague when he received an urgent - and unusual - request: Lawyers for a condemned inmate wanted him to stop an execution that didn't...More >>
U.S. Sen. John McCain says the execution of an Arizona inmate that lasted two hours was torture.More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 9:35 PM EDT2014-07-26 01:35:42 GMT
A large family that lives at the shore and suffered losses during Superstorm Sandy will share a $20 million lottery jackpot that one of the 17 siblings said will be "a great pick-me-up."More >>
A lottery-playing tradition started by the matriarch of a large New Jersey shore family paid off for her 17 children this week when the group won a $20 million jackpot that will partly be used to help family members...More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 9:32 PM EDT2014-07-26 01:32:57 GMT
An 80-year-old man who came home to find two burglars said he shot and killed one of them despite her pleas that she was pregnant, but it's the woman's alleged accomplice who has been arrested on suspicion...More >>
Prosecutors Friday were waiting for the results of a police investigation into the killing of a burglar by an 80-year-old California homeowner who says he shot the woman in the back as she fled his home and ran down an...More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 9:15 PM EDT2014-07-26 01:15:50 GMT
A federal appeals court is upholding a Florida law that restricts what doctors can discuss about guns with their patients.More >>
A Florida law restricting what doctors can tell patients about gun ownership was deemed to be constitutional Friday by a federal appeals court, which said it legitimately regulates professional conduct and doesn't...More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 9:05 PM EDT2014-07-26 01:05:50 GMT
It's been called a David vs. Goliath story, a "Tale of Two Arthurs" and even the "ultimate Greek tragedy," but the characters in this drama are not Biblical or literary figures.More >>
It's been called a David vs. Goliath story, a "Tale of Two Arthurs" and even the "ultimate Greek tragedy," but the characters in this drama are not Biblical or literary figures. They're grocery store owners.More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 8:44 PM EDT2014-07-26 00:44:45 GMT
Two men forced a woman into the backseat of her vehicle at gunpoint, drove off but later lost control and plowed into a group of people on a corner near a fruit stand in Philadelphia on Friday, police said. Two...More >>
Two men carjacked a woman at gunpoint but soon sped out of control, killing three children Friday as they plowed into a group selling fruit to raise money for their church, Philadelphia police said.More >>
Unaccompanied minors enroll in US schools, presenting opportunities and extra costsMore >>
Unaccompanied minors enroll in US schools, presenting opportunities and extra costsMore >>
By JAMIE STENGLE Associated Press
DALLAS (AP) - Efforts to eliminate extra pay for teachers who earn advanced degrees are gaining momentum in a small but growing number of U.S. schools, stirring a national debate about how best to compensate quality educators and angering teachers who say the extra training is valuable.
More than half of the nation's teachers have master's degrees or higher, but the changing salary structure is giving pause to others considering the same path. Texas' two largest school districts, in Houston and Dallas, recently eliminated advanced degree pay going forward, following the example of North Carolina, where lawmakers last year started phasing it out. A few other states have made tweaks to reduce how much advanced degrees factor into pay.
"They're trying to say there's no value at all for a teacher going back to increase their knowledge," said Rena Honea, president of Alliance-AFT, which represents Dallas Independent School District employees. "Just by having the additional knowledge in their content area gives them more tools in their toolbox to be able to reach the different types of learners that are in the classroom."
Those championing dropping the extra pay say advanced degrees don't necessarily translate into better student test scores. They say the money is better spent elsewhere, such as on rewarding teachers deemed most effective in the classroom.
"Effectiveness is more based on results rather than any checklist of things," said Dallas Superintendent Mike Miles, who implemented a pay-for-performance system in the district, as he did at his previous district in Colorado. "So years of service and the advance degrees are checklist-type things."
Yet the backlash in North Carolina grew so intense that the state is now looking at reinstating the extra pay for those teaching classes related to the subject in which they have an advanced degree. It's among teacher pay issues lawmakers are considering this summer.
In April, the Wake County Public School System - the largest in North Carolina with about 150,000 - said more than 600 teachers had left since the beginning of the school year, an increase of 41 percent over the same period the year before.
One district official blamed a lack of a significant pay raise in recent years along with the phasing out of tenure and extra pay for advanced degrees. Human Resources Superintendent Doug Thilman called the figures "alarming" but "not surprising."
Tim Barnsback, who teaches an engineering program at a middle school in Burke County, North Carolina, is among educators who have put off pursuing an advanced degree until the situation is resolved.
"Intellectually and professionally, it still interests me and makes a lot of sense," Barnsback said. "But economically, it doesn't make any sense to do it anymore."
The extra pay for having a master's degree in North Carolina accounted for 10 percent of a teacher's base salary from the state. In the Houston and Dallas school districts, the extra pay started at about $1,000 more annually for first-year teachers.
Dallas' new system is based on evaluations, with classroom performance accounting for half, test scores for 35 percent and student surveys making up 15 percent. In Houston, the school district board gave teachers a raise of at least $1,100 and bumped starting pay from nearly $47,000 to $49,100. In both districts, teachers already earning extra pay for advanced degrees won't see their salaries drop.
One matter of debate is whether the extra training translates to better student test scores.
"We've built these salary structures based on years of experience and advanced degrees and both turned out to be not very good indicators of teachers' performance," Sandi Jacobs, vice president of the National Council on Teacher Quality, said.
While opponents of the pay perks point to studies that show the advanced degrees don't make teachers more effective, Gary Henry, an education researcher with Vanderbilt University, says many show mixed results, with effectiveness proven in one subject matter but not others.
"I don't think the research is definitive enough to make the broad kinds of changes that are being made in teachers' salaries," he said.
In Texas' third-largest school district, Cypress-Fairbanks, Superintendent Mark Henry said he has no plans to consider any change that would discourage teachers from going back to college.
"I think what we tell children all the time, and what we tell each other, is to be lifelong learners," he said.
Associated Press writer Gary D. Robertson in Raleigh, N.C., contributed to this report.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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