Open response to Directors Geddes and Peck

The Douglas County Federation (DCF) is compelled to respond to the misinformation shared by Director Geddes at this week’s board meeting (and later affirmed by Director Peck). Dr. Geddes stated that the DCF is opposed to performance-based pay or basing a teacher’s salary on evaluation.

In fact, in 1994, long before it was en vogue to adopt such programs, the DCF helped develop an award winning pay for performance system in collaboration with district administration. That system was developed with participation of teachers, principals, school board members, parents, and community members, and included bonuses and negative consequences based on evaluations. Notably, some community members that served on the pay committee developed compensation systems in the private sector as part of their profession. Every aspect of a teacher’s career was reviewed and considered as the system was designed. The guiding principle at every meeting and for every decision was, “Is this best for our students?”

The system worked and Douglas County School District’s (DCSD’s) children and employees flourished for years. These are undeniable, provable, documented facts. Unfortunately, that pay system and the guiding principal of employee and community collaboration were summarily ended with the ideological shift of DCSD’s board several years ago.

However, one thing Director Geddes did say last night was true; the current teacher evaluation system, CITE, is not supported by teachers. It is convoluted, counter productive, misaligned, and often manipulated for political reasons. It has created a negative environment in our schools and is one of the main factors in our district’s outrageous teacher turnover rate.

But those are not the main reasons teachers don’t like it. Like the current top-down, dysfunctional, punitive, and educationally unsound pay system, the current teacher evaluation system is not good for kids. Teachers know what is best for their students and they know that these two systems make it harder for them to do their jobs, and ultimately to meet the needs of their students.

It is regrettable that Directors Geddes and Peck chose not to attend the DCF teacher panel discussion, where they would have learned the truth about what teachers, principals, and community members believe, and instead choose to invent a story that fits their political narrative, but is blatantly untrue.

Sincerely,

Kallie Leyba
President, Douglas County Federation