Opinions vary on new DISD teacher pay raise plan

Friday was "report card day,” so to speak, for Dallas ISD teachers under a new pay-for-performance plan.

Under the Teacher Excellence Initiative, or T.E.I., a master teacher can earn as much as $90,000 in the next two years, but some teacher groups aren’t giving the new system a passing grade just yet.

Dallas ISD teacher Toni Harrison-Kelly’s grade under the new initiative is an exemplary A, which puts her among the eight percent of teachers getting the highest pay raise.

The T.E.I. is the legacy of former Superintendent Mike Miles. It changes how teachers are evaluated.

Pay raises are based on student and school performance on state assessment tests, classroom observations of the teacher and a student survey of teachers.

“We’re able to identify what makes a great teacher and see how our current teachers fit within that mold, and the closer we can get them to fit into that mode of a highly effective, highly qualified teacher, the better off our students will be,” said Andre’ Riley with DISD.

A corner full of awards sit in Dr. Louie White's Lincoln High School classroom.

He's been teaching drama and radio-television-film for 35 years at the same school.

“So does the Teacher Excellence Initiative impact you at all, or you getting one of those big raises today?” FOX 4’s Shaun Rabb said to White.

I don’t know,” said White. “I haven’t looked because it has never been about the money.”

“The people that have brought it to me have said this is not fair,” said Alliance AFT President Renea Honea. “…This system does not give any credibility for advance degrees for teachers where they continue their growth and development and there's nothing for their years of service in the classroom.”

But Harrison-Kelly feels the T.E.I. has helped make her a better teacher, and she says it can do the same for others.

“The Teacher Excellence Initiative has this rubric,” she said. “It’s 15 pages long, but it gives you all these different ways to improve your lessons. How are you gonna improve your delivery of lesson? How to improve your classroom climate. So that’s really been my guide.”

Alliance AFT says there are simply too many questions and that the district should consider re-evaluating its new way of evaluating and compensating teachers.

Teachers who don’t get pay raises on Friday can call a DISD hotline to ask questions about their evaluation.