I'm getting my Masters for nothing.

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Jerseygirlteach, Sep 11, 2015.

  1. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Sep 11, 2015

    I'm a mess. I can't believe my district is doing this to me and I need to vent. Sorry, this is long.

    I have a degree in communications. A few years ago, I went back and completed a 22 credit program to get my cert. in elementary education. So, I have a BA +22. My district (and, to be fair, most others around here) do not count those credits towards the salary scale because they were part of an initial cert program. So, that puts me at BA on the salary scale. A year after completing my elementary cert. program, I got my cert. in sped via an alt route program. The alt route program allowed me to complete 22 credits of my masters and then later the additional 15 to complete the program. So, when I finished the alt route program, I had a grand total of 44 credits past my BA. But, my district wouldn't pay me for any of it because they were for cert programs.

    Okay, that stinks, but I figured I would eventually go back and get my masters and at least I'll move up then. So, I did go back and I'm more than half way done. It's been extremely hard, but the thought of the big salary bump has been pushing me through.

    Well, I had a conversation with administration and it turns out I've been doing all this for nothing. They will not count the first part of my masters because it was part of an alt route program. Note that these are grad level classes, but they don't care. The second part of the program is 15 credits. They will count those, but that would only put me at BA + 15. I would need BA + 16 to move up the scale so I'll still be 1 credit shy - and that move is pretty tiny anyway.

    And no, I can't go back and take one little class to move up to BA + 16. They won't let me take any class that isn't part of a program. So, basically I'd have to go back and start another masters program from scratch to move up.

    So, to sum all this up, starting next year, I'll have a masters degree (or - a BA + 59 credits, depending on how you want to look at it) and my district will only be paying me for a BA.

    I feel sick; I really do.
     
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  3. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Sep 11, 2015

    That is so wrong.

    Teacher salary needs to be reworked anyway, but as long as they're going to use measures like level of education, they should pay you for it.
     
  4. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Sep 11, 2015

    That stinks. At my district these wouldn't matter. In fact I took Spanish 101 (and I have a Masters), but I asked if they would count it, because I was taking it (at least partially) so I could communicate with parents. They counted it, and those 4 credit helped me move up.
    If you ever change districts, those could count it, so it's not all for nothing.
     
  5. ChildWhisperer

    ChildWhisperer Groupie

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    Sep 11, 2015

    It might not count for anything right now, but once you finish your Master's degree and find a new district, it will look amazing on your resume/app! And then it should definitely count for something (I'd hope..)
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Sep 11, 2015

    NJ is tough. Put EVERYTHING thru approval for credits before starting class. I'm at Masters plus 60 credits which is top of the scale at my pay grade and still have had additional PD questioned even though classes wouldn't move me on the scale at this point since I'm already making the max for my years and experience (over 100K)
     
  7. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    I have been getting everything approved first (although, the first part of the program was completed while I was at another district). They still say they won't count it.

    I'm not looking for the top of the salary scale. I've done all this work, and I just can't get out of the bottom. :(
     
  8. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    Sep 11, 2015

    Do you get reimbursed for all of these courses? I hope so!

    I feel for you. I do know people who have partially gotten through masters programs or have taken graduate level classes prior to finishing a masters programs and all of the prior credit doesn't count for anything. Also a lot of districts will only count masters that are directly related to your field, but I know teachers who have had their law degrees count...
    If you know it's not going to count, can you just stop and get into another program? That really stinks I'm sorry :/ maybe not all districts are that picky. Would an Ed.M not count then of a teacher gets certified that way? How is this Alt. Route masters be any different??
     
  9. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    No, my district doesn't do that. I've paid the entire thing out of pocket. :(


    I have absolutely no idea. :(
     
  10. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Sep 12, 2015

    Sorry that happened. That really sucks. Things seem to be very different in public schools on the East Coast.
     
  11. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Oh, so sorry! All that work you've done! So what are you going to do now?
     
  12. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    So they told you they would count it and then went back on that? That doesn't seem right at all.

    Your coursework would definitely count at my last district. I took classes both as part of a program (that I never finished) and just randomly here and there, and all of mine counted. There was no stipulation regarding whether they were part of a cert program or not. If they were education classes on top of the degree you had when you initially became certified as a teacher, they counted it.

    I'm so sorry that you're in this situation. I agree with the poster above who said that we need an overhaul of how teachers are paid, but, as long as we're doing it by experience and education, any and all experience and education should count.

    :hugs:
     
  13. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Sep 12, 2015

    No, they never told me anything. I completed the first set of classes before working there. I never thought I would have any problems getting paid at MA after completing an MA in sped from an accredited brick and mortar university. It seems they found some loophole, though.
     
  14. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    If I were in your shoes, unless I absolutely loved my school, I'd probably start looking for a new district where my education would count for something. That very disrespectful on the part of your district to not count your credits because of some loophole. You did the work. You now have extra knowledge that you're bringing into your work on a daily basis. You deserve to be compensated for that, no matter how you went about earning the credits. I honestly don't think I'd be able to stay there after being treated that way, but that's just me. I get fired up about these things very easily.
     
  15. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Sep 12, 2015

    Does NJ offer a "Master's Equivalency?" I too did my teaching cert in a grad program that wasn't a Masters program after I had my BA in an unrelated field. I took one more grad level class several years later and that got me enough credits for a "Master's Equivalency." I can't add credits too it, but in my current district and in my last district it gives me the same pay as a Masters. Not every district in PA recognizes it though, some will only give you Masters pay with the actual Masters and not the Equivalency. If NJ has something similar you may be able to get that pay bump after all. If not, I agree that it totally stinks that all those credits can't bump your pay at all.
     
  16. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Thank you, but my program was, from the start, a masters degree program. I will have a masters of special education at the end of the school year. The masters program, though, allowed me to take it in two parts. The end of the first part lead to certification in sped. (I was already certified in gen ed). My district is telling me that they don't count certification classes towards the pay scale - even though they were masters level classes and I will have a masters degree in May. They gave me no rationale or reason - just that this is their current policy. I cannot imagine any other reason for this than a way to keep my salary low.
     
  17. The Fonz

    The Fonz Math teacher (for now...)

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    Sep 12, 2015

    That seems very odd....I would go to a new district once you finish your certification/masters.

    My M.A. was also the initial license for me (Bachelor's in mathematics, M.A. in Education) and I started working in the M.A. column.

    In fact, I am finishing up my second Masters in admin this school year and I expect to be in the MA + 30 column by February
     
  18. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Sep 14, 2015

    This stinks and I'm sorry that they are treating your credits like nothing. Can you go to your union and ask them for help?
     
  19. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Their reasoning is flawed. Essentially we all take masters or graduate courses to move us from one place to another within our careers. I earned my master's and my ESL certification, and my employer didn't bat an eyelash when submitting my accomplishments for a higher spot on the salary guide. Is this a private school or charter? They would have started you higher on the guide if they had hired you after you earned your credentials, so their logic is flawed if they are trying to separate a master's from something that won't impact their jobs by increasing their position on the salary guide.

    I asked about the schools, since I know how every public school I have dealt with determines your salary. However, now teaching in a private school, I have had to change my thinking, because they don't actually heve a salary guide. It's very much a union/no union kind of thing, I guess.
     
  20. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    It's a public school. I honestly don't know how they can do this. I'm thinking of going to the union, but I'm scared the union won't be able to help me.
     
  21. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    They're telling me that they're applying this rule for new hires as well. So, if someone comes in with a masters that also earned them initial certification, they will not count it as a masters degree. A masters will only count if it's above and beyond certification.

    But, as I tried to explain to them, mine is above and beyond initial certification anyway. I earned my masters degree after already being certified in elementary gen ed. It makes no sense for them to say that those credits still don't count because they earned me a second certification.
     
  22. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    If the policy is written somewhere then they might not be able to do anything. You should have been told about it when you were hired. If it's not written anywhere then how are they proving this is policy?
     

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