WASHINGTON (AP) — A teachers union said it is open to President-elect Barack Obama’s effort to tie pay raises to student performance.Actually, I have no problem with this, as we should always be up for ideas that are collaborative and fair; but as our friend Han Solo once said, that's the real trick, isn't it? Management doesn't like to give up control and they'd have to give up a lot to make sure merit pay didn't just become "raises for ass-kissers." It would probably also be good for teachers unions to make this a bargaining, rather than electoral, issue.
Many teachers dislike the idea; Obama was booed when he mentioned it at union meetings in 2007 and again this year.
Yet Randi Weingarten, the newly elected president of the American Federation of Teachers, said Monday there is a role for teacher raises based on how pupils are learning.
“Of course there is,” she said in a speech at the National Press Club.
She described the teacher pay system in New York City, where schoolwide bonuses are based on overall test scores in high-poverty schools. Weingarten, as head of the New York teachers union, negotiated the system last year with Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The new system is working, she said: Teachers already are getting bonuses for improving pupil achievement in 128 of 200 eligible schools.
“If an innovation is collaborative and fair, teachers will embrace it, and it will succeed,” she said.
Monday’s speech was the first major address for Weingarten as newly elected president of the 1.4 million-member AFT.
It came at a time of great anticipation by the two big teachers unions — AFT and the larger National Education Association. Both were effectively shut out of the administration of President George W. Bush. Bush’s first education secretary, Rod Paige, once labeled the NEA “a terrorist organization.”
As Obama seeks education reform, “no issue should be off the table,” Weingarten said, with just one exception: Her union opposes publicly funded vouchers for parents to send kids to private school.
In her speech, Weingarten avoided serious controversy. Though she mentioned the New York system — and was introduced by Bloomberg — she said nothing about the thornier issue of pay raises for individual teachers, as opposed to schoolwide bonuses.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Posted by dave3544
I seem to remember a certain union offering Obama's support for merit pay as a prime reason to support his Democratic opponents in the primaries. Oh the times, they are a changin'.