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NEA Marshalls Forces Against Teacher-Pay Proposals

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This morning, NEA President Reg Weaver and other NEA staff members explained the union's stance on NCLB reauthorization to a dozen or so education writers. They outlined what the union doesn't like about growth models, teacher-pay provisions, and other issues addressed in the House education committee's discussion draft.

Much of the policy discussion had been covered in documents previously released by the NEA. (See here, here, and here.) But the political discussion was news to me.

At the end, Weaver was asked whether the NEA would bend in its opposition to merit pay and pay for performance linked to students' test scores or whether those ideas were deal breakers, Weaver didn't hesitate. "Deal breaker," he said.

Other things of note, NEA is working with other unions to oppose the teacher-pay measures on the grounds that they would violate local unions' right to collective bargaining. "This would be a very dangerous precedent," said Karen White, NEA's director of campaigns and elections.

And White added that union is working hard to win over freshmen Democrats. On the House Education and Labor Committee, five out of the 10 first-term Democrats won close races. In fact, their margin of victory was less than the number of NEA members in their districts.

"When you win by less votes than the number of our members in your district, you're going to pay attention," White said.

4 Comments

Weaver is really camouflaging his opposition to merit pay and pay for performance with his cry of "foul" on collective bargaining infringements. The NEA is scared to death they are going to lose negotiating clout with their memberships over this controversial component in NCLB. As a teacher with 37 years in the industry I cannot understand why any teacher, worth anything, would shy away from the chance to make more money for a job well done. If students are measured on percent of improvement from one year to the next, it really doesn't matter what level they're at when they enter the classroom in September.

Does the merit pay proposals cover teachers who teach subjects that are not tested under NCLB? If not, it would be unfair to many teachers. It could also encourage cheating, such as the standardized testing bonus fiasco in Texas.

How will this affect teachers who have a large majority of the class already scoring in the "exceeds" range? There just seems to be too many snags to the plan.

Merit pay, maybe, that is if you believe in the measurement process. Many of us do not!

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