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Unions, Miller Spar over Teacher Pay

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Just after I posted this item on a teacher union's opposition to the House's NCLB draft, the subject of merit pay and performance pay came up in today's marathon House Education and Labor Committee hearing.

Toward the end of the almost seven-hour session, NEA President Reg Weaver and AFT Executive Vice President Antonia Cortese objected to proposed alternative pay programs for teachers, which are included in the section addressing teacher quality.

In the Q&A that followed, Chairman George Miller, D-Calif., reminded the union reps that that the pay proposals came from the Teacher Excellence for All Children Act, which the unions endorsed after extensive talks with Rep. Miller and a host of education groups.

"This language was mutually arrived at by various parties," Rep. Miller said.

Ms. Cortese reminded the chairman that AFT reserved the right to object about teacher pay questions when it endorsed the original bill.

"We do have specific concerns about a provision that would use test scores to evaluate teachers," Ms. Cortese said.

This isn't the last we'll hear on this issue, I'm sure.

1 Comment

Merit pay is a complex issue but if done correctly and fairly could prove exhilarating in our schools. Many other aspects of our culture are based on competiton, why not instill some of it into our schools? There are several questions begging on this issue: (1) What teacher would be reluctant to participate in a merit-pay (negotiated) program, that is be eligible for a salary increase if their kids performed better on the state test? (2) What parent would want their child in a class where the teacher was unwilling to take part in the merit-pay program? (3) If parents had a choice of teachers (from merit-pay teachers to non-merit pay), what would be the breakdown of the classes?

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