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The Unions and the Teacher Incentive Fund

I got a few moments yesterday to chat with Dennis Van Roekel, the head of the National Education Association, about the huge proposed increase to the Teacher Incentive Fund.

He said he hopes the administration will allow states that have cut back on stipends for teachers who earn national-board certification to restore those bonuses through the program.

I keep bugging Duncan's peeps about whether they're going to require these incentive-pay plans to be collectively bargained. Jo Anderson, a senior adviser at the Education Department, said that issue hasn't been worked out or decided on yet. It'll definitely be something to pay attention to when the funding announcement shows up in the Federal Register.

Van Roekel said he hasn't talked to the administration about the collective bargaining implications, but he did say that policymakers, unions, and management all have a role to play in the development of the plans. "It really takes all three to make that system work," he told me.

Meanwhile, the American Federation of Teachers didn't comment on the TIF in their news release. Instead, they knocked the Obama administration's proposal to allow students already enrolled in the D.C. voucher program to continue their educations in private schools.

"The foundations that have championed vouchers all these years easily could have raised the funds to ensure the children already participating in this program would not have their education disrupted. What is equally disappointing is that they are using these children, who are blameless, as pawns in their ideological battle."

Given the high marks parents give to the program, I'd bet a lot of those parents are not going to care whether or not their kids are pawns. They are probably just going to be happy that their kids don't have to transfer back to DCPS.

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