In a conference call on this survey, Joel Klein, the chancellor of the New York City schools, said he supported "front-loading" compensation for new teachers and offering more pay based on teacher bonuses. "So much [of teacher compensation] ends up in defined-benefit pension plans,” he said. “I think a lot of teachers are not going to be around to accrue long-term pensions.” Salary front-loading and performance pay? Hmm. Sounds a lot like the contract that District of Columbia schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee is trying to put into place, with its green-tier proposal that would allow new teachers to make almost $70,000...


I had a bunch of stories due last week and neglected my blogging duties. So I owe my co-blogger Vaishali a big-shout out and thank you for holding down the fort in my absence! Not long ago, I wrote a story about a volume on state and federal accountability policies edited by Bruce Fuller at the University of California. The study I focused on found, using survey data from three state samples, that in the wake of standards-based reform, teachers are changing how they are instructing. But they are doing so autonomously and not always in uniform, aligned ways. Of ...


Teacher advocates have long argued that it is unfair to judge a teacher by student test scores alone, especially those in classrooms with challenging environments. This week, the state commissioner of education agreed with that perspective when he reinstated a teacher who was fired over a teacher rating system based on student test scores. According to this story in the Dallas Morning News, Sharon Toussaint was one of eight teachers fired from Kimball High School under a recent reorganization to address chronically low test scores. Toussaint petitioned Texas Education Agency Commissioner Robert Scott to be reinstated. In his ruling, Scott ...


American Federation of Teachers locals have partnered with districts on pioneering reform efforts, including peer review and assistance in Toledo, Ohio, and charter schools in New York City. Now, locals working on reform plans could get financial support from the national union, which today announced the creation of a $1 million fund to support such efforts. The announcement of the AFT Innovation Fund comes just as the national teachers' unions have come under criticism from both Democrats and Republicans as standing in the way of reform. In addition to the $1 million seed money, the AFT will seek more funding ...


Has Obama actually converted the NEA into a fan of charter schools? Maybe not quite, but when did you last hear an NEA president say something like this about charter schools: “Those of us in the education community can learn from charter school success stories and failures. The key is to identify what is working that can be sustained and reproduced on a broad scale so that as many students as possible can benefit.” That's a quote from Dennis Van Roekel, the NEA president, and it came in a statement issued right after Obama's speech in Dayton, Ohio, where he ...


Democrats have often been criticized for being in cahoots with the teacher unions on education policy, and each time Sen. Barack Obama voices support for charter schools or merit pay-- ideas that the national teacher unions aren't terribly fond of-- there's a lot of back-and-forth on how he's breaking away from the unions. Today, in his speech at a school in Dayton, Ohio, the Democratic presidential candidate-- who has received the endorsement of both the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers -- called for more charter schools, merit pay, and for replacing bad teachers. "We must give ...


Sen. John McCain's swipe against Barack Obama and teacher unions at the Republican National Convention Thursday has provoked a suitably angry response from the National Education Association and its new president. In his speech, about which you can read more on our Campaign K-12 blog, McCain said Obama, his Democrat rival, "wants our schools to answer to unions and entrenched bureaucrats. I want schools to answer to parents and students." Dennis Van Roekel, the president of the 3.2 million-member NEA, which had 40 delegates at the convention, in a statement Friday called McCain "completely out of touch" with the ...


The beginning of the school year is also the time when teacher disgruntlement rears its head. Although there have not been any strikes in large urban districts in recent memory, and a couple of threats this year fizzled out, there are plenty of teachers out there walking the picket lines right now. In Broward County this week, teachers threatened to work less to protest stalled negotiations on their contract. ''There will be no volunteering, no field trips, no taking papers home,'' Broward Teachers Union President Pat Santeramo told the Miami Herald. Strikes are illegal under Florida law, so an ...


In recent years, some voices like the New Teacher Project have called for changing how teachers are hired by school districts, and have even worked with some districts to revamp their hiring practices and to improve teacher retention. Now, a new report from the Annenberg Institute of School Reform at Brown University is touting another approach: it says districts ought to consolidate all teacher-related functions, like recruitment, evaluation, professional development, staffing, and even collective bargaining, under a single "human- capital management" office. The hope is that this would ensure better coordination of the teacher-related functions and transform the way districts ...


The NEA has been a rather busy bee at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul even as the AFT, not surprisingly, has chosen to stay far, far away. Dennis Van Roekel, the spanking-new president of the NEA, was at a Minneapolis jazz club yesterday where several unions led by the NEA were hosting a labor salute to Republican supporters. He spoke with my colleague Mark Walsh, who is covering the Republican convention in the Minnesota capital. Mark writes that 40 NEA members are among the delegates: a fairly sizeable number given that the unions are always perceived as being ...


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