Here's the latest on the D.C. contract news: Chancellor Michelle Rhee has said that she has a "Plan B" for instituting reforms to Washington's teacher-quality system if the tentative contract she's working on with the Washington Teachers' Union falls through (see previous posts and my story here for background.) She wouldn't elaborate on what Plan B entails. But here's one possibility: the district has quietly been laying the foundation for changes to its licensing system. According to a document from the office of the State Superintendent of Education, the district wants to institute a system that provides schools with ...


As urban and suburban school districts experience annual recruitment pangs, the numbers of overseas teachers recruited to teach hard-to-fill subjects is on the rise. Attracted by better pay than they get back home, more Filipino teachers than ever before are flocking into the United States, according to this article from the Philippine Daily Inquirer.This week, 93 teachers who will teach math, science and special education landed in Washington en route to Prince George’s County in Maryland. They followed a batch of 115 teachers that arrived in July to teach in the county. Other districts also have offered jobs ...


"Obama and the NEA: If elected, will he be willing to part ways with the union?" Or that's what the Rocky Mountain News wants to know. And here at Teacher Beat, we think it is a question worth examining. It is true that so far Obama has expressed support for merit pay, which the NEA is famous for not liking. But does anyone even know what Obama means when he talks about supporting performance pay? So far, at the convention in Denver, we've heard many other Democratic voices endorse it without actually going into any specifics, and many others have ...


In Denver, it's been all about performance pay for the last few days. First the school district and the teachers' union settled a long-running dispute over changes to the teacher merit-pay plan, and now the Democrats at their national convention are all set to embrace performance pay as a party-platform issue. For the teachers' unions, which are out in full strength at the convention, this has not been a blessing, exactly. In fact, they have been looking like everyone's favorite punching bag. The unions have long disliked any deviation from teacher tenure and seniority, and the National Education Association has ...


If money is any measure, the teachers' unions certainly have a thing for Hillary Clinton. According to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, the 3.2-million-member National Education Association may have endorsed Barack Obama for president, but Clinton got just a little more of their money: $23,000 compared with the $22,000 received by Obama. And the American Federation of Teachers, which first endorsed Clinton for president, gave her a whopping $32,000 compared with just around $11,000 for Obama, whom they later endorsed. The NEA made it into the top 10 "heavy-hitters" list of political givers ...


The saga between the Washington Teachers' Union and District of Columbia public schools took another interesting turn last week. WTU filed a lawsuit against the school system over the dismissal of more than 70 probationary (nontenured) teachers. The union seeks to restore these teachers to employment. George Parker, the president of the union, said the district dismissed these teachers even though they were meeting the expectations of their probationary period, thus the dismissals violated due process guaranteed educators as part of the current contract. The lawsuit is illuminating, given the state of current contract negotiations, which hinge on a two-tiered ...


This story on New Jersey's progress toward meeting the goal of putting a "highly qualified" teacher in every classroom is interesting. The state has 99 percent of teachers meeting the HQT standard. That's impressive, but not unique: Almost every state is past the 90 percent mark now, and North Dakota actually reached 100 percent last year. What's telling is that the state is having a particularly hard time getting middle school educators highly qualified. Under NCLB, middle and high school teachers are essentially held to the same standard: They need to hold a major or have completed coursework equivalent to ...


Just in time for the Democratic convention, Denver schools and the teachers' union have come up with a tentative agreement on ProComp, the city's performance-pay plan for teachers. The contract would give all teachers 3 percent pay raises and allow teachers who don't want to be part of ProComp to drop out by October this year. But some veteran teachers could also see their pay raises vanish, which has left them feeling pretty dissed, according to this Denver Post story. One teacher said the change would cut yearly raises for veteran teachers to $350 a year from a possible $1,300...


In its fight to resist major changes to the performance-pay system ProComp, the Denver Classroom Teachers Association doesn't seem to have any friends. First there was a report from the citizens' commission, A-Plus Denver, issued this month that said ProComp contributes too much toward salary base-building, which the union favors. Instead, the report said, the money should be driven more directly toward the elements that contribute to improving student achievement. Then, a splinter group of about 275 teacher members went public saying the union leadership was not representing the view of the majority within the union, and called for a ...


A quick update on the murky saga of the Chicago Teachers Union. Yesterday, the union's executive board voted to get rid of Ted Dallas, the vice president who had been accused of financial improprieties. Dallas had in turn filed suit against the union, accusing President Marilyn Stewart of similar misdoings, including spending half a million dollars on food over a year. Read the Chicago Tribune story here. Dallas had been a member of the union since 1970, and had run on Stewart's slate for the last two elections. But the two fell violently apart over the past several months. At ...


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