Looks like the federal stimulus package may not be the cure-all for staffing flexibility that some thought. Tough talk is coming from both Seattle's superintendent and the teachers' union as the district proposes ways to cut expenses.

In an effort to trim the budget and avoid layoffs, New York City schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein is forcing principals to hire teachers from the controversial reserve pool.

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.

Lots of interesting teacher details in the Obama administration's newly released FY 2010 budget request. The biggest surprise here is a $517 million request for the Teacher Incentive Fund, which would give the program more than $700 million in all for next year if you include the stimulus funds. That's way more than the Bush administration was ever able to secure for the program. It looks like Obama is pretty serious about his calls for paying higher salaries to what he defines as excellent teachers. And the actual budget language contains a few additional tidbits. For one, it would expand ...

Ed Week is beginning a new service: Packages of articles, commentaries, and chats on some of the top issues in education. The first one is on the hot-button topic of teacher performance pay. For $4.95, you'll get seven articles and two commentaries that our staff who are most knowledgeable about the subject put together. There's a great variety of material included. You can read about the latest research on whether performance pay works; what teachers think a good plan should incorporate; and what features proved successful for the Teacher Incentive Fund grantees as they set up their programs....

Questions about teacher tenure and the removal of ineffective teachers in Los Angeles are heating up, following this weekend's Los Angeles Times story. The story found that removing ineffective teachers in California is lengthy and extraordinarily costly (upwards of six figures in some cases), and that much of the time, a panel reversed decisions to let go of teachers anyway. Most teachers were fired only for egregious conduct, the story found. Now, school board officials are renewing efforts to get state legislators to review the laws that govern teacher removal. They face some opposition from Sacramento, where lawmakers say such ...

Wow! There's no reason to watch "Lost" when you've got the D.C. contract situation, which is quickly becoming as byzantine and bizarre as the popular TV program. DCPS officials have detailed Washington Teachers' Union Vice President Saunders back to his school over some kind of paperwork snafus with the leave of absence union officials take when they work full time for the union. The rumors are flying fast and furious about who's to blame, with Saunders and others claiming that WTU President George Parker and D.C. Chancellor Michelle Rhee are both behind the transfer. Though you wouldn't know ...

Arne Duncan weighs in on unions and charter schools. From his speech at the Education Writers Association: "Twenty-six states cap the number of charters and 10 other states have no charters. The President has called on every state to lift charter caps. And where unions are behind these efforts to impede charters we should certainly call them out but we shouldn’t demonize unions or blame them for all of the problems in education."...

Brad Jupp, the senior academic adviser for the Denver Public Schools, will be heading to the department to serve as an adviser to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, according to this news story. In 2004, Jupp helped broker the ProComp differentiated-pay system in Denver while an employee of the local teachers' union, and he continued to help oversee the program when he moved to DPS. He'll be on loan from Denver during this time, the story says, and will be advising Duncan on teacher quality and teacher-effectiveness issues. I think this is a pretty good sign that the Obama administration is ...

The private-foundation contributions, in addition to the AFT's down payment of $1 million, bring the fund's total to $2.8 million. Funds are available for local affiliates to "incubate promising ideas to improve schools," AFT President Randi Weingarten said.


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