The NEA may speak publicly with a single voice, but delegates have different views on policies, based on their reactions to the education secretary's speech yesterday.

While some saw the speech as "tough love" for the teachers' unions, the Obama administration clearly telegraphed its intentions to push hard on issues like performance pay, seniority, and tenure in the stimulus legislation, and that passed months ago.

The NEA's resolutions do not endorse any type of incentive pay other than bonuses for teachers who earn National Board certification. Delegates are a different story, and their reactions [to Duncan's speech] will be interesting to watch.

Today I head down to San Diego for the National Education Association's Representative Assembly, which begins in earnest on July 3. What will this year's NEA assembly bring? Without a doubt, we'll see plenty of debate on internal NEA policies. We'll probably continue to see the union criticize the No Child Left Behind Act: The union's ESEA Committee expected to make another report this session. We may even get a couple of interesting resolutions that highlight the union's sense of its own purpose and mission, as we did about private pre-K providers last year. This year also marks Dennis Van ...

The University of Chicago's Consortium on Chicago School Research has a new study out on teacher turnover in the Windy City, and it's pretty grim stuff, according to this news story. In about 100 of the schools, over half the teaching force leaves every year, the report found. Also, small schools tend to exacerbate turnover compared to larger schools, the story says, in what could portend some problems for the city's Renaissance 2010 initiative in which smaller schools is one key strategy. The report also examines factors such as teacher qualifications, crime and safety, levels of parental engagement, and school ...

The District of Columbia public schools just announced that six teachers have begun a five-week fellowship in the central administrative office. They'll be scattered among a variety of divisions, including special education, data & accountability, and human capital. The press release says the initiative is designed to "ensure teachers' voices are always present in central decisionmaking at the central office." I'll be interested in hearing more about these teachers as they progress through their fellowships. Will they come with some notions about the administration that will be overturned? Or will those notions be reinforced? More than 150 teachers applied for the ...

As a reporter, it's always irritating to discover that another paper has beaten you to a story you've had in mind, in this case following a teacher through the peer-assistance and -review process. Nevertheless, this Washington Post article is a pretty thorough look at things in Montgomery County, Md., and includes a glimpse at the PAR panel that makes the call on whether to renew teachers or proceed with dismissal....

That could have been the title, anyway, of this Web site on peer-assistance and -review programs. Created by the Project on the Next Generation of Teachers at Harvard's Graduate School of Education, the Web site is part of an ongoing research investigation that's being headed up by Susan Moore Johnson. It is probably the most extensive resource in existence on the PAR process, and contains all the research that the team has done. (You can find a summary report in PDF format on the Web page, but if you're interested in just one or two areas, try the tabs on ...

The perspective it offers is going to be challenging for pretty much everyone who's got skin in this particular game.

Finally putting on the record what has to have been just about the worst-kept secret in Washington (and New York City, for that matter), AFT President Randi Weingarten announced yesterday that she'll be stepping down as the head of the union's largest affiliate, the United Federation of Teachers, on July 31. I was a bit amused to find that the UFT press release that celebrates Weingarten's tenure (and pending departure) is more than 1,500 words long and quotes from everyone you can think of, while the AFT press release announcing her intention to work full time for the parent ...


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