Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Weingarten Surrenders On Merit Pay

What won't the United Federation of Teachers surrender on?

After caving on days, time, grievance procedures, seniority transfers, school financing, and bathroom duty, Randi has given Mayor Moneybags a huge victory on merit pay:

The Bloomberg administration and the New York City teachers union after months of negotiations announced an agreement today on a performance-pay plan that would give teachers bonuses based largely on the test scores of students at schools with high-poverty populations. The plan, which will be phased in, is a major breakthrough for Mayor Michael R. . Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein, who for years have called for a merit pay system in which high-performing teachers can earn extra money.


New York’s plan is a twist on the traditional concept of merit pay. Pots of money will not be distributed teacher by teacher, but be given to schools that do a good job raising students’ test scores.

This year, about 200 of the city’s more than 1,400 schools that the administration characterizes as “high needs,” based largely on how poor their students are, will be eligible for about $20 million in bonuses. If they meet certain performance goals, they will receive an amount that totals $3,000 per teacher. Next year, officials said, at least 400 schools will be eligible.

It will be up to “compensation committees” at each school made up of teachers and principals supervisors to divvy up the money as they see fit. They could choose to distribute it evenly among union members or single out high performers.

The plan not only gives Mr. Bloomberg a policy change he has long sought, it allows Ms. Weingarten, a potential candidate to lead the national American Federation of Teachers, to cast herself as a reform-minded union leader.

Both the Bush administration and Representative George Miller, the California Democrat, who is chairman of the House education committee, have tried to promote the concept of merit pay. Leaders of the two national teachers’ unions — Reg Weaver, president of the National Education Association, and Toni Cortese, executive vice president of the American Federation of Teachers — recently objected to draft House legislation to renew the No Child Left Behind law because of a proposal to provide grants to school systems that choose to pay bonuses to teachers who excel in schools with high-poverty student concentrations.

The NEA and the AFT both objected to what Weingarten has agreed to.

No wonder she's Rod Paige's favorite labor leader.

Call the UFT and let them know how you feel.


Ask for the president's office and leave a message.
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