North American Association of Educational Negotiators

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Educational negotiations is a dynamic profession.  Keeping track of current trends, studies, reports and news articles about negotiations is an essential skill for the professional negotiator.  NAEN publishes a weekly Potpourri of Articles of Interest on this Blog.  NAEN members may read, comment and post news of their own on the NAEN Blog.  Non-members may view the blog and are welcome to subscribe through an RSS feed (see icon below). 
  • 04 Dec 2009 11:47 AM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    1. United States.    U.S. Economy Lost Only 11,000 Jobs in November.  NY Times. December 4, 2009. By JAVIER C. HERNANDEZ. In the strongest employment report since the recession began nearly two years ago, the government said Friday that the nation’s employers had all but stopped shedding jobs in November, taking some of the pressure off of President Obama to come up with a wide-ranging jobs creation program. The Labor Department reported that the United States economy lost 11,000 jobs in November, and the unemployment rate fell to 10 percent, down from 10.2 percent in October.

    2.  Alberta.   Casino ban hits inner-city school hard.  CBC News. December 4, 2009. The Archdiocese of Edmonton's decision to cancel casino fundraisers for Catholic schools has administrators wondering how they'll pay for computers, gym equipment and field trips. Cyndy Wosnack, principal of St. Gerard Elementary School, said parents who help out at the casinos can bring the school $30,000 a year in much-needed financial support. Many St. Gerard families won't be able to make up for the money lost because of the casino ban, said Wosnack, whose school has 150 students from pre-school to Grade 6. "Additional phys ed equipment, a lot of our field trips are supplemented," she said. "Our students can't afford, a lot of them can't afford, to pay for those field trips."

    3. Michigan.   DPS, teachers union reach tentative 3-year deal.  Chicago Tribune. December 4, 2009.  By the Associated Press. DETROIT - Detroit Public Schools and its teachers union say they have reached a tentative three-year contract that will boost teacher accountability and student achievement. Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb said the deal reached Thursday night will save the district more than $30 million in expenses and $28 million in health care costs. He also said the district will not have to pursue Chapter 9 bankruptcy. The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press say the deal includes no pay increase during the first two years, and 1 percent increase the third year.,0,6599853.story

    4. United States.    29 states enact tax increases.  Fiscal Survey of the States. December 4, 2009. The Fiscal Survey of States is published twice annually by the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO) and the National Governors Association (NGA).Enacted tax and fee changes are expected to result in $23.9 billion in additional revenue for fiscal 2010 budgets. For fiscal 2010, 29 states enacted net increases while nine states enacted net decreases. This amount well exceeds fiscal 2009, when states enacted $1.5 billion in tax and fee increases, as 20 states enacted net decreases while 14 states enacted net increases. The largest enacted increase for fiscal 2010 was in personal income taxes ($10.7 billion), while the largest enacted decrease was in corporate income taxes ($202.2 million).

    5.  New York.  New York's new pension plan cuts costs while providing new benefits to powerful unions.  Chicago Tribune. December 3, 2009. By MICHAEL GORMLEY, Associated Press Writer.  ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York's new public worker pension plan is being described as both landmark reform that will save taxpayers billions of dollars and the latest gift to powerful state employee unions. The elements sought by unions in the legislation adopted Wednesday included a new benefit for the powerful teachers unions, restricting the state's hiring of private-sector contractors to do tasks that public workers could do, and guarantees of no layoffs next year. It also prevents schools and governments from offering a 401k retirement plan, with employer and employee contributions.,0,2545920.story

    6.  Florida.   Class sizes grow amid state's fiscal woe. Orlando Sentinel. December 3, 2009. Class sizes in Florida's public schools crept upward this year for the first time since 2002, a reversal fueled by Florida's worsening budget crisis. Education Commissioner Eric Smith warned last month that more districts would struggle to comply with Florida's class-size law because of the poor economy. The reports released this week by the Florida Department of Education show that to be true. Class sizes bumped up statewide, and more schools this year than last were in violation of the law because their classes were too big.
    The new figures mean it will be more difficult for school districts to meet the law's final requirements in 2010 — a hard cap on the number of youngsters in each core classroom. They likely also will feed the debate expected during the Florida Legislature's spring session about whether the controversial class-size law should be scaled back or even repealed.,0,2200776.story

    7. United States.   Lots of Smack in Final School Improvement Regs.  Education Week K-12 Politics Blog. By Alyson Klein on December 3, 2009. The U.S. Department of Education put out the final version of the regulations on the School Improvement Grants. And even though there were 180 comments filed on the draft regulations, not much has changed, or at least not substantially. . . The regulations offered four possible models for fixing the lowest-performing schools in the state. (Read all about it in Michele's story). Those models are still there, and they're still the only options. The department isn't allowing for much, if any, additional district discretion, even though some folks asked for it. The regulations explain their reasoning on that--and it comes as close to a smackdown as you're going to get from a 230-plus-page document put out by the federal government

    7a. United States.    Applications Now Available for $3.5 Billion in Title I School Improvement Grants.  U.S. DOE. December 3, 2009.
    Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the final requirements for $3.5 billion in Title I School Improvement grants to turn around the nation's lowest performing schools. The applications are now available at and are due into the Department of Education by Feb. 8, 2010.
    Press Release:

    8. Michigan.   Mich. Senate passes bill affecting teacher tenure.  Detroit Free Press. December 3, 2009. ASSOCIATED PRESS. The state Senate has passed a bill making it easier to dismiss or discipline ineffective teachers. The state superintendent would develop or approve standards for teacher effectiveness under the measure passed today. It wasn't clear if student test scores would be included. It took three votes to approve the bill, one of several that lawmakers hope will improve Michigan's chances to obtain up to $400 million from the federal Race to the Top education program.

    9. Illinois.  South suburban teachers on strike. Chicago Tribune. December 3, 2009. Prairie Hills Elementary School District 144, which serves more than 3,000 students in the south suburbs, has canceled classes after teachers voted to strike late Wednesday over salary issues, officials said. About 210 teachers represented by the District 144 Education Association were picketing outside the district's eight schools this morning, according to a union spokeswoman. In a statement issued on its Web site, officials from the district's  Board of Education said classes and extracurricular activities have been canceled beginning Thursday morning until further notice. Parents were told not to bring their children to school.

    10. United States.   Nation's schools take modest steps for stimulus funds. Milwaukie Journal-Sentinel. December 2, 2009. By Amy Hetzner.  A national survey of how stimulus dollars are prompting school reform found that most states have embraced modest approaches, such as professional development, likely based on concerns about the future expenses of more dramatic changes. The survey by the nonpartisan Center on Education Policy focused on state efforts so far to comply with educational reform promises made to receive $48.3 billion from the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund and expected proposals for the $4.35 billion Race to the Top competitive grant program. The programs are part of $100 billion allocated to schools over two years by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

    11. Indiana.   Indiana secretary of state files complaint against teachers union over troubled insurance plan.  Chicago Tribune. December 2, 2009. By the Associated Press. INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana's secretary of state filed a civil complaint Wednesday against the state's largest teachers union, saying the group violated the Indiana Securities Act when it offered a health care plan for school districts. Secretary of State Todd Rokita said the Indiana State Teachers Association ran a trust that was to be used for health claims and told school districts that they would earn returns on any reserves. But Rokita said that money was mixed with other funds, and that the teachers' association cannot properly account for $23 million intended for schools.,0,6640373.story

    12. United States.   After furloughs, states mull permanent cuts. December 2, 2009. By Christine Vestal, Staff Writer. Moving from furloughs of state employees to more permanent downsizing, states are girding for the deepest workforce cuts yet when they hammer out their fiscal 2011 budgets next year. In preparation, many are taking stock of every position in state government to determine what effect job cuts and the possible elimination of whole departments will have on revenues, expenses and the quality of government services.

    13. Maryland.   Pr. George's educators get merit pay. The Washington Post. December 2, 2009. By Nelson Hernandez. Many of the country's top educators are talking about the idea of paying teachers in line with their performance in the classroom. On Wednesday, Prince George's County will actually do it. The second-largest school system in Maryland is paying $1.1 million to 279 teachers and administrators from a dozen schools who volunteered for a new program that links cash bonuses to classroom performance. The amount of money being paid is relatively small, and the number of staff members is a fraction of the 17,000 people employed by the sprawling school system. But as a symbol of how attitudes toward compensation are changing, it's something to be watched.

    14. Ohio.   Rewrite teachers' contract, CPS told. Cincinnati Inquirer. December 1, 2009. By Ben Fischer. Cincinnati Public Schools must urgently rewrite major aspects of its teachers' union contract and human resources rules if it hopes to improve student achievement, according to a highly anticipated report to be released today. . . If the two sides endorse the suggestions made today by the New Teacher Project, employment conditions for teachers could shift radically in just a few years. Top CPS officials indicated Monday they are taking the report seriously as they prepare to negotiate. Among the 87-page report's proposals: Making test scores a major determinant in teacher job evaluations, allowing external candidates to compete equally for open teaching jobs with current CPS employees, and expanding principals' power over teachers.

    Executive Summary:
    Full Report:

    15. Ontario.   Schools plan curriculum overhaul.  Toronto Star. December 1, 2009. By Louise Brown. Ontario's government is conducting a sweeping review of curriculum from Grades 1 to 8 to fix what educators charge is an overcrowded jumble of disconnected facts that fail to prepare the province's 1.4 million students for the future. Based on tough input gathered this fall from teachers and school boards, Queen's Park says it will start clearing the clutter by the fall of 2011 with leaner guidelines, fewer checklists of facts and more time for deeper learning. It is the first overhaul designed to weed out some of the staggering 3,400 "expectations" built into the new curriculum designed 10 years ago when Grade 13 was abolished

    16. United States.  Now We Have Proof: NEA Is the Largest Political Spender in America. And it's not even close. EIA Communique.  November 30, 2009.  CRP joined forces with the National Institute on Money in State Politics to produce the first comprehensive report of political spending at both the state and national levels. . . Just to put this in perspective, America's two teachers' unions outspent AT&T, Goldman Sachs, Wal-Mart, Microsoft, General Electric, Chevron, Pfizer, Morgan Stanley, Lockheed Martin, FedEx, Boeing, Merrill Lynch, Exxon Mobil, Lehman Brothers, and the Walt Disney Corporation, combined.

    17. California.   West Contra Costa Teachers Pushing for Recall of Union President.  Oakland CAonline. November 29, 2009. Tension is rising inside the West Contra Costa teachers union as members circulate a petition that seeks a vote to recall their leader.
    Some United Teachers of Richmond members publicly have criticized union President Pixie Hayward Schickele and her handling of this month’s failed vote on a tentative agreement for a new contract with the school district. Now, they’re calling for change. 
    “This is the only way I feel I can get my message across,” said Lucy Giusto, a teacher at Hercules Middle-High School. “I have spoken to Pixie at different times, and other members have as well, and it seems that our wishes are put to the side.”

    18. United States.   Teacher absences: Are they excessive and do they hurt students?  Atlanta Journal-Constitution. November 29, 2009, by Maureen Downey. Most discussions about school attendance focus on students. Now, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan wants to talk about teachers. Duncan has made teacher attendance one of the measures to determine which low-achieving schools receive federal improvement funds. So, for the first time, the federal government will collect data on how many days teachers miss classes each year. The reason is simple: Research shows that students suffer a small, but significant decline in academic performance as a result of teacher absences.

    Raegen Miller study:

    Mary Finlayson's Hobb Co. school district study:

    19. New York.   Editorial: Status of Lancaster teacher contract negotiations. November 28, 2009. By Lee Chowaniec. " . . By the school districts own presentation they should have gotten a wakeup call that they have to start controlling spending because the golden goose may be dead after next year. In the past six years, the budget has increased from $63 million to $84.7 million, a 34.4% increase. Teachers are respected for what they do and deserve a fair contract; fair based on what’s taking place in today’s economic climate. The Board of Education is there to ensure fiscal responsibility is in place. Should the BOE waffle and act inappropriately during the contract negotiations, they can expect to hear from the taxpaying fiscal watchdogs at the next budget hearings. It would behoove the BOE at some point to make known what the sticking point(s) is. Taxpayers have the right to know that their best interests are also being considered in the negotiation process."

    20. Hawaii.  Every citizen’s duty: understand the crisis.  Blog by Howard Dicus, Hawaii Now News. November 28, 2009.  "A demand by the teacher’s union does not automatically mean a demand by teachers. Union negotiations always start with demands for more than will finally be agreed to. What teachers want and what their representatives initially ask for should automatically be considered synonymous. Second, a commitment to education does not automatically equal more money for teachers. To argue otherwise is another form of Napoleon’s “L’etat, c’est moi” or the old “What’s good for General Motors is good for the USA.” This is always the case, but especially in a fiscal crisis where there simply is not enough money. Any teacher who thinks this crisis can be resolved without some pain is not a good student of the crisis."

    21. New York.  Testing Bloomberg’s Grip on the Budget Ax.  Ny Times. November 26, 2009. By MICHAEL BARBARO. As he sought to persuade wary voters that he deserved a third term as mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg sold himself as a no-nonsense financial watchdog who was ready to swing the budget ax. But City Hall’s contract negotiations with the United Federation of Teachers are sorely testing those claims. The powerful union is asking the city for 4 percent annual raises for its 87,000 teachers, the same pay increase that the Bloomberg administration gave municipal workers throughout the mayor’s second term.

    22. Saskatchewan.    Financial woes may affect school taxes.  Leader-Post. November 26, 2009. By James Wood, Saskatchewan News Network; Canwest News Service.   The Saskatchewan Party government's financial woes are adding up to some uncertainty for the province's school boards -- and citizens who pay education  property taxes. In this year's budget, the government introduced a massive education property tax cut and a corresponding increase in direct funding for school divisions which saw the province's share of funding increase from 51 per cent to 63 per cent.

    23. Illinois.    Glastonbury Council, Teachers At Odds Over Givebacks.  Chicago Tribune. November 25, 2009. By PETER MARTEKA
    GLASTONBURY — - After listening to a dire presentation for the 2010-11 budget process, some members of the town council sent a message of their own to the board of education and teachers — reopen the contract and look for givebacks to help ease the burden on taxpayers. "Everyone in America is giving back," council Vice Chairman Kurt P. Cavanaugh said at a pre-budget workshop this week with the council, board of education and board of finance in attendance. "I find it very arrogant that they completely ignore the request," he said, referring to the teachers union. Cavanaugh said it would "take a lot" to get him to support anything other than a zero percent increase in the schools budget.,0,2755280.story?track=rss-topicgallery

    24. New York.  Mayor Says Student Scores Will Factor Into Teacher Tenure.  NY Times. November 25, 2009. By JENNIFER MEDINA.  WASHINGTON — Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said on Wednesday that New York City public schools would immediately begin to use student test scores as a factor in deciding which teachers earn tenure, a proposal that has been bitterly opposed by the teachers’ union and criticized as putting too much weight on standardized exams. . . The teachers’ union has fought the use of test scores in tenure decisions, and last year successfully lobbied the Legislature to ban it for teachers hired after July 1, 2008. That law is to expire next year.

    25. Alabama.  NPEA, NPSD post offers, continue to disagree.  Montgomery News. November 25, 2009.  By Dan Sokil. For North Penn Life. North Penn School District is going back on its teachers contract proposal; the teachers union is not being realistic. Those are some of the comments flying now that both the North Penn Education Association and the school board made their final best contract offers available to the public Nov. 13. Each differs on what the offers say about the other side. The offers have been posted online at the district’s Web site,, and are available at the district offices, 401 E. Hancock St., Lansdale.

    Final best offers:

    26. Arizona. Education lobby petitions court over  law's provisions on teacher contracts.  Daily Courier. November 23, 2009. By KRISTA NORSWORTHY, Cronkite News Service. PHOENIX - Lawmakers and Gov. Jan Brewer exceeded their authority with a law that among other things prohibits school districts from taking seniority or tenure into account in layoffs, an education lobby argued Monday in a petition to the Arizona Supreme Court. The law, approved during a special session in August at which lawmakers worked on the budget deficit, takes effect today. Other provisions remove deadlines for districts to offer teaching contracts or notify of a general salary reduction and eliminate a prohibition against reducing the salary of a tenured teacher except as a part of a reduction for all teachers.

  • 25 Nov 2009 11:11 AM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    1. Nevada.   Teachers do a 180 for sake of grants. Union seeks to change law keeping test scores out of evaluations. The Las Vegas sun. November 25, 2009. By David McGrath Schwartz. CARSON CITY — The state teachers union has done an about-face and is working with legislators to change a state law that prevents test scores from being used to evaluate teacher performance. The Nevada State Education Association is in talks with Democratic lawmakers to change the 2003 law. The state was unable to apply this month for a share of $4.3 billion in federal “Race to the Top” money in part because Nevada law does not allow officials to draw a nexus between teacher performance and student test scores. The union has long resisted tying teacher evaluations to test scores. Union representatives this year argued that changing the law to pursue the federal money would further erode the state’s control of its education system.

    2. Washington, DC.  Court defends Rhee's layoffs. Washington Post. November 25, 2009. By Bill Turque. A D.C. Superior Court judge on Tuesday upheld Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee's decision to lay off 266 public school teachers and other educators to close a budget gap, flatly rejecting union arguments that she contrived financial problems to rid the system of older instructors.
    Judge Judith Bartnoff ruled that the Washington Teachers' Union failed to prove any of its core contentions in challenging the Oct. 2 job cuts that triggered the most turbulent month of Rhee's 29-month tenure, which included student protests, union rallies and D.C. Council hearings. The union filed suit five days after the layoffs, branding them an illegal mass firing and calling for the teachers to be reinstated while the matter was turned over to an arbitrator.

    3. United States.   College chiefs told not to look for bailouts.  San antonio News. November 25, 2009. By Melissa Ludwig - Express-News. When projected state budget cuts hit in the next couple of years, public university and college presidents can blame the economy when they are forced to close programs or reduce staff. But they should not depend on the federal government for stopgap money to maintain business as usual, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Tuesday. Instead, they should find creative ways to boost quality and graduation rates in the face of tough economic times.

    4. California.   LAUSD to halve its local offices.  LA Daily News. November 24, 2009. By Connie Llanos, Staff Writer. In a concession to unions, Los Angeles Unified Schools chief Ramon Cortines said Tuesday he will eliminate half the number of local district offices he helped create a few years ago in a bid to reduce next year's deficit of nearly $500 million. But Cortines said savings from the move will amount to just $12 million, and tougher cutbacks, including layoffs, will have to be made to balance the budget. "There is no way to avoid cuts," Cortines said at a special budget meeting called to inform the school board about the district's worsening financial outlook. "We have less state and federal money and fewer students ... the district has to adjust."

    5. Michigan.    DPS teachers to vote on new contract.  Detroit Free Press. November 24, 2009. BY TAMMY STABLES BATTAGLIA. The head of the Detroit Schools teachers' union is scheduling a contract vote for Dec. 5 or 6 at Cobo Hall after a negotiation breakthrough. In an announcement with Detroit Public Schools Financial Manager Robert Bobb today, Union President Keith Johnson said negotiations are 99% complete on a contract that expired months ago. Both said negotiators are taking a break for the holiday weekend and could have a final contract as early as next week.

    6. United States.  Teacher Support for Compensation Reform: Surveys Show Less Experienced Teachers Are More Supportive of Differentiated Compensation.  Center for american Progress. November 24, 2009. By Robin Chait. A number of promising compensation reform programs have shown that changes in payment structures often include upgrades to other systems as well, such as those needed for evaluating and developing teachers. It is unclear whether inexperienced teachers will continue to support differentiated compensation as they become more experienced, but these findings indicate that the time is ripe for targeting differentiated compensation to new teachers at the federal, state, and district level.

    7. United States.   School Improvement by Design: Final Report. CPRE.  First issued in August 2009, the report has been finalized. The Study of Instructional Improvement (SII), a 13-year (1996-2009), multi-method, large scale quasi-experiment that sought to understand the impact of three widely-disseminated comprehensive school reform (CSR) programs on instruction and student achievement in high-poverty elementary schools.

    8. Rhode Island.    East Providence teachers: Performance-pay plan unfair. Providence Journal. November 23, 2009. By Alisha A. Pina. EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Beginning in July 2011, the School Committee says East Providence teachers will be paid, in part, by how well they do in the classroom, not just how long they have been there. Not so fast, the local teachers union has responded, filing its latest unfair labor practice complaint against the school board. There are no school districts in Rhode Island where teachers have "pay for performance," although under a contract signed earlier this month, Chariho school officials and the teachers union will be working to implement such a plan in the next fiscal year. Rhode Island's education commissioner, Deborah A. Gist, also supports pay for performance and says by 2015, all districts will be required to develop a plan to reward the most effective teachers.

    9. United States.  [Private Sector] 2010 Salary Increase Plans Holding (Relatively) Firm.  Compensation Force. Novmber 23, 2009.
    Some good news as year end nears: a new survey of 555 large U.S. employers from Hewitt Associates reports that companies are keeping their 2010 salary increase budgets relatively intact. As the table below indicates, employers are making only minimal adjustments to their salary increase budgets from the original levels set earlier this year:

    10. New Jersey.   EIA Exclusive: How the New Jersey Education Association Made Gov. Corzine's Re-Election "An Organizational Imperative."  EIA Communique.  November 23, 2009.  The New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) didn't let member apathy about Gov. Jon Corzine interfere with its efforts to get him re-elected, according to a presentation made by a high-ranking union staffer last week. . . One slide states that the campaign "was made an organizational imperative," which raises the question: If the members were apathetic about Corzine, who made his re-election "an organizational imperative?"This wouldn't be the first time an NEA state affiliate used member dues and resources to persuade members their opinions were faulty, but the extent of NJEA's effort was extraordinary. The union live-phoned nearly 105,000 members, established campaign teams in every county,  and organized school building visits to lobby members to vote for Corzine. This was nothing compared to what was going on at NJEA headquarters.

    11. Arizona.    Arizona law changes way teachers contract with districts.  AZCentral. November 23, 2009. By Alex Bloom, The Arizona Republic .The Arizona Legislature made sweeping changes to state teacher contracts earlier this year, removing seniority, salary and contract guarantees. Changes under House Bill 2011 mean that school districts will be prohibited from using tenure or seniority as a factor in determining which teachers can be laid off. Additionally, school districts no longer have to honor seniority when they rehire. Gone is an April 15 deadline that required school districts to notify teachers of their contract status for the following school year. The changes were signed into law Sept. 4 by Gov. Jan Brewer and take effect Tuesday.

    12. United States.   Using Open Innovation to Reform Teacher Evaluation Systems.  Hope Street Group. November 23, 2009.  Working from the premise that teacher evaluations are a meaningful part of ensuring that all students have access to a high-quality education, Hope Street Group’s policy team developed the following recommendations and principles for teacher evaluations:

    13. United States.   Effective Teachers, High Achievers:Investing in a Teaching Profession.  The Forum for Education and Democracy.  November 23, 2009.  Report giving recommendations to "restore the focus of education reform to its rightful bull’s-eye — on learning, and the core conditions that best support it. We must invest in the creation of a long-term teaching profession, not a short-term teaching force. And we must ensure a fair and equitable distribution of resources for education in all communities."

    14. United States.  The Great White Whale of Teacher Quality.  Eduflak. November 23, 2009.  By Patrick Riccards. Analysis of the Hope Street Group report (focusing on results) and the Forum reports (focusing on inputs).

    15. United States.    Tax revenue down in at least 44 states.  By Staff Reports. Tax collections declined in the third quarter in the 44 states for which early data are available, according to a report released today (Nov. 23) by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government.  States collected 10.7 percent less in tax revenue in the July-September period than during the same three months a year ago, according to the report, which predicted that tax collections in the final three months of the year “will continue to be weak.”

    Rockefeller Report:

    16. New York.  Strike Looms at CUNY.  Inside HigherEd. November 23, 2009. Barring a major breakthrough with management, a union representing staff members at the City University of New York Research Foundation is likely to strike Tuesday for the first time in its more than 30-year history, negotiators say. The foundation, a nonprofit organization that manages sponsored research at CUNY, has spent more than a year engaged in intense negotiations over salary and health care benefits with the Professional Staff Congress, a union affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers and the American Association of University Professors, among other labor groups.

    Iowa.  Des Moines Register features on Teacher Evaluation:

    17. Iowa.   Proposed education reforms spark new dissent.  Des Moines Register. November 21, 2009. By STACI HUPP. A new push to tie teacher evaluations to student test scores in Iowa received high marks from some school leaders Friday, if not from teachers. "There's a whole bunch of us in administration who won't mind seeing that be part of the equation," Carlisle Superintendent Tom Lane said. "When I get evaluated, my board looks at what we are doing with student achievement." Leaders of the state's largest teachers union say their position hinges on how test scores figure into evaluations, something that has yet to be determined.

    17a. Q&A with Kate Walsh, NCTQ. Let's make sure we employ good teachers.  Des Moines Register. November 22, 2009. Q. Should all states require that teacher evaluations be based in part on progress in student achievement? A. Yes. But the "in part" of that sentence is where it gets difficult. There's no question that standardized tests serve as an important indicator of student progress. They tell us if a child can read and if he or she is mathematically literate. Those are important! However, there are legitimate gripes about these tests being used as the sole indicator of a teacher's value. And I will concede that until these tests align better with the particular curriculum that teachers have to deliver, teachers' concern that the tests can be misinterpreted or ill-used is somewhat legitimate.

    17b. Opinion: Protect students instead of teachers.  Des Moines Register. November 22, 2009. By LINDA LANTOR FANDEL . Guess how many Iowa teachers have lost their state license for being an ineffective instructor? Not for misconduct of some sort, but simply because kids aren't learning. Not one apparently. At least it's so rare that George Maurer, executive director of the state board with the power to revoke teacher licenses, knows of no such cases.

    17c. Editorial.  Use student achievement to measure teachers.  Des Moines Register. November 22, 2009. When West Des Moines teachers are evaluated, their students' progress on standardized tests doesn't affect their ratings. It may be part of the conversation, but that's about it. "It's not something commonly done in Iowa," said Superintendent Tom Narak. But the Iowa Legislature should require it. Today's students have to be able to compete in a global economy. The role of teachers in the 21st century matters more than ever before. Schools should identify those who improve student achievement, and those who don't.

    18. California.   Despite state subsidies, class sizes begin to rise again in California schools. Center for Investigative Reporting. November 19, 2009. BY LOUIS FREEDBERG, HUGO CABRERA   |   CALIFORNIA WATCH. Most of California's largest school districts are increasing class sizes in kindergarten through third grade, eroding the most expensive education reform in the state’s history.

California Watch surveyed the 30 largest K-12 school districts in the state and found that many schools are pushing class sizes to 24 in some or all of the early grades. Other districts have raised class sizes to 30 students – reverting to levels not seen in more than a decade. The changes at more than two-thirds of the districts surveyed have parents and teachers concerned that the academic performance of millions of children will suffer. California already ranks 48th in the nation in terms of student to teacher ratios.

  • 20 Nov 2009 1:43 PM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    1. Pennsylvania.  Teachers following contract work rules. The Intelligencer. November 20, 2009. By: HILARY BENTMAN. Hatboro-Horsham students may have trouble getting a teacher to write a letter of recommendation, may find their annual Powder Puff game in jeopardy, and may be stuck with mom and dad as chaperones at school events. Teachers in the Montgomery County district have started working to the letter of their contract, and not going above and beyond what's required. It's called work-to-rule, and is the latest development in the ongoing contract impasse between the Hatboro-Horsham school board and the teachers union.

    2. Tennessee.   Dollars and Sense: What a Tennessee experiment tells us about merit pay. Education Next. November 20, 2009. By THOMAS S. DEE and BENJAMIN J. KEYS.  Though the dramatic effects that teachers have on student achievement are indisputable, the exact ingredients of effective teaching are anything but settled. Questions about how to value experience, education, certification, and pedagogical skills–the big four of teacher inputs–have created one of the most highly contentious fields of inquiry in education, particularly since they have clear implications for the design of teacher compensation systems.

    3. California.   A Crown Jewel of Education Struggles With Cuts.  NY Times. November 20, 2009. By TAMAR LEWIN. BERKELEY, Calif. — As the University of California struggles to absorb its sharpest drop in state financing since the Great Depression, every professor, administrator and clerical worker has been put on furlough amounting to an average pay cut of 8 percent. In chemistry laboratories that have produced Nobel Prize-winning research, wastebaskets are stuffed to the brim on the new reduced cleaning schedule. Many students are frozen out of required classes as course sections are trimmed. And on Thursday, to top it all off, the Board of Regents voted to increase undergraduate fees — the equivalent of tuition — by 32 percent next fall, to more than $10,000. The university will cost about three times as much as it did a decade ago, and what was once an educational bargain will be one of the nation’s higher-priced public universities.

    4. United States.   Gates Foundation gives $335 million to raise teacher effectiveness.  The Washington Post. November 20, 2009. By Nick Anderson. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced Thursday a $335 million investment in teacher effectiveness, funding experiments in tenure, evaluation, compensation, training and mentoring in three large school systems and a cluster of charter schools. . . Hillsborough County schools, in the Tampa area, will receive $100 million; Memphis schools, $90 million; Pittsburgh schools, $40 million; and five charter networks in Los Angeles (Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools, Aspire Public Schools, Green Dot Public Schools, Inner City Education Foundation and Partnerships to Uplift Communities Schools), $60 million.

    5. Connecticut.  Faculty Unionize at UConn Health Center.  Inside HigherEd. November 20, 2009. Medical faculty members at the University of Connecticut Health Center have voted to unionize and to be represented by the American Association of University Professors. According to the AAUP, this is the first time that the faculty at a free-standing medical school will have collective bargaining.

    6. United States.  Recession Still Causing Trouble for States. Center on budget & Policy Priorities. November 19, 2009. The weak economy continues to cause great fiscal distress among states. New budget gaps have opened up in many states for the current fiscal year (July 1 marked the start of 2010 for most states). The budget gaps for this year and next year combined are estimated to total more than $350 billion.

    7. United States.  Report Highlights Characteristics of Colleges With High Transfer-Success Rates.  Chronicle of Hgher Ed. November 19, 2009. By Jennifer Gonzalez. Washington. A new report by the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education may provide clues on how best to shepherd students from two-year to four-year institutions. The findings come at a time when the Obama administration has put out a clarion call to community colleges to educate an additional five million students by 2020, as part of his broader goal of increasing the proportion of Americans who are college graduates.

    Pell Report:

    8. United States.   Americans seem angry a lot, but it's all in the management.  USA Today.  November 19, 2009. By Sharon Jayson. Are we bad for getting mad? Psychologists say it's normal to get angry. We all do it – and we need to feel anger. It's a basic human emotion, they say. More and more, though, we see people losing their cool in public. And the kind of outbursts seen at town hall meetings on health care reform, on tennis courts, on the Internet and even during speeches by the president are increasingly a part of everyday life. "There is very little, if any, social consequence to turning on the flames," says Art Markman, a psychology professor at the University of Texas-Austin, who has written about the anonymity of the Internet making people feel freer to express anger.

    9. Florida.  Hundreds Protest for Broward Teacher Raises.  Chicago Tribune. November 18, 2009.  By Kathy Bushouse, Sun Sentinel
    FORT LAUDERDALE - Come January, Denise Elbaum will pay another $200 a month for health insurance for her two daughters.
    Like many teachers and Broward School District employees, the divorced mother has been hit with a 46-percent increase for dependent health care coverage through Vista Healthplan. Going without insurance isn't an option, she said, as one of her daughter has special medical needs. She joined hundreds of other teachers, district employees and Broward Teachers Union officials Tuesday evening on the sidewalks in front of the Broward School District headquarters, demanding higher pay and lower health insurance costs.,0,2890331.story?track=rss-topicgallery

    10. United States.   Union and District Partnerships to Expand Learning Time: Three Schools’ Experiences.  Center for American Progress. November 18, 2009. By Melissa Lazarín and Isabel Owen. This report examines the challenges and successes of implementing expanded learning time in a traditional public school environment. It highlights the role of teachers and teachers unions in negotiating an expanded schedule and reviews relevant literature on teacher time and collective bargaining. It also takes a look at Massachusetts’s experience with expanding learning time. The state has funded expanded learning time in 26 schools since 2005, and much can be learned from its experience.

    11. Massachuetts.   Union blocks teacher bonuses.  Boston Herald. November 18, 2009. By Edward Mason. Grinchlike union bosses are blocking at least 200 of Boston’s best teachers from pocketing bonuses for their classroom heroics in a puzzling move that gets a failing grade from education experts. The Boston Teachers Union staunchly opposes a performance bonus plan for top teachers - launched at the John D. O’Bryant School in 2008 and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates and Exxon Mobil foundations - insisting the dough be divvied up among all of a school’s teachers, good and bad

    12. United States.  Prospect of Health-Plan Tax Draws Union Opposition.  Education Week. November 18, 2009. By Alyson Klein. The national teachers’ unions are nervously eyeing a provision in a Senate version of the health-care overhaul now working its way through Congress that they say could ultimately squeeze medical benefits for educators. The language would tax insurance companies and plan administrators that offer what the measure defines as high-cost health coverage—often referred to as “Cadillac” or “gold-plated” plans—to help pay for the broader effort to expand access to health insurance while better controlling costs.

    13. Illinois.   Illinois, Grad Teaching Assistants Reach Tentative Deal.  Inside Higher Ed. November 18, 2009. Graduate teaching assistants at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign reached a tentative contract agreement with the university Tuesday, and both parties now say the accord protects tuition waivers.
    13a. Illinois.    Strike Begins at Illinois.  Inside HigherEd. November 17, 2009. As graduate teaching assistants formed picket lines on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus Monday, administrators tried to assuage concerns that the university is maneuvering to end tuition waivers. The Graduate Employees Organization (GEO), a union affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, commenced a strike Monday after contract negotiations broke down over a single issue. The GEO, which represents about 2,700 student employees, agreed to strike when administrators rejected a demand for more robust protections of tuition waivers. The university put forward its own language on the issue, but GEO leaders said it fell short of ensuring that waivers for out of state students would be retained.

    See also #20 below.

    14. Michigan.    A new DPS in the making.  Detroit Free Press. November 16, 2009.  BY CHASTITY PRATT DAWSEY. Teachers in Detroit Public Schools soon may help weed out inept colleagues and some failing schools may extend hours to give them more time to improve. These kinds of reforms -- that stir public debate and once led to a DPS strike -- now are being embraced as part of a new 2-year labor agreement. With the contract set to expire Saturday, the Detroit Federation of Teachers and DPS labor negotiators together are hashing out a buffet of changes in the way teachers do their jobs -- in a stark contrast to past labor talks. Both sides agree on ideas such as peer evaluations, shared decision-making and incentive pay. It's a turnabout from 1992, when the union went on strike over some of these very issues. Teachers plan to vote on what could be a 2-year contract at a time when the district has a 58% graduation rate and has lost half of its enrollment in the past decade.

    15. California.  L.A. mayor and teachers union to compete for control of Jefferson High. LA Times. November 16, 2009. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the teachers union will compete for control of Jefferson High School under one of the nation’s most closely watched school-improvement initiatives. Today marks the first key deadline — the final day for groups inside or outside the Los Angeles Unified School District to turn in “letters of intent” for reform plans. Up for grabs are 12 struggling existing schools and 18 campuses that are scheduled to open next fall. The joust over Jefferson, located in the Central Alameda neighborhood south of downtown Los Angeles, was both revealed and underscored by dueling news conferences this morning.

    16. Hawaii.  Hawaii governor proposes plan to end controversial teacher furloughs, school-year reductions.  The Washington Examiner. November 16, 2009. By The Associated Press. HONOLULU — Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle proposed a plan Sunday to end the state's hotly disputed teacher furloughs starting in January, using a rainy day budget fund and converting planning days for teachers into regular classroom time to cancel a 10 percent reduction in school days. Lingle unveiled her plan at a news conference at the Capitol, saying it would restore 27 school days that were to be lost to Friday furloughs between January 2010 and June 2011. Seven furlough days set for 2009 would remain in place.

    17. United States.  Education Department to Demand School Pay Data.  Education Week. November 16, 2009. By Stephen Sawchuk. U.S. Department of Education officials plan to require districts receiving economic-stimulus aid to report school-level salaries—a sign, observers say, that the Obama administration might seek key changes to district accounting procedures for federal Title I funds. . . Because a majority of districts’ costs are tied up in salaries, the data have implications for the way teachers of different levels of pay and experience are distributed across districts.

    18. U.S./Canada.    The Part-Time Impact.  Inside HigherEd. November 16, 2009. It is well known that part-time community college students are significantly less likely to graduate than their full-time peers, but a new report suggests that the part-time status of some of the faculty teaching them may heighten their risk of dropping out. While the report and its lead author stress that this should not be viewed as the fault of the adjuncts, some leaders of organizations for non-tenure-track faculty said that they were concerned about the way the study frames the issue. Monday, the latest Community College Survey of Student Engagement was released by the Community College Leadership Program at the University of Texas at Austin. This year’s survey was administered to more than 400,000 students from 663 institutions in 48 states, 3 Canadian provinces and the Marshall Islands.

    19. Wisconsin.  Public school districts, teachers venture into a world without QEO. Fond du Lac Reporter. November 15, 2009. BY SHARON ROZNIK AND COLLEEN KOTTKE. For years, the protest cry of Wisconsin public school teachers was: "The QEO must go." Now, it's gone. For the first time in 16 years, school district leaders and teachers across the state are negotiating contracts without the "qualified economic offer." That law, repealed in June as part of the state budget, in effect capped annual teacher compensation increases at 3.8 percent in pay and benefits combined. With a downturn in the economy, the timing could not have been worse, said Paul Helm, president of the Oakfield Teacher Association. "I believe the expression 'Be careful of what you wish for' comes into play. Now that it has been repealed, we are back to the old style of negotiations. The problem being, of course, that in tough economic times, getting a better contract is much more difficult," Helm said.

    20. Illinois.    Strike at Illinois.  Inside HigherEd. By Oronte November 15, 2009. If you’re reading this Monday morning, the strike at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign has begun, and I’m out taking a look at how the picketing is going outside the buildings where I usually teach. After weeks of buildup and planning, the Graduate Employees’ Organization (GEO) at UIUC announced last Monday, November 9, that 92% of participating GEO members had voted to authorize a strike. The GEO, American Federation of Teachers/Illinois Federation of Teachers Local 6300, AFL-CIO, represents teaching assistants and graduate assistants on the UIUC campus. With 2,600 members, it claims to be “one of the largest higher education union locals in the United States.”

    21. United States.    The Changing Face of Labor, 1983-2008.  Center for Economic Policy & Research. November 2009. By John Schmitt and Kris Warner. Over the last quarter century, the unionized workforce has changed dramatically, according to this new CEPR report. In 2008, union workers reflected trends in the workforce as a whole toward a greater share of women, Latinos, Asian Pacific Americans, older, more-educated workers, and a shift out of manufacturing toward services.


    22. Colorado.   Boulder Valley teachers go full circle, reach tentative deal on contract.  The Denver Post. November 15, 2009. By The Daily Camera. After months of stalled negotiations, the Boulder Valley teachers union on Friday tentatively agreed to a contract offer that's nearly identical to one they rejected in September. The tentative agreement, which still must be voted on by the union members, would give teachers a 1 percent cost-of-living raise, full coverage of health and dental benefits, two additional paid days of work and extra stipends for some employees. One of few changes between the tentative agreement and the one rejected Sept. 18 was that the Boulder Valley School District agreed to delete a "memorandum of understanding" that would have formed a task force to look at future salary reform in the district.
    The task force, which would have developed "a plan for salary reform to recognize teachers professionally as well as for their achievements toward building and district goals," concerned the union because it appeared to be moving toward merit pay. Becky McClure, Boulder Valley's vice president for human resources, said the district still is interested in discussing different forms of compensation, but not through that specific task force.

    23. Illinois.  Teacher salary boosts at many
districts outpace private sector. Northwest Herald. November 14, 2009. By DIANA SROKA. Over the past three years, the average salaries paid to public school teachers have increased in every school district but one in the McHenry County area. Four percent. Eight percent. Sixteen percent. These are just a sampling of the increases, according to the State Board of Education. To taxpayers weathering a tumultuous economy, these numbers could be hard to swallow. . . However, few other industries, if any, offer annual step raises to employees. And amid the current recession, fewer employees in the private sector are seeing raises at all. . . McBarron said the salary schedules and contracts are telling of a community’s attitude toward schools, among other factors. . . Almost every public school teacher in the state is represented by a teachers’ union that negotiates salaries and benefits. Most of these unions or collective bargaining organizations establish salary grids that determine teachers’ pay.

    24. Florida.  Class size compliance could be tricky this school year, commissioner says.  Orlando Sentinel. November 13, 2009. By Leslie Postal. Florida school districts are worried -- make that very worried -- about complying with the state's class-size law next year,  when there will be a head count in every "core" classroom. The Central Florida Public School Boards Coalition is even drafting a "white paper" to explain to the state all its concerns. . . The class-size law comes from a constitutional amendment voters approved in 2002. It is is being phased in, with full implementation to be finished in 2010. Many school administrators and Republicans in the Florida Legislature have been working to modify the law, so far without success. But they will try again this spring.


    25. California.    L.A. Unified asks union to OK four furlough days this year.  LA Times. November 13, 2009.  By Jason Song. Los Angeles school district officials asked union members Friday to agree to four furlough days this year and a future 12% pay cut to help offset a nearly $500-million budget shortfall next year. Without the concessions, the district may have to lay off up to 8,500 employees this summer, according to a letter to employees from Supt. Ramon C. Cortines. L.A. Unified, the nation's second-largest district, faces nearly a $60-million deficit this year and a projected $480-million shortfall next year, and Cortines said he expects future reductions in state funding.,0,359774.story

    26. United States/Canada.   How Should Teachers Be Involved in Assessment? Teacher Beat. November 13, 2009. By Stephen Sawchuk. You may remember that I moonlight as Education Week 's assessment reporter in addition to covering teacher issues. Right now, I'm in Boston covering the U.S. Department of Education's first public forum on the $350 million that it'll be putting toward consortia of states that create common assessments aligned to common reading and math standards. . . A Canadian testing official, Jim Dueck, talked about how the province of Alberta has done this for a number of years. To minimize bias and scoring snafus, teachers read all of the responses blind, and the responses pass through many scorers and review levels.

    27. Quebec.  Top court strikes down Quebec English school law.  CBC World News. October 22, 2009. Brent Tyler, the lawyer who masterminded the challenge to Quebec's language law on schools, said his clients are somewhat disappointed by Thursday's ruling. (Tom Hanson/Canadian Press)Canada's top court has declared a Quebec law barring certain students from going to public English-language schools unconstitutional, a decision that has "angered" the province's government. The Supreme Court of Canada released its unanimous ruling on Bill 104 on Thursday morning, effectively throwing out two Quebec government appeals to preserve the legislation.

    28. Ontario.  Summary of the Final Proposed Accessible Information and Communications (IC) Standard-Plain Language. OPSBA August 2009.

  • 13 Nov 2009 11:37 AM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    1.  Ontario.    Strike looms over community colleges. The Toronto Star. November 13, 2009. By Louise Brown. Ontario's 200,000 community college students could face a strike in the new year if their teachers choose to protest the colleges imposing a new contract rather than hammering it out at the bargaining table. The 24 community colleges, which negotiate collectively with their teachers, announced Thursday they will exercise a new right that lets them "introduce" a new contract if talks with the Ontario Public Service Employees' Union (OPSEU) break down. Talks broke down Thursday morning and within hours Colleges Ontario announced it would introduce a new contract Nov. 18 if bargaining does not resume. The contract provides a raise of about 8 per cent over four years to the colleges' 9,000 full-time teachers, counsellors and librarians, without adding to their workload. It is the first time colleges have used this tool since receiving it in a change to legislation in 2008.

    2.  United States.    Fiscal Survey of States Preliminary Data.  National Association of State Budget Officers.  November 12, 2009.  States are currently facing one of the worst, if not the worst, fiscal periods since the Great Depression. Fiscal conditions significantly deteriorated for states during fiscal 2009, with the trend continuing through fiscal 2010 and even into 2011 and 2012. The severe national recession drastically reduced tax revenues from every revenue source during fiscal 2009 and revenue collections are forecasted to continue their decline in fiscal 2010. As state revenue collections historically lag behind any national economic recovery, state revenues will remain depressed throughout fiscal 2010 and likely into fiscal years 2011 and 2012.

    3.  United States.    Teacher shortage gives way to teacher glut.  The Washington Post. November 12, 2009. By HEATHER HOLLINGSWORTH, The Associated Press. LAWRENCE, Kan. -- When Lilli Lackey started college, talk of a growing teacher shortage gave her confidence that a job would be waiting for her when she got out.  Now, six months after graduating, she considers herself lucky just to find work as a substitute. . . Since last fall, school systems, state education agencies, technical schools and colleges have shed about 125,000 jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. . . But the nationwide demand for teachers in 60 out of 61 subjects has declined from a year earlier, according to an annual report issued this week by the American Association for Employment in Education. Only one subject - math - was listed as having an extreme shortage of teachers. In recent years, more than a dozen subjects had extreme shortages.

    4.  United States.   How Common Is Paid Sick Leave in the United States?  EBRI Fast Facts. November 12, 2009. WASHINGTON—How many workers in the United States have access to paid sick leave? Is paid sick leave mandatory? According to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), paid sick leave was available to approximately two-thirds (66 percent) of civilian workers in March 2009. This number includes workers in the private nonfarm economy (except those in private households) and workers in the public sector (except the federal government).

    5.  United States.     Golden Handcuffs:  Teachers who change jobs or move pay a high price.  Education Next. November 12, 2009. By Robert M. Costrell and Michael Podgursky. Teacher pensions consume a substantial portion of school budgets. If relatively generous pensions help attract effective teachers, the expense might be justified. But new evidence suggests that current pension systems, by concentrating benefits on teachers who spend their entire careers in a single state and penalizing mobile teachers, may exacerbate the challenge of attracting to teaching young workers, who change jobs and move more often than did previous generations.

    Unabridged report:

    See also, Teacher Retirment Benefits Even in economically tough times, costs are higher than ever. By Robert M. Costrell and Michael Podgursky:

    6.  Ontario.    New trustee abuse claims shake Catholic board.  The Toronto Star. November 12, 2009. By Kristin Rushowy. Two long-time Toronto Catholic trustees, one of them chair of the board, are facing conflict-of-interest allegations less than a year after the former chair was ousted in a similar case. Documents filed in the Superior Court of Justice by ratepayer Arnaldo Amaral accuse Angela Kennedy and Barbara Poplawski of debating and voting on budget motions – which would effectively avert staff layoffs – despite having family employed by the board, the Star has learned. The application, under the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, has yet to be dealt with in court.

    7.  United States.    After Criticism, the Administration Is Praised for Final Rules on Education Grants.  The NY Times. November 11, 2009. By SAM DILLON. Three months after provoking an outpouring of criticism with preliminary plans for the nation’s largest competitive education grant program, the Obama administration has added flexibility in the final rules, released Wednesday, drawing praise from a state governor who was initially critical and from leaders of the national teachers’ unions.But the Race to the Top program, which will reward some states undertaking bold school improvement initiatives with awards totaling $4 billion, retains politically volatile elements.

    USDOE Summary of Major Changes to RTTP:

    8.  United States.    Pew Identifies States, Like California, in Fiscal Peril.  Pew Center on the States.  November 11, 2009. Washington, DC. A report released today by the Pew Center on the States shows that some of the same pressures that have pushed California toward economic disaster are wreaking havoc in a number of other states, with potentially damaging consequences for the entire country.  Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island and Wisconsin join California as the 10 most troubled states, according to Pew’s analysis, "Beyond California: States in Fiscal Peril." . . . Close behind the 10 states on our list were states such as Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, New York and Hawaii. (The full 50-state scorecard is included in the Appendix on page 65.)

    Report: "Beyond California: States in Fiscal Peril."

    9. United States.    EBRI Databook on Employee Benefits.  November 11, 2009. The EBRI Databook on Employee Benefits was first published in 1990. The EBRI Databook on Employee Benefits is maintained on-line and updated when new data is available. The date next to each [of 60] chapter link indicates when data and/or links were last updated in that chapter. . . Topics include the retirement income system; employer-sponsored benefit plans; government programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; health insurance; and labor force and demographic trends. Tables and charts are supplemented by explanatory text to provide detailed information on the entire range of employee benefit programs and work force related issues.

    10. Utah.    Districts urged to better track teacher-union leaves.  The Salt Lake Tribune. November 11, 2009.By Lisa Schencker. Some school districts need to better track how teachers on paid association leave spend their time, according to a legislative audit released Wednesday. In Utah and other states, school districts sometimes give teachers leave from their jobs when they're elected to serve as local union leaders. And some Utah districts, such as Granite, Davis and Salt Lake pay part of those leaders' salaries, even when they're on leave from teaching, saying their work still benefits the district. Granite and Davis pay half of their association presidents' salaries and Salt Lake pays one-third, with the association paying the rest. . . "Without accountability and guidelines, districts are not fulfilling their statutory responsibilities to ensure that association leave has a direct benefit to the school district," the audit said. According to state law, districts are supposed to document paid leave and seek reimbursement for costs related to activities that do not directly benefit education in the district.

    11. United States.    Mid-Year Union Membership Data.  Workplace Prof blog. November 11, 2009.  What’s happening to union membership in 2009? The year is not complete, but labor economists Barry Hirsch (Georgia State) and David Macpherson (Trinity University), who compile union membership statistics at, provide new union membership and density estimates based on the January-September 2009 Current Population Survey (CPS) files.What they find is that membership has fallen along with employment, but overall union density so far in 2009 has remained at its 2008 level of 12.6% of all wage and salary workers. This overall stability, however, masks diverging paths in the private and public sectors.  In the shrinking private sector, union density has fallen from 7.6% in 2008 to 7.3% so far in 2009. In the public sector, where there has been little loss in employment, union membership density has increased from 36.8% in 2008 to 37.6% in 2009. . . The year 2009 should be the year in which public sector membership overtakes private membership. While in 2008 the share of public sector to total members was 48.9%, the public sector share of membership through September 2009 rose to 51.2%.

    12. New York.    Arbitrator Said to Doze During Teacher’s Hearing.  NY Times. November 11, 2009. By JENNIFER MEDINA.  The process of firing a New York City teacher on charges of incompetence could certainly be described as time consuming. Hearings take so long — hundreds of hours — and so many details are scrutinized that it might be enough to put someone to sleep. According to the city’s Education Department, one case did just that, to the arbitrator responsible for deciding the teacher’s fate. But the arbitrator and lawyers for the teachers’ union say that the arbitrator “caught himself” after simply getting drowsy for several seconds.

    13. Missouri.    No Missouri Compromise.  EIA Intercepts.  November 11, 2009.  By Mike Antonucci. Teachers in Springfield, Missouri, voted 574-404 to have a single union represent them at the bargaining table. The result is a victory for NEA, which sees exclusivity as a necessary condition, and a defeat for the independent Missouri State Teachers Association (MSTA), which argued for multiple representation. . . Early next year, Springfield teachers will vote on which of the two organizations they want as that exclusive representative, and we can expect NEA will devote both state and national resources to the campaign. . . If NEA is successful in Springfield, it will be the opening salvo in a battle to uproot and dispose of MSTA, one of the largest independent teacher organizations in the country.

    14. United States.    Fighting for Quality and Equality, Too.  Education Trust. November 11, 2009. By Craig D. Jerald, Katho Haycock and Amy Wilkins. How State Policymakers Can Ensure the Drive to Improve Teacher Quality Doesn’t Just Trickle Down to Poor and Minority Children.  This paper desribes how policymakers can: Produce better information on teacher effectiveness, and place it in the hands of those who need it; Require teacher evaluations to focus on effectiveness, and require districts to reform hiring and placement practices; Provide incentives for teachers to work in schools, and ensure equitable access to
    effective teachers.

    15. Australia.    Negotiation and the Ghost of Machiavelli.  Anthill Magazine. November 11, 2009. By Paul Ryan. Whether you prefer to be feared or loved, new research suggests that the important thing at the negotiation table is that you don’t try to be nice.However, new research reveals that, when it comes to negotiations, attempting to win the love of the other party is not the most effective strategy. . . Mara Olekalns, Melbourne Business School Professor of Management (Negotiations), found that effective negotiators convey competence - and that being nice only encourages deception and opportunistic betrayal by the other party. She also found that the most likely trigger for deception in a negotiation is when one party perceives a power imbalance and thus a chance for exploitation. Being “nice” in a negotiation is likely to be perceived by the other party as a tactic to conceal information or motive, leading to a downward spiral of suspicion and concealment by both parties. According to Olekalns, “My research shows that positive emotions increases creativity and encourages greater risk taking, and decreases the extent to which individuals scrutinise information. Deception requires creativity, risk and is assisted by the belief that the other party might be less likely to scrutinise information.”

    16. United States.    Additional Federal Fiscal Relief Needed to Help States Address Recession’s Impact. November 11, 2009.  By Iris J. Lav, Nicholas Johnson and Elizabeth McNichol. States face a serious fiscal problem that could force them to institute additional deep budget cuts and tax increases in 2010, weakening the fragile economic recovery and harming vulnerable children, seniors, and people with disabilities, among others. The federal assistance that states received for their Medicaid programs under this year’s economic recovery legislation is scheduled to end with a “cliff” on December 31, 2010, and the assistance states received for education and other services also will be largely exhausted by then. Although that date is more than a year away, the problem is coming to a head now.

    17. New Hampshire.  Retiree hike hits with thud.  The Union Leader.  November 11, 2009.  By TOM FAHEY, State House Bureau Chief.
    CONCORD – Towns, cities, school districts and the state itself could see pension costs for police, teachers and other public workers increase by an average of nearly 23 percent July 1, 2011. Consultants for the New Hampshire Retirement System yesterday recommended the rate hike. The steep increase stems from a combination of investment losses -- 18 percent for the year that ended June 30 -- and the need to catch up with a long-term funding problem that began building nearly two decades ago.

    18. United States.    Unions Push Issues in State Capitals.  The Wall Street Journal.  November 11, 2009.  By KRIS MAHER. Unions are pushing state lawmakers to pass legislation that would make organizing workers easier, as efforts to rewrite federal organizing laws remain stalled in Congress. Oregon passed the Worker Freedom Act, which prohibits companies from holding mandatory employee meetings to talk about organizing.  Oregon is the only state to pass such a law so far, but it is considered a test case, with developments closely watched by national business groups and state-level labor leaders around the country. Similar bills prohibiting mandatory workplace meetings about union organizing passed this year in the Connecticut Senate and the Michigan House, both controlled by Democrats, but stalled in each state. In Washington state, Democrats dropped efforts this year to push the Worker Privacy Act, which would ban mandatory meetings about unionization efforts, after an internal state AFL-CIO email was leaked to lawmakers, saying unions wouldn't contribute to state politicians until the bill -- the unions' top priority -- was passed. Democrats said the email raised legal and ethical questions. In Hawaii, Democratic lawmakers overrode the Republican governor's veto in August to pass a bill that enables unions to organize agriculture and public-sector workers via cards instead of elections.

    19. United States.    Gritty Teachers.  By Elena silva.  Quick and the Ed Blog. November 11th, 2009. The Journal of Positive Psychology recently put out an article called Positive Predictors of Teacher Effectiveness. In it, the authors suggest that novice teachers working in poor public schools do better if they have certain traits like grit. One of the authors of the paper, UPenn psychology professor Angela Lee Duckworth, has researched the “grit factor” quite a bit and even has a grit scale. So what is grit? Think diligence, ambition, perseverance, an affinity for hard work and high achievement, and an unwillingness to give up or fail.

    Grit Scale:

    20. United States.  The Bracey Report On the Condition of Public Education 2009.  Education and the Public Interest Center.  November 10, 2009.  by Gerald Bracey.  For 18 years, “The Bracey Report on the Condition of Public Education,” an annual review of education research and policy issues, was published by Phi Delta Kappan. In 2009, EPIC/EPRU was pleased to become its new publisher.
    Sadly, Gerald W. Bracey passed away before he finished editing what will be the final Bracey Report. We have suffered a great loss. Although he was a social scientist of considerable talent he eschewed esoteric language and instead spoke and wrote plainly.

    21. United States.  Time for School? When the snow falls, test scores also drop.  Education Next.  November 10, 2009.  By Dave E. Marcotte and Benjamin Hansen. In studies conducted in 2007 and 2008 Marcotte and Hansen found significant effects on test scores from year-to-year changes in the length of the school year due to bad weather—a “snow day” effect. The researchers compared how schools fared on state assessments in years when there were frequent cancellations due to snowfall to the performance of the very same schools in relatively mild winters. The percentage of students passing math assessments fell by about one-third to one-half a percentage point for each day school was closed.  The effect of additional instructional days was quite similar to the effect of increasing teacher quality and reducing class size.

    22. Florida.  Pinellas school district still big spender on administration costs. St. Petersburg Times.  November 10, 2009. By Ron Matus, Times Staff Writer.The Pinellas school district is no longer No. 1 when it comes to spending the most on administration. But despite a major effort to cut and reclassify costs, it still spends more per pupil on general administration than just about every other large district in Florida, according to a St. Petersburg Times analysis. According to 2008-09 expenditures, Pinellas ranked No. 2 or No. 3 among the 12 biggest districts, depending on how broadly general administration costs are defined. In 2007-08, it ranked No. 1 either way. "We've reassigned duties and changed titles and shifted things around. But we still have the same people," Pinellas School Board member Janet Clark said. "I tell you, it's a facade almost."

    23. United States.  School stimulus cash comes with some strings.  USA Today.  November 10, 2009.  WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is ready to hand out more stimulus dollars for schools, but this time, strings are attached. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said another $11.5 billion is available to states, which have already received more than $67 billion. Duncan said the administration wanted to distribute most of the money quickly to bolster state budgets that have been ravaged by the recession. Now Duncan is making it tougher to get the rest of the dollars because the administration wants states to adopt President Obama's vision of reform. States will have to fill out a far more detailed application that demands information on Obama's broad goals — tougher academic standards, better ways to recruit and keep effective teachers, a method of tracking student performance and a plan of action to turn around failing schools. For example, states will be required to identify their lowest-achieving schools by name and tell the department how, or whether, officials have tried to turn the schools around.

    Application, requirements and summary of the requirements:

    24. Connecticut.   Editorial: Less than 'courage' in New Haven. The White House's tepid version of education reform.  The Washington Post. November 10, 2009. EDUCATION Secretary Arne Duncan is a big advocate of the need for educators to set high expectations. So when he singled out the recently ratified teacher contract in New Haven, Conn., as a model for the nation, we assumed it contained bold reforms. In fact, there's little that's remarkable about the contract. We hope that's not a sign Mr. Duncan is getting timid in bringing about the real changes needed in teacher labor agreements. . . No doubt the contract, approved by an overwhelming margin, is an improvement over the previous one, but it hardly contains the innovations needed for serious reform.

    25. United States.  New Reports Challenge States to Commit to Bold Teacher-Effectiveness Reforms in “Race to the Top” Applications.
    The Education Trust and The New Teacher Project.  November 10, 2009.  The Education Trust and The New Teacher Project (TNTP) today released two reports challenging states to focus on bold reforms to increase teacher effectiveness in their applications for federal “Race to the Top” funding. Fighting for Quality and Equality, Too, by The Education Trust and How Bold is “Bold”?, by TNTP, outline strategies for ending educational inequity by building a highly effective teacher workforce. The reports include practical strategies for measuring teacher effectiveness, providing all teachers with the support they need to improve, increasing the number of effective teachers for low-income and minority children, retaining effective teachers, and removing those who are persistently ineffective. The reports come as the Department of Education prepares to issue final guidance on Race to the Top and as states begin to put together their Phase 1 applications.

    Educ. Trust: Fighting for Quality & Equity:  See #14 above.

    TNTP: How Bold is Bold?

    26. United States.    Why Unemployment Will Hit 11 Percent.  U.S. News and World Report. November 10, 2009.  By Rick Newman. Boy, are we optimistic. The economy has been losing jobs for 22 months, and it's still not clear when that gruesome trend will turn around. Yet the stock market is skyrocketing, and investors are telling themselves that stocks are a "leading indicator," so a vigorous recovery must be right around the corner. . . So as jarring as it is to have a 10.2 percent unemployment rate—the worst since 1983—it's almost certain to get worse. "There is scant evidence that the unemployment rate is set to stabilize," Ryan Sweet of Moody's wrote in a recent analysis. Even when companies do start hiring, the unemployment rate will probably keep going up, perpetuating a sense of gloom and threatening an actual recovery. That's because many unemployed people are so disconsolate that they've stopped looking for work, so they're not counted in the labor force, which is used to calculate the unemployment rate. Once companies do start hiring, many of those folks will start looking for work again, which will expand the labor force and increase the proportion who are still on the sidelines.

    27. Alberta.    Teachers' raise goes to arbitration.  CBC News. November 9, 2009. A pay dispute between Alberta's teachers and the provincial government will go to arbitration in January, the Alberta Teachers' Association said Monday. A one per cent hike in teachers' pay based on a Statistics Canada index is to be considered by an arbitrator. (CBC)"We both agreed that this would be expedited," said Carol Henderson, president of the ATA. "That's part of the agreement." The dispute centres on pay raises in the teachers' five-year contract that are tied to the national average earnings index.

    28. Ontario.   Make surplus schools resource centres, advocate says.  The Toronto Star.  November 9, 2009. By THE CANADIAN PRESS. An education advocacy group says some of the 172 Ontario schools it says are threatened with closure should be turned into child and family resource centres. Annie Kidder of People for Education says with a new funding model, those schools and the additional 163 under review can play a vital new role in communities. Nervous parents are already beginning to organize against the possible closures of their neighbourhood schools. The number of new students enrolling in Ontario's elementary schools has dropped by 15 per cent in since 1997-98 and by 14 per cent in secondary schools since 2002

    29. United States.  Which states are innovative in education? A new report card.  Christian Science Monitor.  November 9, 2009. By Amanda Paulson. If states truly want to improve their education systems, they need to do away with the rules, regulations, and bureaucracies that stymie innovation. That's one message from a new report that measures states on how well they foster education innovation, grading them in areas ranging from finance and school management to how well they hire effective teachers and remove ineffective ones. . . The report, "Leaders and Laggards," has an unusual consortium of authors: the liberal Center for American Progress, Frederick Hess of the conservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI), and the US Chamber of Commerce – a bipartisan mix that the authors hope highlights just how much agreement can be found despite the fervent political battles that often surround education debate.

    See also:   Leaders and Laggards: A State-by-State Report Card on Educational Innovation. By the Center for American Progress, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Frederick M. Hess of the American Enterprise Institute.

    30. Washington, DC.   Ratings have little to do with teaching.  Washington Post. November 9, 2009. By Jay Mathews. Those unfortunate people in the District might worry about the quality of their teachers and wait anxiously for the results of the school system's controversial new evaluation of classroom techniques and test score improvement. But those of us in the Washington area suburbs don't have to worry because we already know that close to 100 percent of our teachers are entirely satisfactory. How? Our school districts say so. . . Alexandria, 99 percent; Calvert, 99.8 percent; Charles, 98.4 percent; Culpeper, 97 percent; Fairfax, 99.1 percent; Falls Church, 99.55 percent; Loudoun, 99 percent; Montgomery, 95 percent; Prince George's, 95.56 percent; and Prince William, 98.3 percent.

    31. Michigan.  What a Teacher Pay Freeze Really Means.  Mackinac Institute. By Mr. Michael D. Van Beek. Nov. 9, 2009. Facing reductions in state support, Michigan school districts must make difficult decisions concerning their budgets. Many districts are looking to limit raises for teachers or freeze their salaries altogether. But salary freezes for teachers are sometimes not salary freezes at all — which is one good reason to reconsider teacher compensation. . . Nearly all collective bargaining agreements contain a "single salary schedule" for teacher compensation. This schedule builds in "steps" for automatic pay raises for all teachers based on their years of experience and earned graduate degrees or academic credits. Essentially, this means that teachers would receive a pay increase for every year they remain employed by the district, regardless of their students' performance, the district's financial situation, or the conditions of the state's economy.

    32. Illinois.  School districts' salary gaps don't always affect test scores.  Chicago Tribune.  November 9, 2009. By Tara Malone and Darnell Little. Teachers at the highest-paying grade school district in the Chicago area make twice as much as their colleagues at the local elementary school paying the lowest wages, according to the 2009 Illinois School Report Card. . . But other factors also determine paychecks: a teacher's education level and years of classroom experience, the cost of living and the type of school district where a teacher works. High school districts traditionally pay more than elementary districts, and traditional public schools tend to pay more than charter schools. School districts that can afford the most tend to have their pick of teachers. What's more, whether because of the top salaries or other perks -- such as time to plan lessons, rigorous course offerings or small class sizes -- the highest-paying districts tend to keep their teachers. They in turn cost more because salary schedules typically reward experience and advanced degrees. . . Parental background and teacher quality tend to be the best predictors of how students fare in the classroom, said Mike Griffith, a senior policy analyst with the Education Commission of the States. The size of a paycheck doesn't necessarily translate to quality when so much depends on intangibles like how a teacher connects with kids or motivates families to get involved, Griffith said.,0,1639857.story

    33.  Illinois.    School districts retooling how they evaluate teachers. Student performance increasingly a factor in deciding teachers' fates.  Chicago Tribune. November 9, 2009. By John Keilman. Teachers in Evanston- Skokie School District 65 used to be judged on what they did in the classroom. Now their evaluations -- and their pay -- will also depend on what their students do. The district has begun tracking the test scores of students, classroom by classroom, trying to figure out whether they achieve sufficient progress. If they don't, teachers could see their raises jeopardized. It's a radical step for a school district, one that no other system in Illinois appears to have taken. But with the Obama administration pushing the concept, many education professionals -- even those critical of the practice -- say data-driven teacher evaluations look like an unstoppable trend.,0,3930138.story

    34. Maryland.  Maryland Panel Divided on Unions for TA's and Adjuncts.  Inside HigherEd.  November 9, 2009. A special panel created by Maryland's General Assembly has failed to reach consensus on how to improve the treatment of graduate teaching assistants and adjuncts. The panel issued its report last week, finding evidence of economic difficulties facing both groups, and recommending that both groups receive more money (when economic conditions improve) and better working conditions. But the panel was divided on the question of whether these groups can best be helped through collective bargaining or through the shared governance process of higher education.

    35. New Jersey.  N.J. unions worry Christie will keep promises when he takes office.  The Star-Ledger. November 8, 2009. By Lisa Fleisher/Statehouse Bureau. Gov.-elect Chris Christie ran as no pushover to organized labor — pledging to be an "adversary" to unions and publicly fending off chances for endorsements. And labor did everything it could to keep the Republican out of the governor’s office, deploying thousands of volunteers to knock on doors and work phone banks in hopes of re-electing outgoing Gov. Jon Corzine, widely viewed as a champion of labor. . . Christie said the New Jersey Education Association, which spent millions on ads against him, proved to be less effective than union leaders hoped, though he said the foes of his brand of education reform — which includes school vouchers — are "significant and powerful." "Change will come," he said. "What form that change will take is going to be a product of how well we make our case." NJEA spokesman Steven Baker said it was too soon to judge Christie.

    36. British Columbia.    Schools seek relief from HST.  Vancouver Sun. November 8, 2009. By Janet Steffenhagen. B.C. school officials are asking for a partial rebate of the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), saying it will be a significant drain on school district budgets otherwise. In a letter to Finance Minister Colin Hansen, the B.C. Association of School Business Officials say a rebate of 68 per cent would ensure the HST creates no additional costs for school districts when it takes effect in July 2010. Without a rebate, the added annual HST cost provincewide would be $24 million for operating budgets and $14.7 million for capital budgets, says the letter signed by association president David Green.

    I37. llinois.  Will a longer school day help close the achievement gap?  Christian Science Monitor. November 1, 2009. By Amanda Paulson. Chicago - Going to school from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. may sound like a student's nightmare, but Sydney Shaw, a seventh-grader at the Alain Locke Charter Academy on Chicago's West Side, has come to like it – as well as the extra 20 or so days that she's in class a year. . . If you want to look at schools where [the achievement gap is narrowing], they're saying they couldn't do it without the added time," says Jennifer Davis of the National Center on Time & Learning in Boston. "Even when you get good teachers into schools, you need added time."  According to studies, low-income students lose more than two months of reading skills over the summer. One conclusion from the studies: More than half the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income students can be accounted for by the differential in summer learning opportunities. . . Some skeptics say that while extended learning time sounds great, adding hours and days to the school year can be hugely expensive. By itself, they say, it will accomplish little: If the school is already falling short, more time there won't help anyone. "It's not a turnaround strategy," says Elena Silva, a senior policy analyst at Education Sector, an independent think tank. "If you extend time in schools that ... lack good teachers and lack good curriculum ... that's the worst thing you could do."

    38. United States.    Public Elementary and Secondary School Student Enrollment and Staff Counts From the Common Core of Data: School Year 2007–08.  USDOE  November 2009. Highlights:  In school year 2007–08, public elementary and secondary schools and local education agencies employed a total of 6.2 million FTE staff . Of the FTE staff in the 2007–08 school year, 51.1 percent were teachers, 15.3 percent were instructional aides, instructional coordinators and supervisors, guidance counselors, or librarians, and 23.1 percent were student and other support staff. About 3.5 percent were school or district administrators and 7.0 percent were administrative support staff (derived from table 3). The student/teacher ratio in public schools in school year 2007–08 was 15.5 (i.e., there were about 16 students for every FTE teacher employed) (table 4). The ratio ranged from a high of 23.7 in Utah to a low of 10.7 in Vermont. The elementary student/teacher ratio was 20.1, while the secondary student/teacher ratio was 11.9.

  • 06 Nov 2009 12:04 PM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    1.  United States.   U.S. unemployment rate tops 10%.  Chicago Tribune. November 6, 2009. WASHINGTON - The nation's unemployment rate surged to 10.2 percent in October, reaching double digits for the first time in 26 years, the Labor Department reported today. The unexpected sharp increase, from 9.8 percent in September, came as employers dropped 190,000 workers from their payrolls last month. That was larger than the 175,000 job losses that most forecasters were expecting for the month, and it underscored just how dire the labor market remains despite the recent upturn in the nation's economic output.,0,3830224.story

    BLS Report:

    2.  Michigan.    Classroom spending pays off for schools. Mich. budget crunch puts spotlight on learning.  The Detroit Free Press. November 6, 2009. BY PEGGY WALSH-SARNECKI. Schools in Wyandotte, Grosse Pointe, Troy, Garden City and Trenton differ in enrollment and demographics. But they have this in common: Their district leaders have put a priority on spending money in the classroom -- on teachers, aides and librarians, for instance -- at the expense of administrative costs. . . The payoff? Higher scores on the ACT college entrance and placement exam that students took last spring.  The analysis also shows that districts with the highest numbers of students in poverty spend far less in the classroom.

    3.  Ontario.    Ontario trails in education spending: study.  Toronto Star. November 5, 2009.  By Kristin Rushowy. Ontario ranks near the bottom in education spending per student compared to other provinces and most U.S. states, says a study being released Thursday by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.  And school boards have been raising an "astonishing" $538 million a year – or 3 per cent of their operating costs – through fundraising to help fill in the gap, says the study by economist and research associate Hugh Mackenzie.

    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Study:

    4.  United States.    ABA Labor & Employment Law 3rd Annual CLE Conference Materials.  November 4-7, 2009.  Washington, DC.  The confrence materials are available for download for free using this link:

    5.  United States.    Report: 11 states emerging from recession. November 5, 2009. By David Harrison. As the national economy starts its slow recovery, 11 states and the District of Columbia are showing signs of emerging from the recession, according to a new report.  Alaska, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Washington, D.C., are in recovery, according to Moody’s, an economic forecasting firm. . . Despite these signs that suggest the recession might be easing, most states’ recovery will lag. . . So it’s not uncommon for high unemployment rates to linger even as the economy recovers.  And the end of the federal stimulus program could make things worse, he said. Most states have dumped billions of federal stimulus dollars into shoring up gaping shortfalls in their 2009 and 2010 budgets, but their recovery could backslide when almost all of the federal money is gone at the end of 2010.

    6.  United States.    Supporting Teacher Talent: The View From Generation Y.  Public Agenda. November 5, 2009.  By Jane G. Coggshall, Ph.D., Amber Ott, Ellen Behrstock, and Molly Lasagna. New York, NY—A new study released today paints a national picture of Generation Y teachers revealing an openness to incentive pay. Seventy-one percent of Gen Y teachers are open to rewarding teachers based on incentive pay, whereas only 10 percent of Gen Y teachers think that student performance on standardized tests is an “excellent” measure of teacher success. The nationwide study, Supporting Teacher Talent: The View from Generation Y, from Public Agenda, a nonprofit research organization, and Learning Point Associates, a nonprofit education research and consulting organization, offers a comprehensive and nuanced look at the question of whether different generations bring different aspirations, concerns, and perspectives to teaching.

    Powerpoint Presentation of study results:

    7.  Massachuetts.   Tiverton teachers pitch cost savings ideas.  Herald News. November 4, 2009. By Derek Vital. TIVERTON —Teachers in the district have proposed eliminating after-school activities and cutting administrator positions at the elementary and middle schools in response to budget cuts in the school department. Teachers were asked to brainstorm for ideas on how to save money after the proposed school department budget was slashed by $624,000 at last spring's Financial Town Meeting. Amy Mullen, president of the National Education Association/Tiverton teachers union, said tteachers felt it was important to share their cost-savingd ideas with the School Committee and Superintendent William Rearick. Mullen stressed the suggestions are informal and haven't been approved by union members or their negotiating committee.

    8.  Texas.   Study: Texas' teacher merit pay program hasn't boosted student performance.  Dallas Morning News. November 4, 2009
    By TERRENCE STUTZ / The Dallas Morning News. AUSTIN – For the $300 million spent on merit pay for teachers over the last three years, Texas was hoping for a big boost in student achievement. But it didn't happen with the now-defunct program, according to experts hired by the state. The Texas Educator Excellence Grant, or TEEG, plan did not produce the academic improvements that proponents – including Gov. Rick Perry – hoped for when the program was launched with much fanfare in 2006, a new report from the National Center on Performance Incentives said.

    9. Saskatchewan.    Southern Saskatchewan school boards see changes.  Leader-Post.  November 3, 2009. By Joe Couture.   REGINA — The composition of school boards in southern Saskatchewan changed with last week’s elections, the first regularly scheduled votes since divisions were amalgamated more than four years ago. One priority, say board members, will be dealing with another overarching structural change — the still-being-ironed-out system introduced by the province this year that sees education tax rates no longer being set by boards. New boards will officially take over responsibilities and choose chairs and vice-chairs over the next couple weeks.

    10.  United States.    Obama coaxes states to change with school dollars.  Seattle Times.  November 3, 2009. By LIBBY QUAID, AP Education Writer. WASHINGTON — One year after his election, President Barack Obama is coaxing states across the country to rewrite education laws and cut deals with unions as they pursue his vision for school reform. . . Wisconsin lawmakers planned to vote Thursday to lift a ban on using student test scores to judge teachers. That helps clear the way for an Obama priority, teacher pay tied to student performance. California lifted a similar ban last month. And before that, charter school restrictions or budget cuts were eased in eight states - Louisiana, Illinois, Tennessee, Delaware, Indiana, Ohio, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

    11.  New York.    Union nixes $800G bond as school aides face the ax.  NY Daily News. November 3, 2009. BY Meredith Kolodner
    More than 500 school aides targeted by the city for layoffs could lose their jobs after the union decided not to post a court-ordered bond of nearly $800,000. . . The union sued the city after it gave pink slips to 530 school aides, who make an average of $20,000 a year, charging poor schools were being disproportionately hit. . . The union initially said it was pleased with the court ruling, which let the aides keep their jobs while the case was pending. The bond was to be posted in case the city won. Union officials said they were concerned that paying the bond would set a damaging legal precedent.

    12.  United States.    SMHC Issues Urgent Report on Talent in Education.  SMHC-CPRE. November 3, 2009 by arodden. Today, SMHC released a call to action outlining the dramatic steps necessary to improve teacher and principal talent. Taking Human Capital Seriously: Talented Teachers in Every Classroom, Talented Principals in Every School comes in response to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s August challenge, in which he called upon SMHC to advance bold ideas for major reforms. This report offers 20 policy recommendations for state and district actions to improve student achievement by recruiting, developing, evaluating, compensating and retaining more effective teachers and principals. The report is available in the resources section of the SMHC Web site at

    See also: AFT Slams 'Top Down' Report on Effective Teachers.  Teacher Beat. November 3, 2009.  by Stphen Sawchuk. The Strategic Management of Human Capital initiative released a report today outlining new strategies for attracting, developing, and maintaining an effective teacher workforce, and in doing so, has managed to really tick off Randi Weingarten and the American Federation of Teachers.

    13.  United States.   Budget 'fixes' run into trouble. By Staff Reports.  November 2, 2009. Unlike the federal government, almost every state is required by law to balance its budget. But that doesn’t mean state lawmakers always balance the books in the most straightforward of ways: by matching revenues with spending. The New York Times on Sunday (Nov. 1) spotlighted an emerging problem in states’ fiscal 2010 budgets. California lawmakers, the paper reported, are “facing the implosion of expected cost savings, as lawsuits and other factors have reduced or eliminated savings that were figured into the budget passed in July.” For example, court challenges have prevented California from transferring transportation money into the general fund and making cuts to social service programs. As a result, billions of dollars in new shortfalls already are on the horizon.

    14. Wisconsin.    Wis. teachers couldn't be fired over test scores.  Wisconsin State Journal. November 2, 2009. By SCOTT BAUER. Wisconsin schools could use student test scores to evaluate teachers, but they still couldn't use the information to discipline or fire them under a bill moving quickly through the Legislature. Lawmakers must remove a ban on using test scores in evaluations for Wisconsin to compete for about $4.5 billion in Race to the Top stimulus money for education. Race to the Top is intended to improve student achievement, boost the performance of minority students and raise graduation rates. Republicans and the Wisconsin Association of School Boards say Doyle and Democrats who control the Legislature are still giving teachers too much deference even as they work to qualify the state for the program.

    15. United States.    Perils of rating teachers--Part one, the District.  The Washington Post. November 1, 2009.  By Jay Mathews. In the last half of the 19th century, many inventors pursued the dream of building an airplane. Duds and crashes were frequent and skeptics numerous. Only a decade before the Wright brothers’ 1903 flight, British physicist and engineer Lord Kelvin had declared that “heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.” American educators are similarly scrambling to create a teacher evaluation system that will raise the level of instruction and student achievement in the same reliable way that modern jetliners take us home for Thanksgiving. They have not been very successful. Many smart teachers have concluded the idea is a loser. They are artists, they say, whose work cannot be reduced to numbers for placement, pay and promotion. Still, many people are trying to be teacher assessment’s answer to Wilbur and Orville Wright. Take, for instance, D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee and a team of educators led by Jason Kamras, the 2005 national teacher of the year. You can find their IMPACT plan, the result of input from more than 500 D.C. educators, by clicking on the “Teaching and Learning” tab|

    16.  Oregon.    Financial play with state pensions may force staff and service cuts in years ahead.  Statesman Journal. November 1, 2009. By Mackenzie Ryan. A financial investment that has helped fill gaps in pension funding since 2002 quickly turned sour with the stock market's misfortunes last year, losing $1.9 billion for nearly 140 government agencies in the state, according to a Statesman Journal analysis. The investment strategy called for selling bonds and investing the proceeds. It was backed by the financial companies that stood to profit from the investment move. For several years, the strategy worked, making money and saving agencies millions. This year, the state of Oregon might save $80 million, and Salem-Keizer School District might save $10.6 million. But the controversial strategy also created a more volatile pension system, in which an agency's pension costs are much smaller after good economic times and much larger after tight economic times. That financial gamble might force school districts, cities and counties to consider layoffs or service cuts in 2011, when pension contribution rates reset. That amount will reflect 2008-09 investment returns, including 27 percent losses in 2008. It's a classic story of risk and reward:

    17.  Rhode Island.    Julia Steiny: Ending hiring of teachers by seniority will help students.  Providence Journal.  November 1, 2009.  Bliss. For me this is a moment of education nirvana. Henceforth in Rhode Island, an available teaching job will always be an opportunity for a school community to find the best possible person to meet the needs of their kids. This is exciting. On Oct. 20, Education Commissioner Deborah Gist sent a letter to the superintendents giving them a heads-up that as of July 1, 2010, when Rhode Island’s new Basic Education Plan (BEP) becomes law, schools may no longer rely on seniority as the criterion for hiring. She wants them to be sure that by next July, the districts will have ironed seniority out of the labor contracts as the sole or principal criterion by which a teacher is chosen for a job.


    18. Wisconsin.    Will reforming teacher salaries bring mile high results? Milwaukie Journal-Sentinel.  October 31, 2009.  By Alan J. Borsuk.  Denver is to reform in the way teachers are paid what Milwaukee is to private school vouchers: It's the place that's broken a lot of new ground and been a magnet for national attention. With the likelihood that the Wisconsin Legislature will take important steps in the next few weeks that will substantially increase the prospects for changing the classic system for teacher salaries, here's some advice for Wisconsin from Brad Jupp, a central architect of the Denver system: "The most important thing to do is not to be so cautious that you don't move forward," Jupp said. "Breaking the barrier doesn't kill you." Nationwide for almost a century, salaries of teachers have been set almost entirely by how many years a person has taught and whether the person has a master's degree or certain amounts of college credits beyond a bachelor's degree. Research has pretty firmly established that there is little, if any, correlation between teaching quality and those traditional measurements.

    19. New York.    The Teachers’ Contract Up Close.  The NT Times. October 29, 2009.  By Alison Leigh Cowan.  Think textbooks are long and dense? Try reading the 165-page contract that spells out the pay and perks for New York City’s 79,000 public school teachers. At the moment, it is a document of some interest for teachers, their union and city officials since it expires on Saturday, just as the mayor’s race crawls to a finish. Does the “education mayor” really need teachers screaming for his head as voters go to the polls? . . . As a document, available here, the union contract is long on boilerplate and speckled with anachronism. (Schools must have pay phones per the contract.) But studded here and there are the kind of nuggets that illuminate the internal workings of the school system.


  • 31 Oct 2009 1:40 PM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    The latest Presient's Message is available here.

    Individual and Institutional members of NAEN can access the entire November/December 2009 Bulletin in the Members Only section of the website.  The issue contains the following articles:

    • President's Message: "In Search of An Oasis"  The NAEN Annual Conference.
    • Collective Bargaining and the Performance of the Public Schools.
    • U.S. School Finance: Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop.
    • NAEN Annual Conference Program Description
    • ERS Releases 2008-2009 National Salary Survey Data.
    • Canadian Legal Update.
    • Aspirations, Anchoring and Negotiation Results.
  • 30 Oct 2009 12:41 PM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    1.  Maryland.    How performance pay works in the Prince George's schools.  The Washington Post. November 1, 2009 (Posted 10-30-09). By William R. Hite Jr. and Donald J. Briscoe, Upper Marlboro.  Performance pay is supposed to be the third rail of education reform. But in Prince George's County, we have shown that it doesn't have to be.  Two years ago, we agreed to reward teachers and principals who elevate student achievement in high-need schools. Our program shows that the government can be a catalyst for school reform and that the Obama administration's plans to dramatically expand incentive programs are essential to changing school systems that currently fail, or cannot afford, to reward effective teaching.

    Prince George County School District's Financial Incentive Rewards for Supervisors & Teachers (FIRST):

    2.  Canada.  Canadian economy continues to struggle.  Toronto Star.  October 30, 2009.  Canada's economy continued its backward slide in August, throwing more cold water on claims by the Bank of Canada the recession ended during the summer. The gross domestic product, a measure of all goods and services produced by the economy, posted a decline of 0.1 per cent for August. The decline comes after a flat result for July. Most economists had forecast a gain of 0.1 per cent or no change. Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney has said a recession ended in the July-September period after three quarters of contraction. His latest rosy prediction for the quarter – an annualized rate of growth of 2 per cent – came just last week.

    3.  Pennsylvania.    Saucon Valley teachers return. Chicago Tribune. October 30, 2009.  By Scott Kraus, Of The Morning Call. Saucon Valley students are back in the classroom today as negotiators for the school board and teachers union continue to work out details of an ''understanding'' that put an end Thursday to the teachers' two-week-old strike. No one is saying exactly what happened during three consecutive days of talks that wrapped up Wednesday. ''The parties have agreed to conceptual understandings relative to the issues in dispute which we trust will result in a contract agreement,'' says a joint statement issued Thursday by the board and union.,0,2812152.story?track=rss-topicgallery

    See also #12 below.

    4.  Pennsylvania.    [Bus Driver Strike] Student arrival goes smoothly without buses at Emmaus High School.  The Morning Call. October 29, 2009.  By Daniel Patrick Sheehan.  Emmaus Police Sgt. Karl Geschwindt doesn't usually help with traffic control on school days, but he went to the high school this morning to make sure there were no safety issues because of the bus driver strike. . . About 135 drivers for First Student, a Cincinnati company that employs 68,000 bus drivers in North America, went on strike yesterday after failing to settle its first labor agreement. East Penn School District canceled yesterday's classes late Tuesday night. Classes resumed today. Since state law does not require school districts to transport students, only special education students received a ride from the school district today. Students and parents had to figure out their own way to school today.,0,5620064.story

    5.  Washington, DC.    Fired DC principals go to court again.  The Washington Post.  October 29. 2009. District teachers are not the only ex-school employees turning to the courts for redress. Last week a group of principals and assistant principals dismissed by Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee in 2008 refiled an $84 million lawsuit alleging, among other things, age and race discrimination, defamation and civil conspiracy. . . They are among about two dozen principals dumped that year by Rhee, including 13 who headed schools deemed to be failing under the federal No Child Left Behind Law. The suit, originally filed last June but dismissed because of a technical error, names Rhee and Mayor Adrian M. Fenty as defendants. The ex-principals claim they were dumped without justification because they were over 40 and African-American or Hispanic, then publicly maligned by DCPS so that they couldn't find new jobs.

    6.  Canada/US.  School absenteeism acts as flu barometer.  CBC News. October 29, 2009.  Schools across the U.S. continued to record high levels of absenteeism as children stayed home sick with flu symptoms. In the spring, federal governments in both Canada and U.S. have suggested that schools close only as a last resort. Last week alone, at least 351 schools were closed in 19 states, according to the U.S. Education Department. So far this school year, about 600 schools temporarily closed — a number that appears on target to surpass the roughly 700 U.S. schools closed that closed last spring when the H1N1 outbreak first hit.

    7.  United States.    Why Public Sector Collective Bargaining Should Be Public.  EIA Intercepts. October 29, 2009.  By Mike Antonucci. Because during contract negotiations in Stamford, Connecticut, someone might notice that the average teacher salary is about $80,000. Because in Brevard County, Florida, someone might notice that more than $5 million designated for the employee health care trust fund was spent on an 8.5 percent teacher pay raise.

    8.  United States.    Eight Reasons Not to Tie Teacher Pay to Standardized Test Results. Issue Brief from the Century Foundation. October 29, 2009. Gordon MacInnes from the Century Foundation challenges Arne Duncan’s plan to compensate teachers in part on how well their students perform on standardized tests.  MacInnes advances eight reasons not to tie teacher pay to standardized test scores.

    9.  Minnesota.    Editorials: Teach hard for the money. Merit-based pay at schools would boost student outcomes.  U. of Minn. MNDaily. October 28, 2009.  President Barack Obama’s Race to the Top Fund provides “competitive grants to encourage and reward states that are creating the conditions for education innovation and reform.” Its goals? “Boosting student achievement, closing achievement gaps, improving graduation rates, and ensuring that students are prepared for success in college and careers.” Sounds much better than No Child Left Behind, right? Despite the flowery language, some of Obama’s proposed methods for fostering this environment are causing a stir among high school educators and their unions. . . Educators, including those at the college level, should not fear merit pay. If the University of Minnesota is to ensure “academic excellence,” administrators need bring some practical strategies to the table. Merit pay promises to generate result-based competition among instructors and provides an incentive for teachers to work harder in order to obtain a salary bonus. Better teaching leads to better student outcomes. Though some may imply otherwise of the University enterprise, education remains our primary focus.

    10.  Iowa.    Schools may dip into cash reserves to cover cuts. DesMoines Register. October 28, 2009. By SARA SLEYSTER. When Gov. Chet Culver issued a 10 percent across-the-board cut earlier this month, he encouraged school districts to use their cash reserves to make up for the loss of state money. The amount of money each Warren County school district has on hand varies and officials anticipate more hits to that fund in the next two years. Not all of the county’s school districts have enough in cash reserves to cover this year’s 10 percent cut. Cash reserve funds range from nearly $6.1 million in Norwalk to just more than $150,000 in Southeast Warren. . . Another factor districts must take into consideration was the use of stimulus money for this year’s budgets, Baldwin said. School districts received money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which was used to make up for an additional lack in state funding. Norwalk received nearly $950,000 in ARRA money for this year. Norwalk chose to use the money on established programs, primarily technology, curriculum and teacher salaries.

    11.  California.    Los Angeles TFA Teachers Outperform Peers.  Teacher Beat by Stephen Sawchuk.  October 28, 2009. A study financed by the Eli & Edythe Broad Foundation shows that students taught by Teach For America teachers in Los Angeles outperformed peers who were taught by other teachers—including veterans with many more years of experience. . . The results are interesting for a few reasons. First of all, TFA teachers were linked to test scores that were 3 points higher overall than non-TFA teachers, even those who had been in the classroom much longer. And, they were even more effective than other teachers with similar years of teaching experience. (The scores for that comparison were 4 points higher for TFA teachers than for non-TFA teachers.)  It's important to know, though, that since students weren't randomly assigned to TFA teachers or non-TFA teachers, it isn't scientifically possible to say that TFA is the reason why the teachers were more effective. These data are certainly suggestive, but they aren't evidence of a causal link.


    12.  Pennsylvania.    Support Strike Free act to prevent future school shutdowns.  Chicago Tribune.  October 28, 2009.  By Nancy Rose. At the beginning of the new school year in the Saucon Valley School District, parents of elementary students were sent a letter of commitment from the teachers asking for cooperation in teaching students the grade level expectations in the new Panther PRIDE initiative. Parents were asked to read and discuss proper behavior expectations with their children and sign an agreement to work with the teachers to ensure success through use of the acronym PRIDE: P (prepared), R (respect self and others), I (I am responsible), D (do my best), E (everyone is safe). Unfortunately, by striking, the teachers have violated every one of those principles by being irresponsible, disrespectful, unprepared to work, not doing their best and creating an unsafe environment.,0,3218009.story?track=rss-topicgallery

    13.  Saskatchewan.  Number of Saskatchewan students up first time in 17 years.  Leader-Post. October 27, 2009. By Kerry Benjoe.   REGINA — For the first time in 17 years, the number of Kindergarten to Grade 12 students in Saskatchewan has increased. Education Minister Ken Krawetz announced that on Tuesday that there are 159,818 school-age children enrolled in Saskatchewan schools this year. This number represents an increase of 361 students over last year. “This is another sign of a growing province,” said Krawetz in a news release. “While it’s not a huge increase, student numbers are on the rise after declining by 36,000 over the past 17 years."

    14.  United States.    Seeking Tenure 'Conversion'  Inside Higher Ed.  October 28, 2009 In discussions about the use and abuse of adjunct faculty members, "conversion" is a controversial topic. Typically it refers to a decision by a college or university to convert some number of adjunct positions into a number (typically a smaller number) of tenure-track positions. The idea of conversion has been key to the reform proposals of national faculty groups. Some colleges actually have bucked the trends and converted slots to the tenure track in various ways. The American Association of University Professors on Tuesday entered the conversion debate in a significant way with a new draft policy on the treatment of adjunct faculty members.

    AAUP draft policy:

    15.  Ontario.    Ontario makes full-day kindergarten plan official.  The Globe and Mail.  October 27, 2009. Toronto — Ontario will move ahead with full-day kindergarten for all four and five year olds despite an unprecedented deficit, Premier Dalton McGuinty said Tuesday.The program will cost $1.5 billion a year once it's fully implemented by 2015, about $500 million more than originally thought. Investing in children is an essential step in making the province competitive on the global stage, Mr. McGuinty said.  “Parents everywhere are the same. All we want is for our children to grow up and be the very best that they might be, to achieve their greatest potential,” he said.

    See also: Backgrounder: Phasing In Full-Day Learning For Four- And Five-Year-Olds. Ontario Ministry of Education. October 27, 2009.

    16.  Arizona.    Ariz. official warns of 'massive' teacher layoffs.  The Washington Post. October 27, 2009. By PAUL DAVENPORT. The Associated Press PHOENIX -- Arizona faces the prospect of large-scale layoffs of school teachers next year due to the state's budget problems, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne said. He said the "massive layoffs" of teachers are possible even though school districts' actual job cuts for the current school year fell short of reductions indicated by early layoff notices. The vast majority of those notices were rescinded, he said. Horne's office said later Monday that Department of Education checks with school districts in August verified 2,990 layoff notices being issued last spring, of which 2,667 were recalled. The department's figure on the number of layoff notices was short of counts made by other organizations last spring. Those included the Arizona Education Association's count through a survey of over 4,000 and the Arizona Republic's tally of 5,500.

    17.  Arizona.    Plan on midyear cuts, school districts told.  East Valley Tribune.  October 27, 2009.  By Michelle Reese, Tribune. Education proponents painted a grim picture Monday evening for school board members trying to grapple with the state of their district budgets. Janice Palmer, director of government relations for the Arizona School Boards Association, and Chuck Essigs, director of government relations for the Arizona Association of School Business Officials, told members of the East Valley School Board Consortium that midyear cuts are inevitable and could be as high as 9 percent to 15 percent. Even after Gov. Jan Brewer signed the current budget, there remained a gaping hole between revenue and expenditures in Arizona. The latest numbers, released by the Joint Legislative Budget Committee last week, put it at $2 billion, up from the original projection of $1.5 billion, Palmer told the group.

    18.  Connecticut.    Teacher Termination Horror Show.  EIA Intercepts.  by Mike Antonucci. October 27, 2009. Major kudos to the Branford Eagle, which took advantage of a rare occurrence – a teacher termination hearing open to the public – to assign a reporter to cover the entire proceeding. Five articles later, you’ll be screaming for an overhaul of teacher evaluation and public school district labor policy. It’s a lot of material to read, but you won’t be sorry you took the time. Here are some highlights:

    19.  New York.    Contract Non-Renewal = Dismissal.  Inside HigherEd. October 27, 2009. Failure to renew a non-tenured instructor's contract can trigger a discrimination claim against a college, just as much as if it dismissed an employee or took some other "adverse employment action," a federal appeals court ruled Friday. The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which came in a case involving Cornell University, does not break significant new legal ground, but has potentially important implications for colleges and universities that are eliminating positions because of shrinking budgets.

    20.  Illinois.    OHS strike over, students returned Monday.  WLPO News.  October 26, 2009. Classes are in session at Ottawa High School after an overnight announcement that the teacher’s union had approved a deal with the school board.  The teachers had been on strike since September 30.

    21.  United States.    THE INFLUENCE GAME: On board with Obama's education goals, Gates Foundation wants policy sway.  Chicago Tribune.  October 26, 2009.  By DONNA BLANKINSHIP, LIBBY QUAID, Associated Press.  WASHINGTON (AP) — Not content with shaping education directly through schools, the biggest player in the school reform movement has an eye on moving education policy.
    The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has spent around $200 million a year on grants to elementary and secondary education. Now the foundation is taking unprecedented steps to spend millions to influence the way the federal government distributes $5 billion in grants to overhaul public schools. The federal dollars are unprecedented, too.,0,997319.story?track=rss-topicgallery

    22.  Washington, DC.    Putting children first. D.C. officials must get beyond partisan interests to focus on education.  Editorial: The Washington Post.  October 26, 2009. THE 18-HOUR hearing into the recent teacher layoffs was D.C. politics at its angriest. Speakers called for Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) to be impeached, impugned the integrity of Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee and denigrated, in sometimes ugly racial terms, any who dared disagree. There's plenty of blame to go around for the nasty tone of the debate -- union leaders with self-interest in fomenting unrest, a mayor obtuse to his obligation to work cooperatively, D.C. Council members intent on undermining the executive -- but, in the end, none of that really matters. What's critical, and what hangs in the balance, is education reform. It's time the District's leaders stopped acting like children and started thinking of them.

    23.  Connecticut/New York.    Randi's Red Herring [the New Haven CBA].  The New York Post.  October 26, 2009.  By Thomas Carroll.  The New York City teachers union master contract is set to expire on Saturday, and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten is touting the "reform" teachers contract recently negotiated in New Haven as a model for the nation. Praise for the New Haven contract has come, too, from US Education Secretary Arne Duncan. . . The New Haven contract follows the Obama administration's preference for performance pay for teachers, but it takes the union-approved route of allowing these merit bonuses to be handed out to entire schools, not to individuals.  . . The New Haven contract's approach to these charter schools, moreover, mandates unionization, guarantees no layoffs, preserves grievance procedures and keeps in place full transfer rights of staff. . . Even worse, the New Haven contract requires the approval of 75 percent of teachers in a school to opt out of the master contract's work rules (66 percent in a failing school slated for "turnaround"). This means that a minority of teachers could block important changes such as a longer school year or school day. Plus, the contract includes a bizarre provision that allows the New Haven union to veto work-rule reforms even if 100 percent of the teachers in that school approve of them.

    24.  Oregon.    UO faculty weighs union.  The Eugene Register-Guard. October 25, 2009. By Greg Bolt. Concerned about comparatively low pay and what some see as top-down management, faculty members at the University of Oregon are exploring the possibility of forming a union. The effort still is in the informational stage with meetings being held around campus to discuss the idea and hear from faculty members at other universities who have formed unions. Organizers say it’s not certain if or when professors will be asked to vote on the question, but one said an election could be held before the end of the current academic year. The idea has been floating around campus since a group of professors began discussing the possibility in 2007, said math professor Marie Vitulli, who was among that original group. Last year, they invited representatives of the American Association of University Professors and the American Federation of Teachers to help.

    25.  Michigan.     Costs driving school reform; Michigan school districts struggle to adapt as revenues continue to fall. Kalamazoo Gazette. October 25, 2009.  By Julie Mack. KALAMAZOO — School parents, brace yourself for larger class sizes — maybe even college-size lectures at the high school level. Figure you’ll pick up much more of the tab for sports and other extracurricular activities, assuming they aren’t cut. Small districts, the pressure to consolidate is going to be intense. The reason: With state revenues in free fall, Michigan school districts could see their operating revenues drop 10 percent or more by fall 2010. To put that reduction in perspective: A district could eliminate its athletic program and bus service and still need to find more savings.

    26.  Michigan.    Where schools may make cuts.  Kalamazoo Gazette.  October 25, 2009.  By Julie Mack. In 2008-09, Michigan gave K-12 schools a minimum of $7,316 per student to fund their operations. Now, declining state revenue means the state may cut funding $165 to $293 per student this school year and $500 to $600 per student in 2010-11, once the state’s federal economic stimulus money is exhausted. So school districts may need to make cuts that total up to about $900 per student. Here’s where districts will be looking to make those cuts, according to local and state officials.  [Job Reductions; Wage concessions; Benefit Concessions; Privitization; Extra Curriculur Activities; Bus Service; Consolidation].

    27.  Oregon.    Climbing PERS expenses face Oregon pension board, agency budget writers.  The Oregonian. October 24, 2009. By Ted Sickinger.  The cost of Oregon's Public Employees Retirement System is about to skyrocket to budget-busting levels.   As a result of PERS' $17 billion investment loss in 2008, every state agency, municipality and school district that participates in the system is staring at an average 50 percent increase in the base rates PERS charges to fund their employees' retirement benefits in 2011 and 2012. That's not a doomsday scenario. Unless the pension fund's board changes its rate-setting rules, or its investment portfolio generates a 26 percent return in 2009, these rate increases are guaranteed. What does that mean to you? Fewer teachers, cops and firefighters. Less of every service that government provides. Higher fees and taxes. Perhaps all of the above.

    28.  Michigan.    Michigan schools reel after funding blow.  Detroit Free Press.  October 23, 2009. BY CHRIS CHRISTOFF, LORI HIGGINS and PEGGY WALSH-SARNECKI, FREE PRESS STAFF WRITERS. LANSING -- While arguments raged in the Capitol over the state budget and taxes, local school officials were stunned again Thursday with news of another state funding body slam. Gov. Jennifer Granholm said she had no choice but to order an additional $212-million cut from aid to schools. That works out to a $127-per-pupil cut, coming on top of the $165-per-pupil cut in the new budget she signed Monday. Republicans said Granholm was using scare tactics to pressure them for a tax increase. Granholm and State Treasurer Robert Kleine said state tax revenues have dropped so much it was time to avoid more deficits. Waiting until 2010 to cut would be even more difficult for schools, Granholm said.

    29.  Rhode Island.    RI education chief: Abolish teacher assigning by seniority.  The Providence Journal.  October 23, 2009. By Linda Borg. PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Dropping a bombshell on Rhode Island's teacher unions, state Education Commissioner Deborah Gist announced Friday that districts must abolish seniority as a method of assigning teachers. Gist, in a letter to all superintendents Thursday, said the Board of Regents' new Basic Education Plan, which takes effect in July 2010, requires that highly effective educators work with students who have significant achievement gaps.  "In my view," she wrote in a press release, "no system that bases teacher assignments solely on seniority can comply with this new regulation."  The state has 12,000 public school teachers who are represented by one of two unions, the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Care Professionals or the National Education Association, Rhode Island.

    30.  Hawaii.   Hawaii erred in cutting education. Reduction in school days is not the way to invest in education.  Honolulu Advertiser.  October 23, 2009. By Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education.  Our country is at a crossroads. The economy is in its worst recession in a generation. State and local tax revenues have been hit especially hard in the economic downturn. We need to make sure our important government services are sustained during our nation's economic troubles. . . Now, however, Hawaii is cutting 17 days from the current school year. All states are under financial pressure, but none are cutting this much learning time from their school year. This is a step in the wrong direction. It's inconceivable to me that this is the best solution for Hawaii.

    31.  Hawaii.   Hawaii: Protesting School Closings.  The NY Times.  October 23, 2009. By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. Angry parents are protesting the loss of education for their children on the first day of Hawaii’s statewide public school closings. The parents rallied at the Capitol in Honolulu as 256 schools shut down to help balance the state budget. In all, 17 furlough days are planned for this year and next. Organizers said the demonstration was meant to show elected leaders that they should not make children suffer for a lack of economic planning. Many hope the government will either raise taxes or dip into emergency money to restore Hawaii’s school year. The cuts give Hawaii the shortest school year in the country, at about 163 days, compared with 180 days in most other states.

    32.  Alabama.    Morton: Ala. teachers should pay more for health insurance, retirement to offset budget cuts.  Chicago Tribune.  October 23, 2009. By DESIREE HUNTER, Associated Press Writer. MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama schools Superintendent Joe Morton unveiled a plan to deal with budget cuts for fiscal year 2011 partly by making teachers pay more for health insurance and retirement benefits. The plan, unveiled Thursday, also calls for a constitutional amendment that would base appropriations to K-12, postsecondary and four-year universities on the number of students enrolled at each level of education, a move supported by the state teachers union.,0,725889.story

    33.  Ohio.  Trading money for power.  Cinn. Inquirer. October 22, 2009. By Krista Ramsey. The contract between Cincinnati teachers and the Cincinnati Board of Education is a document with clout.  As a collective bargaining agreement, the 79-page contract trumps most state laws and school board policies. It sets guidelines on everything from the 420 minutes teachers must work each day to the 15 minutes unsupervised students can hang around after school. There are 19 pages alone on how teachers are assigned, evaluated or transferred. . . "The contract is very proscriptive," says former board member Lynn Marmer. "You can only have so many faculty meetings. Teachers can only have so many bells of instruction. That constricts a school team from having the flexibility they need to be successful. It would be better to blow the whole thing up and start over." Teachers argue the contract doesn't so much give teachers more power as more responsibility. . . The board and administration have invited the New Teacher Project to analyze the contract and recommend changes. NTP, a national nonprofit, tries to raise student achievement by improving teacher quality. It often focuses on policies related to teacher hiring, placement and evaluation.

    Cinncinatti CBA:

    34.  Missouri.    Video Clip: Effects of collective bargaining on attracting and retaining quality teachers.  ShowMe Institute.  May 5, 2009. Caroline Hoxby, Ph.D., the Scott and Donya Bommer Professor of Economics at Stanford University, spoke with the Show-Me Institute on May 5, 2009, about the effects of collective bargaining on attracting and retaining quality teachers in United States public schools. Hoxby is also a senior fellow of the Hoover Institution, the director of the Economics of Education Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and Senior Fellow of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.

  • 23 Oct 2009 12:13 PM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    1.  Pennsylvania.    Think tank to develop teacher-improvement plan. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. October 23, 2009. By Joe Smydo. The Pittsburgh school board Wednesday approved a $1.8 million contract with a New Jersey think tank that's going to help the school district develop a pay-for-performance plan for teachers. The contract with Mathematica Policy Research Inc. of Princeton, N.J., is contingent on the district receiving a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Under the five-year contract, Mathematica would help the district develop "multiple measures of effective teaching," including a way to measure a teacher's impact on students' standardized test scores.Performance pay was a big part of the district's $50 million proposal to the Gates Foundation for improving teacher effectiveness.

    2.  United States.    Mediocre? Not Us!   Inside HigherEd. October 23, 2009 All colleges and graduate schools of education must do a better job of preparing future teachers for the classroom, Arne Duncan, secretary of education, said in a speech Thursday. Many leaders of teacher education programs said they agreed with his comments, but it was hard to find any who said they thought his criticisms applied to their institutions. “By almost any standard, many if not most of the nation's 1,450 schools, colleges and departments of education are doing a mediocre job of preparing teachers for the realities of the 21st century classroom,” he told an audience of faculty members, students and teachers at Teachers College of Columbia University. “America’s university-based teacher preparation programs need revolutionary change -- not evolutionary tinkering.”

    3.  Quebec.    Court strikes down Quebec schools law.  The Globe & Mail. October 22, 2009. By Kirk Makin. Ottawa — A group of Quebec immigrants has succeeded in striking down a controversial law that barred their children from entering English-language elementary schools. In a 7-0 ruling today, the Supreme Court of Canada said Quebec must pass a less “excessive” provision within a year if it intends to replace the dead prohibition.Within minutes, Quebec's minister responsible for language, Christine St-Pierre, touched off what promised to be a day of political discord in the province by saying that she was “disappointed and angry” at the ruling. The ruling upheld a 2007 Quebec Court of Appeal decision that struck down the law, which prevented a child from attending a non-subsidized English-language elementary school for a year or less and then transferring into the English public school system.

    See also: Ruling puts nationalist sentiments on bubble

    4.  Connecticut.    Teacher Contract Called Potential Model for Nation.  Education Week.  October 22, 2009. By Stephen Sawchuk. A teacher contract approved in New Haven that lays the groundwork for changes to the way teachers in the Connecticut city are paid, supported, and evaluated, has been hailed by union and district leaders alike—as well as federal education officials—as a potential model for the country.

    New Haven contract:

    See also #18 below.

    5.  Ontario.    As Ontario's deficit soars, restraint looms. McGuinty warns belt-tightening — and maybe even unpaid 'Dalton Days' — will be the new normal.  Toronto Star.  October 22, 2009. The end of the recession marks the beginning of government restraint, warns Premier Dalton McGuinty. As the Liberals table a fall economic statement Thursday that will reveal a record deficit of more than $22 billion, McGuinty said it's time to think about a post-recession economy no longer fuelled by billions in borrowed stimulus funds. That could well include unpaid "Dalton Days" for public servants, among other belt-tightening measures. "Do we have the will, working together, to ensure that we have a bright future and make the appropriate decisions today?" the premier said Wednesday.

    6.  United States.    23 states report higher unemployment in Sept. USA Today.  October 22, 2009. WASHINGTON (AP) — Unemployment rose in 23 states last month as the economy struggled to create jobs in the early stages of the recovery. While layoffs have slowed, companies remain reluctant to hire. Forty-three states reported job losses in September, while only seven gained jobs, the Labor Department said Wednesday. Some of the states that lost jobs still saw their unemployment rates decline, as discouraged workers gave up looking for work. People who are out of work but no longer looking for jobs aren't counted as officially unemployed. . . That trend was evident nationwide in September, as nearly 600,000 people dropped out of the work force, the department reported earlier this month. The U.S. jobless rate rose to 9.8% in September, a 26-year high, from 9.7%. Some economists estimate it would have topped 10% if there had been no change in the labor force.

    See also an interactive map:  States and the recession: Unemployment. October 22, 2009. The unemployment rate — the percent of the labor force that is jobless — has been climbing since the recession began in December 2007. In this map, scroll over any state to find the most recent monthly figure, or compare the rates over time.

    7.  New Mexico.    State faces up to $1 billion shortfall in January.  The New Mexico Independent. October 22, 2009. By Trip Jennings. If you think the budget situation is bad now, just wait until January when the shortfall for next year could reach $1 billion.The solutions the Legislature are now considering to close this year’s budgetary shortfall rely heavily on a pot of money that once emptied cannot be refilled. . . School districts across the state, meanwhile, have access to at least $165 million in federal stimulus money to help shore up their budgets, deputy state education secretary Don Moya said Thursday. If the state’s tax revenues don’t pick up, the state would need to find $150 million or more to keep education services at their current level for next year.  For many programs, federal stimulus dollars disappear as of Dec. 31, 2010, right in the middle of the state budget year, which runs from July 1 to June 30.

    8.  Ontario.    Boys-only schools 'issue of choice,' not segregation, director says.  Toronto Star. October 21, 2009. By Katie Daubs, Kristin Rushowy and Tanya Talaga. Boy-only schools are "an issue of choice" and not segregation, says the Toronto board's director of education. Chris Spence, who has proposed an array of measures to help males better succeed in school, told reporters Wednesday that "in most situations, a co-ed environment will be the best environment" but "there's going to be individuals who will thrive in a single-sex setting, and if we are going to be about choice, trying to meet the needs of each and every student, we understand that students learn in different ways ... trying to provide those kinds of ways is important."

    9.  Massachuetts.    Would-be teachers in Western Mass. find job market tight. MassLive/The Republican. By Jim Kinney October 21, 2009. On paper at least, Westfield State College education major Erinne K. Wortham shouldn’t have anything to worry about when it comes to her job search. . . Tightening state and local budgets have school districts laying people off, or at least restricting their hiring to hard-to-fill jobs like special education and teaching math, the sciences and foreign languages. “With the economy right now, it doesn’t look like we’ll be doing a lot of hiring,” said David A. Lawrence, director of human resources for the Holyoke Public Schools.

    10.  Michigan.    Detroit nixes some union pacts.  Bing spokesman says negotiations possible.  Detroit Free Press. October 21, 2009. BY ZLATI MEYER. After months of threats and talk of impending financial doom for the city, Detroit officials have terminated the contracts of about a third of the city's 51 unions. But so far, all that means is that unions will have to collect dues on their own. . . Detroit, expecting a $300-million deficit, has reduced hours on bus lines, laid off more than 400 workers and required employees to take furloughs.

    [Note: I thought this article was interesting even though it does not involve public education.  The reason is that this article describes a seldom used management tactic during protracted negotiations (e.g., that extend beyond the expiration date of a contract).  Most CB statues for education have a status quo obligation imposed on managment which continues the working conditions, but there is a common exception for continuing automatic union dues/fair share deductions.  We will have to see if this taqctic starts becoming atrend in these hard economic times.--Ron]

    11.  United States.    How Much Is the Stimulus Helping States? That Depends.  US News & World Reports. October 21, 2009. New data in a report by the federal government assert that the approximately $100 billion in funds doled out to education under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 have filled budget gaps and saved 250,000 education jobs, but the nation's governors and school leaders contend that some states are still in dismal fiscal straits. According to a report recently published by Education Week, states such as Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Michigan, and Florida have been forced to make often painful adjustments to cope with declining revenues, in spite of the nearly $40 billion in stimulus funds appropriated specifically for stabilizing state education budgets.

    12.  Maryland.    Md. gov asks superintendents to scour for savings.  San Francisco Chronicle.  October 20, 2009.  By BRIAN WITTE, Associated Press Writer. Annapolis, Md. (AP) --With an ominous budget challenge looming again, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley called on school superintendents Tuesday to work together in hunting for ways to save money. O'Malley largely has protected education from budget cuts since he took office in 2007, but he put superintendents on notice during a meeting in Annapolis that he needs their help to battle a staggering $2 billion shortfall next year in the state's $13 billion operational budget.

    13.  United States.    Do Incentives Work? Wanna Rumble?  Compensation Cafe.  October 20, 2009.  By Doug Sayed. In the several months since the WorldatWork "community" launched, by far the most heated topic debated to date has been about cash incentives and if they work, or should be abandoned, as suggested by some. There were lots of opinions on both sides of the contentious on-line debate, including many by persons named "anonymous," who apparently weren't convicted enough in their own beliefs to share their real name with their colleagues. . . What isn't discussed is that most well-designed, strategically-aligned incentives aren't about internal motivation, creativity or even thought, per se (although a little bit certainly helps!). Incentives are about outcomes and results, and if you want results, there's nothing like a few (or many) bucks to sharpen one's focus on the end goal or outcome.

    14.  United States.    Report says stimulus preserved education jobs. But school officials warn of state funding deficits, future staff cuts.  October 20, 2009. The Washington Post. By Nick Anderson.  Federal economic recovery aid has created or saved 250,000 education jobs, the Obama administration announced Monday, although states and school systems continue to face enormous fiscal pressures. From coast to coast, officials are warning of education funding troubles ahead. The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that 27 states are forecasting shortfalls for fiscal 2011 that total at least $61 billion, with five more states predicting unspecified budget shortages. Widespread state cutbacks would threaten a major source of school revenue. "You could be looking easily at another 24 months before states come out from under water," said David Quam, director of federal relations for the National Governors Association.

    ARRA Report:

    15.  United States.    How Big Is the Stimulus Funding Cliff?  Politics K-12 Blog.  By Michele McNeil.  October 19, 2009.  $16.5 billion.
    That's the amount of money that 36 states combined will need to find, somewhere, to get back to their 2008 K-12 funding levels after stimulus money runs out. That amounts to about 10 percent of these 36 states' combined budgets, according to my own calculations of figures presented in a White House report out yesterday on the impact of the stimulus package on education jobs. This is the funding cliff that states and school districts have been warned about. States will need to replace this money at a time when the national economy only now is showing glimmers of a recovery, and state tax collections are still tanking by record amounts. Of course, when it comes time for states to write their budgets for fiscal 2011 and beyond, they have the ability to move money around, or rob other programs to help fill in K-12 budget gaps. But will there be enough money to go around? Looking at the size of these gaps, probably not.

    Rockefeller report on state tax revenues:

    16.  New Jersey.    Teachers at three S.J. Catholic schools go on strike.  Courier-Post.  October 19, 2009.  By WIL SHAMLIN. Dozens of teachers are picketing outside three South Jersey Catholic schools this morning to protest stalled contract negotiations. The Catholic Teachers Union called the strike after failing to reach agreement with the Diocese of Camden on two key issues -- yearly salary increases and employee contributions for basic health care coverage, union leaders said. Teachers at Camden Catholic in Cherry Hill, Paul VI in Haddon Township and Holy Spirtin in Absecon began striking at 7 a.m. and plan to continue the strike until contract talks resume.

    17.  Maryland.    Road to reform [Baltimore City Schools].  Editorial, Blatimore Sun.  October 19, 2009. In the last two years, both Baltimore City and the District of Columbia have embarked on ambitious school reform programs led by dynamic new CEOs committed to proving that urban school systems can produce high levels of student achievement. In both cities there's enormous popular and political support for reform, and both have adopted similar strategies for change: Reduce the size of central headquarters staff, give principals more authority over budgets and programs and hold teachers accountable for classrom effectiveness.,0,7069078.story

    18.  Connecticut.    New Haven Pact Lays New Ground for Evaluations, Pay, Peer Assistance.  Teacher Beat by Stephen Sawchuck.  October 19, 2009.  The New Haven, Ct. teacher contract has been approved! You will recall that earlier this month I was a little skeptical about all this talk of it being groundbreaking given that the details on it were scant. (Reminds me of that line in William Golding's The Princess Bride about labeling your own novel a classic.) Now that we have the details, let's take a look at what's what. First, by all accounts these negotiations were collaborative, and both parties are talking up the results. Here's the district's take: "The new contract transforms the role that teachers will play in our public schools," New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr. said. "Rather than resisting change as some teachers associations have done in other parts of the nation, New Haven teachers have chosen to make change, to help direct change, to be the change."

    19.  Pennsylvania.  Hempfield Area School District bus drivers propose 'savings'  Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.  October 19, 2009. By Richard Gazarik, TRIBUNE-REVIEW.  The union representing bus drivers in the Hempfield Area School District has submitted a proposal to the school board that offers "a fair amount of savings" on health care and an "extremely reasonable amount" on wages.
    Gilbert Gall, who represents the Hempfield Area Educational Support Professionals in negotiations, said, "We're trying to be as reasonable as possible." At stake are the jobs of 149 drivers and custodians.

    20.  Florida.    Chickens Come Home to Roost in Broward County. EIA Communique.  October 19, 2009. It would take a lot more space than I have here to explain the carnival of corruption that is the Broward County School Board in Florida. The signature event so far has been the arrest of board member Beverly Gallagher after an FBI sting operation. I suggest you begin with this summary by Bob Norman of New Times, who writes, "The School Board's leaders have, in short, behaved more like mobsters than public officials."

    21.  British Columbia.    O Canada.  Intercepts, EIA Blog by Mike Antonucci.  October 19, 2009.  While we wait as the Obama administration and the teachers’ unions slowly circle each other over Race to the Top funds and NCLB reauthorization, we have to look to our neighbors to the north for some comic relief. The hilarity began with the Vancouver Elementary School Teachers Association (VESTA) promoting a workshop put on by the Olympic Resistance Network (ORN). Vancouver will be hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics. The event was scheduled for October 28 at Strathcona Elementary School. But someone tipped off the Vancouver Sun, which had a reporter research the Olympic Resistance Network. The ORN website is saturated with its views of the Olympics, but this small excerpt will give you a taste:

    22.  United States.    Teaching for a Living: How Teachers See the Profession Today.  Public Agenda/Learning Point Assoc.  October 19, 2009. By Jean Johnson, Andrew Yarrow, Jonathan Rochkind and Amber Ott.  Two out of five American K-12 teachers appear disheartened and disappointed about their jobs, according to new research by Public Agenda, a New York City-based nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization, and by Learning Point Associates, a nonprofit education research and consulting organization based in Chicago, Ill. These results are being reported for the first time in the October 21 edition of Education Week. The nationwide study, “Teaching for a Living: How Teachers See the Profession Today,” offers a comprehensive and nuanced look at how teachers differ in their perspectives on their profession, why they entered teaching, the atmosphere and leadership in their schools, the problems they face, their students and student outcomes, and ideas for reform.

    23.  United States.  Incentives Alone Not Enough To Prod Teacher Effectiveness.  Education Week.  October 19, 2009.  By Stephen Sawchuk. As states and districts increasingly explore tactics like performance-based pay, incentive programs, and bonuses to attract the best teachers to troubled schools, experts contend that such programs are unlikely to succeed over the long haul unless officials simultaneously work to improve school conditions and leadership capacity in those schools.

    24.  Virginia.   Fairfax school officials submit preview of cuts.   The Washington Post. October 19, 2009 By Michael Alison Chandler. The Fairfax County School Board is bracing for the most dramatic reduction in services in more than 20 years as it attempts to bridge a projected $176 million budget shortfall with cuts that could extend to closing schools, increasing class size, ending summer school, discontinuing most full-day kindergarten classes and eliminating foreign language instruction in elementary schools.

    25.  Washington, DC.    The Pain and the Gain for D.C. Schools.  The Washington Post.  October 8, 2009. By Katherine Bradley, Michael Harreld and John Hill. Amid the controversy over the D.C. public school system's Oct. 2 layoffs of more than 220 teachers, a novel and important fact keeps getting buried. The District's layoffs did not follow the tradition of "last hired, first fired" common to other school district employment practices. Instead, principals made separation decisions based on which teachers and staff were contributing the most value to student learning -- not by seniority or favoritism. Some good teachers may have been let go, just as businesses all over the country have lost talent because of hard budgetary realities. And the layoffs exact a human toll. But shouldn't relative contribution be the rule -- not the exception -- if we are to build high-functioning teams in our schools? Isn't that the way we would expect to make decisions elsewhere in our economy?

    26.  United States.    Teachers' unions uneasy with President Barack Obama.  Politico.  October 17, 2009.  By NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON.  A skirmish between powerful teachers’ unions and President Barack Obama over nearly $5 billion in education spending is shaping up as a preview of the battle to come over No Child Left Behind in Congress early next year. But the tables are turned: now the unions are worried that Obama, a Democratic ally, is going to be just as tough on them as President George W. Bush, a longtime foe. . . One of the little-noticed aspects of Obama’s presidency is how much his approach to education mirrors Bush’s – heavy on testing and data-collection, with support for charter schools, teacher evaluations and merit pay.

    27.  Washington, DC.    Unions Want Probe Of Layoffs by Rhee.  The Washington Post. October 17, 2009.  By Bill Turque. Union leaders asked the D.C. Council on Friday for an investigation into the layoffs of 266 teachers and staff members, including an independent audit of the school system's decision to hire 934 educators this spring and summer.


    28a.  Califonia.  Method challenges some education myths.  The LA Times.  October 18, 2009. By Jason Song and Jason Felch. For years, schools and students have been judged on raw standardized test scores. Experts say this approach is flawed because they tend to reflect socioeconomic levels more than learning. The "value-added" approach attempts to level the playing field by focusing on growth rather than achievement. Using a statistical analysis of test scores, it tracks an individual student's improvement year to year, and uses that progress to estimate the effectiveness of teachers, principals and schools.,0,4278154.story

    28b.  California.   Commonly asked questions about the 'value-added' approach to teacher assessment.  LA Times.  October 18, 2009.,0,5553420.story

    28c.  California.  Judging teachers: Much of what you thought you knew is wrong.  LA Times.  October 16, 2009. A new way of crunching test scores is turning conventional ideas in education on their head. The approach, called value added, has gained momentum in recent months as it has been embraced by the Obama administration and policymakers around the country, though it has generated strong opposition from teachers unions. . . For years, schools and students have been judged on raw standardized test scores. Experts say this approach is flawed because they tend to reflect socioeconomic levels more than learning. The "value-added" approach attempts to level the playing field by focusing on growth rather than achievement. Using a complex statistical analysis of test scores, it tracks an individual student's improvement year to year, and uses that progress to estimate the effectiveness of individual teachers, principals and schools.

    28d.  California.    Educator sees the value in 'value-added' approach to evaluating teachers.  LA Times.  October 16, 2009.  By Jason Felch and Jason Song. Terry Grier, former superintendent of San Diego schools, encountered union opposition when he tried to use the novel method. His fight offers a peek at a brewing national debate.,0,4471467.story

    See also:   Hanushek, Eic.  Teacher Deselection, May 2008. "This discussion provides a quantitative statement of one approach to achieving the governors’ (and the nation’s) goals – teacher deselection. Specifically, how much progress in student achievement  would be accomplished by instituting a program of removing, or deselecting, the least effective teachers?"

    29.  California.   Editorial: United Teachers Los Angeles: Absent from reform.  October 17, 2009.  It's easy to see why United Teachers Los Angeles doesn't like the new Public School Choice policy at L.A. Unified, which allows outside groups to apply to take over about 250 new or underperforming schools. Those groups are likely to include a large number of charter school operators that would hire their own teachers rather than sign a contract with the teachers union. What's less understandable is why UTLA would minimize its chances of keeping some of the schools within the district, along with their union jobs. Yet that's what appears to be happening. A rift has developed within the union's leadership over whether to allow more so-called pilot schools, and if so, how many and under what conditions. Pilot schools are similar to charter schools, except that they remain within L.A. Unified, staffed by the district's union employees. The staff is given more independence to make instructional and budgeting decisions in exchange for greater accountability.,0,1149698.story

    30.  British Columbia. The BC School Trustees Association 2010 Budget Consultation Submission.  BCSTA. October 15, 2009. The 2010 Budget Consultation Process asks whether the government should continue to protect core services such as education. The answer from BC’s citizens continues to be a resounding “Yes!” Through opinion polls, forums and letters, the vast majority of British Columbians – not just the parents of today’s students – have repeatedly said that a strong public education system is critical to the future success of the province and its citizens. They realize clearly that the province’s other significant goals for healthcare, the environment and the economy all depend on well‐educated, literate citizens.

    31.  United States.   State Tax Revenues Show Record Drop, For Second Consecutive Quarter.  Rockefeller Institute for Government. October 15, 2009. For the second quarter in a row, tax revenues collected by states across the U.S. plummeted sharply in April-June 2009, according to the latest quarterly report on state revenue collections issued today by the Rockefeller Institute of Government. . . All of these factors are contributing to a new round of budget shortfalls in the states, and are likely to lead tomidyear budget cuts plus further spending cuts and tax increases in governors’ proposed budgets this January.

    32.  California.  [Union] Letters pushed board member to resign.  October 15, 2009. The Almanac. By Andrea Gemmet, Almanac Staff. A teachers' union letter-writing campaign to lobby Las Lomitas Elementary School District board members over stalled contract negotiations appears to have backfired. Board member David Bailard resigned his post on Monday, Oct. 5, as a result of letters he received from the teachers. In the letters sent to Mr. Bailard and other board members, the teachers referred to members' children who are current and former students in the district, apparently hoping that personal relationships would help win support for a sticking point in the negotiations — raises.

    33.  Ontario.    OPSBA Clarifies the Association’s Position on BILL 177.  October 1, 2009.  The Ontario Public School Boards' Association has been monitoring reactions to Bill 177 (An Act to amend the Education Act with respect to student achievement, school board governance and certain other matters) which is currently at the Second Reading stage in the Ontario Legislature.  During the debates a number of views have incorrectly been attributed to the Association.  This communication will clarify OPSBA's position and firmly state our united opposition to proposed changes.

  • 16 Oct 2009 10:46 AM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    1.  Washington, DC.    Layoffs At Ailing D.C. Schools Spark Union Outrage.  National Public Radio.  October 16, 2009. By Claudio Sanchez.  Washington, D.C.'s ailing public school system has been under intense scrutiny over the past couple of years. Michelle Rhee, the city's schools chancellor, has pushed reforms that teachers consider threats to their collective bargaining rights. In the latest skirmish, Rhee has fired 229 teachers and taken aim at a cornerstone of the teachers' contract — seniority.

    2. Nevada.    Merit pay: How best to decide who earns it at schools.  The Las Vegas Sun.  October 15, 2009.  By Emily Richmond.  The notion of holding teachers accountable for their classroom performance — and paying them bonuses for a job well done — is gaining support across the country. But what criteria should be used to judge teacher performance? That question is especially dicey in Nevada, where a state law generally disallows using test scores to measure teacher success. Against this backdrop, the Clark County School District is trying to better define its “pay for performance” formula — criteria that will be applied when judging who deserves bonuses at the district’s 17 empowerment schools. (State law does allow use of test scores to help judge faculty at empowerment schools, where principals are given more control over daily operations and extra funding in exchange for meeting tougher accountability measures.)

    3.  Nebraska.  Longest Serving Big-City Superintendent, John Mackiel, is a former NAEN President.  He served as NAEN President in 1991. He is currently the Superintendent in Omaha.   For a nice profile see the Urban Educator, October 2009.

    4.  Florida.    Hernando County schools tackle problem of dividing bonus money.  St. Petersburg Times. Ocober 15, 2009. By Tony Marrero, Times Staff Writer BROOKSVILLE — Fall is windfall time in many Florida public schools. Each year for the last decade, schools that earned an A or improved a letter grade in the state's A Plus accountability system, which is primarily based on FCAT scores, receive award money. This year, 11 of Hernando County's 22 schools will receive bonuses totaling nearly $873,000. With the windfall often comes contention. The money can be used for bonuses for teachers and staff, to purchase educational equipment and materials, and to hire temporary staff to help maintain and improve performance. Every year, the same questions arise. Should the money be spent on the school in a way that directly benefits students, go solely to bonuses, or a combination of both?

    5.  Idaho.   1 in 5 Idaho School Districts Declare Emergencies. KVTB News. By The Associated Press.  BOISE -- Twenty percent of Idaho's 115 school districts have declared a financial emergency this year as they sought to tighten their financial belts after lawmakers in the 2009 Legislature reduced public education funding. A new state law required districts to declare an emergency before taking measures like cutting teacher pay, hours or contract length.

    6.  Alberta.  Educators link to stop Alberta funding cuts.  CBCNews. October 14, 2009.  Groups representing Alberta teachers, school councils and school boards launched a $500,000 campaign Wednesday to protest provincial cuts to education. They are worried about cuts they say could total $340 million or more in 2010. "A lot is at stake," said Carol Henderson, president of the Alberta Teachers' Association. "I really believe that if the cuts are at the magnitude we suspect they could be, we could see 3,000 fewer teachers in classrooms next year."

    7.  Washington.    Seattle study focuses on teacher quality.  The Seattle Times.  October 14, 2009.  By Linda Shaw, Seattle Times education reporter.  An independent study of teacher quality in Seattle Public Schools concludes that some district and state policies hamper efforts to put a good teacher in every classroom. The way teachers are evaluated, for example, means that just 16 of Seattle's nearly 3,500 teachers received an unsatisfactory rating last year. The nonprofit National Council on Teacher Quality, a research and advocacy group that conducted the study, also noted that Seattle elementary-school teachers are required to be at school only seven hours a day — 30 minutes less than their colleagues in middle and high schools, and 30 minutes less than the national average.

    NCTQ Study:

    8.  Oregon.    Survey heralds school squeeze: Classes are larger, offerings fewer and calendars shorter as districts cut back.  The Eugene Register-Guard.  October 14, 2009. By Anne Williams. A recent statewide survey confirms what was already abundantly clear to school employees but perhaps less so to students and parents: Class sizes are larger, course offerings are fewer and school calendars are shorter in many districts across the state. The online survey of school districts, conducted the last week of September by the Oregon Association of School Executives, the Oregon Association of School Business Officials and the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators, found class sizes on average have grown by about two students since 2008-09 — slightly less than that at elementary and middle schools, a bit more at high schools. Districts also reported reducing staff positions by between 5.6 percent and 6.2 percent on average — a decline that largely explains why course offerings, both electives and core subjects, have shrunk at many districts.

    9.  United States.    Big Jump Seen in Health Costs for Employees. The Wall Street Journal.  October 14, 2009.  By Anna Wilde Mathews. As companies begin unveiling their workplace benefits for next year, many employees are learning they will have to dig even deeper into their pockets for health coverage. Such price increases have become a fact of life during open-enrollment season, when workers sign up for their health plans. But the jump is expected to be steeper in 2010 than this year, as employers struggle with the impact of the recession and continually rising insurance costs. Employees will pay $4,023 on average in premiums and out-of-pocket charges next year, up 10% from 2009, according to a projection from Hewitt Associates, a benefits-consulting firm. In dollar terms, it's the biggest boost since the firm started keeping track of the data a decade ago

    10. Illinois.    Saucon Valley rejects teachers' proposal, walkout imminent.  The Chicago Tribune.  October 13, 2009. By Scott Kraus, Of The Morning Call.  Before a crowd of anxious parents and frustrated taxpayers, the Saucon Valley School Board voted unanimously tonight to reject the latest contract offer from the teachers union, setting the stage for a strike tomorrow morning -- the second in as many years. Eric Stever, spokesman for the Saucon Valley Education Association, said before the meeting that if the board rejected the contract, the teachers would strike. He said the teachers plan to stay out for the maximum time allowed by state law, about 15-17 days.,0,3845969.story?track=rss-topicgallery

    11. Oregon/U.S.    In class size, Oregon ranks No. 49.  By Betsy Hammond, The Oregonian. October 13, 2009,  For years, Oregon has had some of the biggest class sizes in the nation. Normally, we have about the fourth-highest number of students per teacher of any state, with Utah, California and Arizona commonly the only states worse than Oregon when it comes to packing kids into the classroom. But a new report, just out today from the National Center for Education Statistics, is even bleaker. It says that, during the 2007-08 school year, 48 other states managed to have fewer students per teacher than Oregon. That's right, when it comes to small classes, we're No. 49! The tally is taken each year, and the the latest count shows that Utah has the biggest classes, with 23.5 students for every teacher. Oregon is next, with 19.4 students for every teacher, just a hair better than Washington, at 19.2 students per teacher. Looking at the other end of the list could tempt you to move to the other Portland. In Maine, the feds say, there are just nine students for every teacher. That's right, nine.

    [It should be noted that the NCES reports student/teacher ratios, not class size numbers.  See below--RW]

    NCES Report:  "Across all regular public schools with membership, the student/teacher ratio in 2007-08 was 15.8; the ratio ranged from 9.0 in Maine to 23.5 in Utah (table 4). This is the number of students for each full-time equivalent (FTE) 3 teacher. The student/teacher ratio differed among school instructional levels: it was 15.6 in primary; 15.5 in middle; and 16.5 in high schools. The overall student/teacher ratio was smaller than the ratio of 16.6 in 2006-07 (Hoffman 2009)."

    12.  Oregon.    Fashion doesn't make the teacher, but it gets respect from students. By Wendy Owen, The Oregonian. October 12, 2009,
    Portland teacher Deb McGowanDeb McGowan knows the power of clothes. . . There is little research showing a correlation between teacher attire and student achievement or behavior, but some students and teachers across the Portland area believe it makes a difference. . . A 2009 Southern Illinois University Carbondale  study on the perceptions of teacher professionalism found research suggesting that "first impressions of teachers' professionalism are based on appearance (55%), voice (38%) and what they say (7%)."

    13. Colorado.    Colorado Plans to Lower Minimum Wage in 2010.  The NY Times. October 13, 2009 By DAN FROSCH. DENVER — When Coloradoans voted to tie the state’s minimum wage to inflation, they were trying to make sure low-wage workers did not fall too far behind the cost of living. But their vote has had an unintended consequence: Colorado plans to lower its minimum wage next year because of falling inflation rates, becoming the first state in the nation do so. The state’s Department of Labor and Employment said Tuesday that it planned to lower the minimum wage to $7.24 from $7.28, after an August federal consumer price index report showed that the cost of living had fallen in the state. A public hearing on the issue is set for next month.

    14.  Hawaii.    Hawaii parents may sue over furloughs. Lawyer for parents of special needs students warns of possible lawsuit. Honolulu Advertiser. October 13, 2009. By Loren Moreno, Advertiser Education Writer. An attorney representing parents of special needs students may ask the court to stop public school teacher furloughs that are to begin Oct. 23. Honolulu attorney Eric Seitz warned of the possible legal action in a letter to state Attorney General Mark Bennett last week, and the two will meet this week to discuss the plan to close schools on 17 Fridays this school year.

    15.  United States.    AP Interview: Ed chief says grants are for reforms.  The Washington Post. By LIBBY QUAID, The Associated Press
    Tuesday, October 13, 2009. WASHINGTON -- With states jockeying for extra school dollars from the economic stimulus, Education Secretary Arne Duncan reminded them Tuesday the point is to help kids do better. Cash-strapped states are competing for $5 billion in grants from the economic stimulus for changes the Obama administration wants, such as charter schools and teacher pay based on student performance. "It's really not about the money - it's about pushing a strong reform agenda that's going to improve student achievement," Duncan said in an interview with The Associated Press. States can't even apply for the money yet. Still, nine states have changed their laws or made budget decisions to improve their standing. The latest is California, where a bill was signed Sunday allowing student test scores to be used to evaluate teachers.

    16.  Florida.    Class size requirements: Full compliance closing in and looking costly, educators say.  The Orlando Sentinel. By Leslie Postal on Oct 12, 2009. Florida estimated its school districts would need to hire 6,447 new teachers -- at a cost of more than $391 million - to fully comply with the state's controversial class-size law by the start of the 2010-11 school year. Many Central Florida educators said Monday that the state's estimates are too conservative and that the number of teachers, and the cost, likely will be much higher.  Brevard, for example, said it might need 350 more teachers than the Florida Department of Education suggested, while Seminole said it might need 50 more. The class-size law, approved by voters in 2002, is being phased in, with the requirement that by 2010 there by a hard cap on the number of students in any classroom -- no more than 18 in the youngest grades, 22 in the middle ones and 25 in high school classes. . . Officials said the problem isn't only the cost of new teachers (and finding new rooms for them) but the complications that arise when you can't bump up class size. They know parents will not be happy if a first grade class is broken up mid-year because one new student arrived, nor will they be pleased if their high schooler is frozen out of French 2 or AP chemistry because there are a few too many students enrolled -- but not enough to justify another section (or a qualified teacher to run that extra section).

    17.  Massachuetts.    Mass. launching 'readiness centers' to provide support for public school teachers.  The Republican/MassLive By Peter Goonan. October 12, 2009. Gov. Deval L. Patrick has announced plans for six regional “readiness centers” across the state, including one serving the Pioneer Valley, designed to provide increased support and professional development for area teachers under education reform. Some local teacher association presidents said Monday they have not yet received the details of the new centers, but hope the new program proves beneficial for local educators and students. In a prepared statement, Patrick said his administration has selected six regional partnerships to establish the first-ever readiness centers.

    18.  Massachuetts.    Lesson for teachers union: It takes two to cooperate.  The Boston Globe-Editorial. October 12, 2009.  AS EDUCATION reform moves forward, Boston Teachers Union president Richard Stutman says he wants an inclusive process. Testifying at a recent State House hearing, Stutman told the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Education that “the solution to better school lies in working with us, not in working against us.’’ But no collaborative spirit is evident in the union’s resistance to bringing the acclaimed Teach for America program to Boston or creating more pilot schools. . . So here’s a word of advice to the BTU. If you want to be treated like a partner in school-improvement efforts, you have to show that you’re a willing partner.

    19.  United States.    Organized Against Labor.  Inside HigherEd. October 12, 2009. In the last few years, a conservative legal organization has filed complaints and extensive information requests to at least 11 colleges and universities with regard to labor centers that conduct research about and offer programs for unions. The American Association of University Professors, which has tracked the complaints, issued a statement about them Friday, charging that they are an attempt to violate the academic freedom of the academics who work in these programs. The requests have come from the Landmark Legal Foundation, which is a critic of organized labor. Landmark’s complaints have sought detailed information about the activities of the labor centers, and suggested that they should be eliminated for not advancing a “public purpose,” charging that these centers are simply about promoting a “particular political ideology.”

    20.  United States.    Steep Losses Pose Crisis for Pensions. Two Bad Choices for Funds: Cut Benefits Or Take Greater Risks to Rebuild Assets.  The Washington Post. By David Cho. October 11, 2009. The financial crisis has blown a hole in the rosy forecasts of pension funds that cover teachers, police officers and other government employees, casting into doubt as never before whether these public systems will be able to keep their promises to future generations of retirees. . . The upheaval on Wall Street has deluged public pension systems with losses that government officials and consultants increasingly say are insurmountable unless pension managers fundamentally rethink how they pay out benefits or make money or both.  Within 15 years, public systems on average will have less half the money they need to pay pension benefits, according to an analysis by Pricewaterhouse Coopers. Other analysts say funding levels could hit that low within a decade.

    21. Ontario.   Ron Wilson, Maple Leafs just not clicking. Toronto Star. By Damien Cox. October 11, 2009.

    [Well, I tried my best.  Just kidding :-)  --Ron]

    22.  Illinois.    Ottawa school superintendent commits suicide amidst ongoing teacher strike.  Chicago daily Observer. October 11, 2009. [This article was syndicated via RSS from Illinois Review. The views represented do not necessarily represent those of the Chicago Daily Observer.]  School board chairman "Skip" Hupp says the district's 7 day old teacher strike had nothing to do with Ottawa Township High School Superintendent John Harrison's apparent self-inflicted death yesterday in his home, but tensions were high when negotiations shut down Sunday, the area's News-Tribune reports. Ottawa Township High School will be closed again this week because the school board cannot meet teacher union contract demands. Union officials say the board is determined to break the teacher union.,75424

    23.  United States.    Does more school add up for kids?  McClatchy News Service. October 11, 2009. By ERIC ADLER. KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Teacher Kristin Bretch snaps instructions to her young charges, reading words from her teacher's guide, pacing in front of the white board like a drill sergeant. Here, at the Della Lamb Charter Elementary School, these lessons go on for 227 days, compared with the average 180 days of most U.S. school districts. . . Nationwide, the idea is gaining support. . . The example of other nations -- particularly where students routinely outperform U.S. kids on tests -- is often cited. German and Japanese students go about 240 days. In many nations, the average is 195, three weeks more than here. U.S. students spend 32 hours a week in school. In Luxembourg, Belgium, Denmark and Sweden, it's 37, 44, 53 and 60.

    24. Washington, DC.  Myths About Paying Good Teachers More.  The Washington Post. October 11, 2009. By Thomas Toch. Education Secretary Arne Duncan says paying public school teachers based on their performance is his "highest priority," and he plans to dole out hundreds of millions of dollars to states and school systems that embrace the idea. In the District, Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee has made such reform a cornerstone of her agenda -- and a backdrop to her recent move to lay off 229 teachers in response to budget cuts. But school reformers have been trying unsuccessfully to introduce performance pay in public education for decades. If today's reformers want to break the deadlock, they're going to have to let go of several myths hanging over the debate:

    25. California.    Schwarzenegger OKs school bill required by US law.  Houston Chronicle.  October 11, 2009. By DON THOMPSON Associated Press Writer © 2009 The Associated Press. SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California is removing a legal ban on using the results of student achievement tests to evaluate teachers, under a bill signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The bill lifts a barrier that prevented California from applying for $4.5 billion under the federal Race to the Top program. Schwarzenegger says more legislation is needed beyond the bill he signed Sunday. He has called lawmakers back into special session this fall.

    26. Washington, DC.    School Friction: Understanding the union attacks on D.C. Chancellor Michelle Rhee.  Editorial, Washington Post. October 11, 2009. AFL-CIO PRESIDENT Richard L. Trumka took center stage Thursday at a well-orchestrated rally in downtown Washington to denounce the "cold, hard" tactics of D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee. Washington Teachers' Union President George Parker wrote a letter that appeared on this page Friday saying that his organization has tried to collaborate with Ms. Rhee. There is the suggestion that Ms. Rhee's recent layoff of 229 teachers could dampen the chance of future cooperation. Let's review the record to examine the plausibility of those charges.

    27. Rhode Island.   Julia Steiny: Even students agree on improving teacher evaluations.  The Providence Journal. October 11, 2009. When two names were called for the public comment portion of the Board of Regents’ August meeting, 27 students stood up. Wearing the signature purple polo shirts of the Providence youth organization, Young Voices, the diverse high school students stood in support of their two spokespersons. They were speaking to the agenda item: Recommendations for the “Educator Evaluation System Standards.” For most city kids, education is the only ticket to an American dream. Good teachers matter hugely to them. So evaluations matter. The kids need state officials to take responsibility for the competence of the teachers.

    28.  Michigan.  School districts to feel pain of state budget cuts.  The Detroit News. October 10, 2009. By Mark Hornbeck AND Marisa Schultz. Lansing -- Michigan lawmakers at long last have passed a school aid budget that slashes per pupil spending by $165 -- and while district officials aren't happy, at least they finally know where they stand. When Gov. Jennifer Granholm signs the spending bill, as aides say she will, school districts will have the last piece of their financial puzzle in place more than three months after their budget year began. The school aid cut amounts to 2.3 percent, far less than reductions suffered by other areas of the state budget. A House-Senate conference committee initially approved a $218 per pupil reduction, but legislative leaders found $100 million in revenue. Lawmakers are trying to close a $2.8 billion hole in the 2010 fiscal year budget.

    29. Pennsylvania.    Finally, Rendell signs $27.8 billion Pa. budget.  Philadelphia Inquirer.  October 10, 2009. By Mario F. Cattabiani and Amy Worden, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau.
    HARRISBURG - With strokes of the pen that took only seconds, Gov. Rendell last night signed into law a $27.8 billion state budget 101 days in the making. With his "Edward G. Rendell" on three bills - taxes, spending, and the enabling fiscal code - the governor all but ended the nation's longest state budget impasse. More important, his signatures will speed checks to the counties, schools, and social-service agencies that have stretched and strained to make ends meet while awaiting their months-overdue state subsidies. . . The budget process, made more difficult this year by a deep recession and dwindling state revenues, cuts overall spending by more than 1 percent from last year while increasing public school funding by $300 million. Rendell had set the added education money as his precondition to any budget deal.

    30. United States.    Teacher Retirement Benefits:Are Employer Contributions Higher Than for Private Sector Professionals?  Education Next.  By Robert M. Costrell (University of Arkansas) and Michael Podgursky (University of Missouri-Columbia). February, 2009.

    31.  Saskatchewan.    Boards tackle budget pressure.  The Leader-Post. By James Wood, Canwest News Service; Saskatchewan News Network. September 4, 2009. The province's school boards lost a significant chunk of their authority this spring but trustees are hoping voters will still see their relevance this fall.  School board elections on Oct. 28 will be the first since the Saskatchewan Party government took away the ability of school boards to set their own mill rates as part of a large-scale education property tax relief plan.
    But Roy Challis, president of the Saskatchewan School Boards Association, said he hopes voters will actually pay more attention this time around because, in his view, the trustee position has become more important.

  • 09 Oct 2009 11:59 AM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    1.  Florida.  Broward Teachers Union wins grant for pay plan.  Miami Herald.  October 9, 2009. BY PATRICIA MAZZEI. The Broward Teachers Union received a grant Thursday to develop a new compensation plan that will use student scores on standardized tests, among other things, as one of the factors in determining teacher pay. The $125,000 prize -- awarded for the first time -- comes from the American Federation of Teachers, a national union that established an innovation fund for education reforms in public schools. ``Some people will be surprised that these proposals come from teachers unions,'' AFT President Randi Weingarten told reporters Thursday. ``But the truth is that our unions are not afraid to take risks and share responsibility for student success.''

    2.  Washington, DC.   Protesters Decry Layoffs in D.C. Schools.  AFL-CIO Chief Vows Support, Calling Rhee's Move 'Union Busting'   The Washington Post. October 9, 2009. By Bill Turque. Several thousand D.C. public school teachers and supporters, buoyed by fiery speeches from national labor leaders and local elected officials, rallied in Freedom Plaza on Thursday evening against layoffs imposed last week by Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee. Brandishing signs that read "This is not Rheezistan" and "Sweep Her Out," demonstrators demanded reinstatement of the 388 school employees, including 229 classroom teachers, who were fired to close what Rhee has described as a $43.9 million gap in the system's 2010 budget. Teachers union leaders say that the fiscal crisis was contrived to purge the system of veteran teachers, an accusation Rhee denies.

    [See also # 4 and 19 below.]

    3.  Connecticut.    How Johnny Learns Could Affect Teacher's Pay.  NBC-Conn.  By BOB CONNORS. Oct 8, 2009.  Should a teacher's pay be based on the performance of his or her students? The State Board of Education is grappling with that issue as it works out an application for funding under a new federal competition. To be eligible for the part of the $5 billion available in the  U.S. Department of Education's Race to the Top competition, applicants must show that performance assessments for teachers and school administrators are directly linked to student achievement. The state board is putting together a proposal for the competition that calls for dramatic improvements in 20 school districts. One of the proposals would be to make pay for teachers merit-based

    4.  Washington, DC.    'Feels Like My Heart Has Been Broken'. New and Veteran Teachers in D.C. Stunned By Their Dismissal, as Well as Handling of It.  The Washington Post. By Michael Birnbaum. October 8, 2009. A neat row of X's stretches down Eve McCarey's performance evaluation, showing that in category after category, she is someone who "exceeds expectations." With three years of experience as a special education teacher at Anacostia High School, she is hardworking, well-spoken and now unemployed.

    4a.  See also:  Teachers Sue District Over Layoffs.  The Washington Post Blog by Bill Turque. The Washington Teachers Union sued today to block last week's teacher layoffs, charging that District public school principals improperly targeted educators for dismissal on the basis of age or their willingness to speak out against administrators, union president George Parker said late this afternoon.

    5.  Rhode Island.   Rhode Island panel eyes conflicts of elected officials with union ties. The Providence Journal. October 7, 2009. By Steve Peoples. PROVIDENCE –– The state Ethics Commission is moving forward with a plan that would reverse a long-held position that largely guides the behavior of labor union members who are also elected officials. Critics have long contended that organized labor wields tremendous influence in state and local affairs, at least, in part, because union members serve in the General Assembly and in local town councils and school committees. The Ethics Commission has consistently ruled that such officials may vote on union issues, and even participate in contract negotiations, so long as they don’t belong to the specific local union involved. That may be about to change. While a final vote is at least a month away, the commission has drafted a proposal that would prohibit elected officials from participating in any union business that affects not only their specific local union, but also the umbrella organization — such as the National Education Association — to which they may belong.

    6.  Hawaii.    Isles could have shortest school year in nation, once dust settles.  The Honolulu Advertiser.  October 7, 2009. By Loren Moreno, Advertiser Education Writer. Once the 17 teacher furlough days are subtracted from the school calendar, Hawai'i public school students will likely have the fewest instructional days in the nation. Teacher furlough days, which begin on Oct. 23, will drop total instructional days in Hawai'i to 163, placing the state at the bottom of the list below North Dakota at 173. Most states provide students with 180 days of school. Only 11 states offer less than 180.

    7.  Florida.    Pasco School Board members cut own pay by $1,294.  The St. Petersburg Times. October 7, 2009. By Jeffrey S. Solochek. LAND O'LAKES — Pasco School Board members unanimously rejected a $24 pay raise out of hand when considering their salary on Tuesday. They cut their pay by $1,294 instead. Now they make the same amount as a first-year teacher with a bachelor's degree, $36,420 per year. . . Each year at this time, board members see their pay rate change slightly, following population-based formulas set by the state. This year was different because lawmakers said that board members should receive the state salary formula or the lowest teacher salary, whichever is less.

    8.  United States.   Community College Accountability.  Inside HigherEd. October 7, 2009. Accountability initiatives are not new to community colleges. But because scholars and educators have long disagreed about how to measure and compare the institutions' success in educating students, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Lumina Foundation for Education announced Tuesday their funding of an effort to create a national, voluntary accountability system for community colleges.

    9.  British Columbia.   Pressure on parents as B.C. school funding drops, cuts get deeper.  The Province.  October 6, 2009. By John Bermingham, The Province. Parents are having to pick up the tab to cover school-funding shortfalls out of their own pockets, according to the head of the group representing B.C.’s school parents. Provincial education cuts will limit field trips, curtail grad ceremonies and sideline school sports, Ann Whiteaker, president of the B.C. Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils, said Wednesday. And there will be more pressure on parents to raise money, after the loss of gaming revenues for parent advisory groups. . . For the first time, parents have teamed up with the heads of other key education groups, joined by the union representing school maintenance workers.

    10.  United States.   As Obama Advocates Longer School Year, Teachers' Unions Push for Shorter Weeks.  Fox News.  October 6, 2009.  By Kristin Thorne. President Obama is pushing for more hours in school, but some of his staunchest supporters are moving in the other direction -- seeking to adopt four-day school weeks as a way to avoid pay cuts and firings in the face of crumbling state budgets. . . In order to save everyone's job, teachers' union organizers in many states and school districts are advocating payless furloughs for all employees -- getting four days' pay for four days' work. But critics say the teachers are putting their own priorities above the students they're supposed to be nurturing, and that payless furloughs will cost the kids services and class time.

    11.  California.   West Contra Costa school district, hoping to avoid teacher strike.  Contra Costa Times.  October 6, 2009. By Shelly Meron. Even as West Contra Costa school officials say they hope to avoid a teacher strike, they are preparing as if a work stoppage is imminent. The teachers union isn't happy about it. The school district held three training sessions for potential substitutes during the past two weeks, and at each session, union members gathered outside to give those possible replacements a piece of their minds. . .  Preparing for a possible strike is "the responsible thing to do," district spokesman Marin Trujillo said. "In the absence of any ongoing communication with the union, that's the right thing to do. But we hope to avoid the strike and come back to the table."

    12.  United States.   Economic Snapshot for October 2009.  Center for American Progress.  October 6, 2009. By Christian E. Weller.
    1. The U.S. economy is still shrinking. 2. Job losses continue. 3. Unemployment stays high among the most vulnerable. 4. The unemployed are out of a job for long periods. 5. Employer-provided benefits continue to disappear. 6. Family incomes drop sharply in the recession. 7. Poverty continues to rise. 9. Many houses are empty and home sales are still sluggish. 10. Mortgage troubles mount. 11. Families feel the pressure.

    13.  Colorado.   Denver Teachers Approve Revised Contract With Lower Pay Raises.  Education Week. October 6, 2009.  By Associated Press. Comments  Denver teachers have overwhelmingly approved a revised contract with a 2.5 percent cost-of-living raise and 1.65 percent stipend if the economy improves.

    14.  Colorado.  Boulder Valley School District riles teachers union with mailing on strike possibility.  The Denver Post. October 6, 2009. By Monte Whaley. A letter sent to Boulder Valley School District parents telling them of steps officials will take should there be a teacher strike was not meant to influence negotiations, a district spokesman said. But Melissa Tingley, head of the teachers union, said the letter is trying to get parents to take sides in the conflict between the Boulder Valley Education Association and the district. "It's a shame that the district is trying to create unnecessary fear with the parent community," Tingley said. Mediation between the district and the 1,500-member teacher union collapsed Sept. 17, and the association filed notice with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment of a possible strike. The union wants changes to the professional salary schedule that will move pay higher more quickly. The district says it can't afford the changes this year.

    15.  Kansas.    State budget crisis makes it harder for Kansas school districts, teachers to come to agreement. One-fifth of districts still without finalized contracts.  KTKA 49 News. October 5, 2009. Story by George Diepenbrock.Teachers in one-fifth of Kansas school districts are working this year without new contracts even though school has been in session for weeks. Researchers say the state budget crisis has loomed large on talks this year. “Districts are trying to figure out a way to do something but not build it in because next year is going to be even worse,” said Jim Hays, a research specialist with the Kansas Association of School Boards. After districts had extra money to work with the past few years, the recession hit them hard forcing many to cut services for savings. The numbers also affected bargaining talks. According to KASB data through last Friday, the median base salary and fringe benefits package for teachers is $36,810 in districts that have new teacher contracts — a 1.2 percent increase from 2008-2009. The past two years, the median percentage increase was 4 percent each year.

    16.  Massachuetts.   Teachers union’s objection bolstered. State panel finds contract disparity. The Boston Globe. By James Vaznis October 5, 2009 The Boston Teachers Union’s objection to the Teach for America program has sparked an investigation by the state Division of Labor Relations, which has determined that a strong likelihood exists that the Boston School Committee violated the union contract when signing an agreement with the highly regarded national program.

    17.  Florida.    Miami-Dade teachers to get long-awaited pay raise. After a 16-month impasse, the Miami-Dade school district and teachers union have agreed to a three-year contract.  Miami Herald.  October 5, 2009. BY KATHLEEN McGRORY AND ROBERT SAMUELS. Miami-Dade's teachers can expect to see a boost in their salaries -- the first in more than a year -- after the school district and teachers union hammered out an agreement Monday night. The three-year agreement ends a stalemate that began in June 2008, when then-Superintendent Rudy Crew told the United Teachers of Dade there wasn't enough money in the budget to pay for promised salary increases. He froze salaries for the 2008-2009 school year.  The county's 22,000 teachers have worked without a contract since the fiscal year began in July.

    18.  United States.   Teacher Union Legislators: Who's Representing Whom? EIA Communique.  October 5, 2009.  We usually measure teacher union political influence by PAC contributions, lobbying expenditures, campaign volunteers, phone banks and media buys. Not a lot of attention has been paid to union officers and activists who are also elected public officials. There are union employees and officers serving on school boards and state legislatures across the country.

    19.  Washington, DC.   District Schools Lay Off Teachers.  The Washington Post. October 3, 2009. By Bill Turque and Emma Brown
    Washington Post Staff Writers.In one of the most turbulent days in its recent history, the D.C. public schools system laid off more than 200 teachers Friday and coped with the abrupt loss of its 300 security guards, whose company went out of business overnight Thursday. The combination of events, which included a skirmish between students and police at McKinley Technology High School that resulted in two arrests, highlighted the challenges faced by Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee and Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) as they struggle to reform the troubled system in lean economic times. The layoffs were the deepest cuts for the school system since 2003.

    19a.  See also:  Editorial: Dismissals for D.C. Schools. Ms. Rhee's systemwide layoffs, while painful, are a step toward improving the city's classrooms. The Washington Post. October 3, 2009. NEW YORK CITY schools are notorious for their rubber rooms, holding tanks for incompetent teachers who are paid full salaries to do nothing. D.C schools don't have rubber rooms but an even worse situation: Bad teachers stay in the classroom. It's a problem too long tolerated by school officials. So, as painful as Friday's layoffs are, D.C. Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee was right to shake up her instructional force.

    19c.  See also:  DC Teacher Evaluation System-IMPACT

    20.  United States.   Teacher Compensation and Teacher Quality.  Committee on Economic Development, Washington, DC.  October 2, 2009.  Statement by the Policy & Impact Committee.  The purpose of the statement is to issue "a call to arms to our fellow business leaders and others interested in the quality of public schools to become (1) informed about current compensation policies and options for improvement and (2) active proponents of change at all levels of government."  The report goes on to state that: "Policy makers should support the “enabling conditions” that are necessary for designing and implementing new compensation systems that encourage genuine instructional improvement and increased student learning. These include (1) more eff ective teacher evaluation and professional development systems, (2) better student and teacher data systems, (3) sustainable funding, (4) state and federal policies that incentivize districts to create new forms of pay and remove obstacles to their doing so, and (5) wide stakeholder involvement in the process of compensation reform.

    21.  Illinois.   Latest On Ottawa High Strike.  WLPO News.  October 2, 2009. It looks like the teacher’s union and school board are taking the weekend off from negotiating. Teacher representative Glenn Weatherford says there are no plans to meet with the school board or a mediator this weekend.  The sides met for six hours last night but still can’t agree on salary and health insurance. All weekend activities involving Ottawa High School are cancelled.

    21a.  See also: Teachers on strike at Ottawa High School.  WAND TV. Associated Press - September 29, 2009 10:34 PM ET. OTTAWA, Ill. (AP) - Authorities say last-minute talks have failed to avert a teachers' strike at Ottawa High School. Ottawa Township High School Education Association president Glenn Weatherford says talks Tuesday broke down after about four hours, so Wednesday's classes have been canceled for the school's 1,600 students. The teachers were objecting to a school board offer that would require them to chip in for family health insurance coverage.

    22.  Illinois.    Send disruptive students to separate school: Teachers Union president.  Chicago Sun-Times. October 1, 2009. Chicago Teachers Union President Marilyn Stewart said Thursday that disruptive students should be taken out of regular classrooms and put in a separate school until they are ready to behave. “Chicago needs an effective alternative school for chronically disruptive students,” Stewart told the City Club of Chicago. “These students need separate placement so they can learn to manage their behavior and to get the education they need and deserve.”,marilyn-stewart-disruptive-students-school-100109.article

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