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). 
  • 31 Jul 2009 12:01 PM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    1.  United States.      Business Is Brisk for Teacher Training Alternatives.  The Washington Post.  July 31, 2009.  By Michael Alison Chandler. The high unemployment rate has provided an unexpected boon for the nation's public schools: legions of career-switchers eager to become teachers. . . In many places, there are more converts to teaching than there are jobs, except in hard-to-fill posts in science, math and special education classes. But the wave of applicants might ease teacher shortages expected to develop as 1.7 million baby boomers retire from the public schools during the next decade.

    2.  Florida.    Teachers sue over hiring.  South Florida Sun-Sentinel.  July 31, 2009.  By Kathy Bushouse.  The Broward Teachers Union sued the Broward School District on Wednesday to halt the hiring of new teachers, saying the district hasn't provided all the information needed to ensure that the most number of laid-off teachers are rehired.  School Board members voted in June to lay off nearly 400 teachers, though at least 124 have been rehired. But the district also is hiring 89 teachers from the outside for vacancies they say laid-off teachers aren't qualified to fill.,0,3996759.story

    3.  Connecticut.      Teacher Seniority Rules Deserve An 'F'  Hartford Courant.  By Rick Green  July 31, 2009. When the Hartford schools cut dozens of positions this spring, it set off a dominoes-falling chain of events, preserving the jobs of veteran teachers over the needs of students and schools. Because of seniority rules, veteran teachers bumped out those with fewer years on the job, but who were more experienced at their particular positions. This is the sort of trade-union, teachers-are-widgets mentality that will hold back real reform in Hartford. More than ever, we need the best teachers in the jobs they do best — not the ones who've been warming a seat the longest.,0,7913948.column

    4.  California.    Editorial:  Teachers unions, listen up. The Los Angeles Times.  July 31, 2009.  When even your best friends aren't on your side, it's time to pay attention. Teachers unions in California would be wise to listen as new challenges to their most cherished doctrines come from the very politicians they have counted on as allies.,0,6170898.story

    5.  United States.     Class sizes grow as school budgets shrink.  USA Today.  July 30, 2009.  By Libby Quaid, The Associated Press
    WASHINGTON — Like a seesaw on the school playground, falling state budgets are pushing class sizes higher. The recession is forcing districts to lay off teachers even as the economic stimulus pumps billions of dollars into schools. As a result, classrooms across the country will be more crowded when school starts in the fall.

    6.  United States.    5 dumb ways bosses lose A players.  HRRecruiting Alert. July 30, 2009 by Sam Narisi.  The five ways are: 1. Blaming others instead of taking responsibility; 2. Refusing to make timely decisions; 3. Being untrustworthy; 4.Accepting free passes [for themselves]; 5. Hogging credit.

    7.  United States.        Management Lab Manual.  PEW Center on the States.  July 30, 2009.  The need for innovative management solutions is more important than ever as states face challenging economic times and increased demands for greater service. The Management Lab Manual is a resource for state officials to demonstrate what has worked in other states in addressing common management challenges. The manual highlights promising management practices identified through the Grading the States 2008 analysis and our continued work with state leaders around the country.  Sections include: Performance Auditing and Evaluation; Fiscal Responsibility; Health, Pension and Other Post-Employment Benefits; Workforce Development; Employee Performance to just name a few.

    8.  Washington.      When budgets get rough, states get gimmicky.  Seattle Post-Intellingencer. July 30, 2009.  By CURT WOODWARD, ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER. OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Here's one creative way that state lawmakers helped balance Washington's troubled budget: They assumed public employees will stay on the job longer - and die sooner than expected once they finally retire. That bit of fancy footwork, which saved the state about $45 million, is just one entry on a long list of financial gimmicks that legislators nationwide have cooked up to patch holes in their states' budgets. It's a roster of shell games that might land the average taxpayer on a collection agency's speed-dial list. But when times are tough, public officials aren't shy about juggling the books to make a short-term budget problem disappear.

    9.  California.    Governor signs $84.5 billion spending plan.  San Francisco Chronicle.  By Wyatt Buchanan, Chronicle Sacramento Bureau. Wednesday, July 29, 2009. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday ended the months-long saga over California's enormous budget deficit, but not before slashing nearly half a billion dollars more from services to the poor, sick and elderly.

    10.  United States.      How Pay & Healthcare Benefits Collide.  Compensation Cafe. July 29, 2009.  I just read a few studies that have rearranged my assumptions about health care costs, for myself and for employees. . . “The fundamental nature of medical risk in the United States has changed over the past 20 to 30 years—shifting away from random, infrequent, and catastrophic events driven by accidents, genetic predisposition, or contagious diseases and toward behavior- and lifestyle-induced chronic conditions.  Treating them, and the serious medical events they commonly induce, now costs more than treating the more random, catastrophic events that health insurance was originally designed to cover . . . What’s more, the number of people afflicted by chronic conditions continues to grow at an alarming rate.”

    11.  California.      California schools chief reacts to U.S. criticism on teacher evaluation.  The LA Times.  By Seema Mehta.  July 28, 2009. lifornia's top education official sought Tuesday to counter federal criticism of the state's reluctance to use student test scores to evaluate teachers, paying a visit to Long Beach to highlight one of the few California school districts to make extensive use of such data.,0,4522983.story

    12.  New Jersey.     Lakewood school administrators get contract with performance incentives.  Asbury Park Press. By Zach Patberg • TOMS RIVER BUREAU • July 28, 2009. LAKEWOOD — The township Board of Education recently concluded contract negotiations with the administrators' union that for the first time offer merit pay for administrators whose schools perform well. The district is one of the first in Monmouth and Ocean counties to offer the incentive, unpopular among certain educators, that will give $3,000 to the principal of a school that meets state performance standards for the year. The vice principal will receive $2,000.

    13.  Michigan.      Educators back Dillon health care plan.  The Detroit News.  July 28, 2009. By Karen Bouffard / Detroit News Lansing Bureau. Lansing -- A plan to pool teachers' health benefits with those of state and other public employees was backed by more than a dozen statewide education groups today. But the plan put forth by House Speaker Andy Dillon, D-Redford Township, was challenged by teachers' unions that questioned how much money it would save and when he would offer details.

    14.  Georgia.     State clears way for teacher furloughs.  The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. July 28, 2009. Citing an unprecedented drop in state revenues, the State Board of Education cleared the way Tuesday to furlough teachers for three days -- and possibly as many as seven more. Officials have estimated that the state can save $33 million a day for each day that the state’s 120,000 teachers take unpaid furloughs. . . A majority of the state’s 180 school systems expect to have furloughs, and they could not do that without the State Board of Education waiving the requirement that teachers work 190 days -- 180 in the classroom and 10 days in planning or training.

    15.  United States.     Public Education Finances 2006-2007.  U.S. Census Bureau.  July 28, 2009.  Every five years, the U.S. Census Bureau conducts a Census of Government Finance.  This report contains financial statistics relating to public elementary-secondary education. It includes national and state financial aggregates and display data for each public school system with an enrollment of 10,000 or more.  Table 17 (page 94) in the report tracks per pupil expenditures for Salary and Benefits across Instruction, Support, and Administration.

    16.  Kansas.     Officials outline ‘terrible’ effect that budget cuts have had on higher education.  Lawrence Journal-World & News. By Scott Rothschild. July 28, 2009. Topeka — Budget cuts have forced state universities in Kansas to shed approximately 655 positions, reduce class offerings and increase class sizes, officials said Tuesday. And the fear is that more cuts will be needed because of the recession that has eaten into state tax revenues. . . Statewide, universities have reduced personnel by 655 through layoffs, vacant positions that are held open, and eliminated positions, according to Kansas Board of Regents President Reginald Robinson. State funding to higher education has been cut from $853 million before the recession to $753 million, Robinson said.

    17.  United States.      As Charter Schools Unionize, Many Debate Effect.  The NY Times. By SAM DILLON. Published: July 26, 2009. CHICAGO — Dissatisfied with long hours, churning turnover and, in some cases, lower pay than instructors at other public schools, an increasing number of teachers at charter schools are unionizing. . . But the unionization effort raises questions about whether unions will strengthen the charter movement by stabilizing its young, often transient teaching force, or weaken it by preventing administrators from firing ineffective teachers and imposing changes they say help raise achievement, like an extended school year. “A charter school is a more fragile host than a school district,” said Paul T. Hill, director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington. “Labor unrest in a charter school can wipe it out fast. It won’t go well for unions if the schools they organize decline in quality or go bust.”

    18.  New York.      CITY SIGNS UP FOR TEACHER-RATING PROGRAM.  NY Post.  July 25, 2009.  By YOAV GONEN Education Reporter. Just as federal officials begin pushing school systems to evaluate teachers based on their students' performance, the city has inked a deal with the University of Wisconsin to expand a program that can do just that. The contract will pay the Wisconsin Center for Education Research $840,000 over three years to produce individual teacher reports based on how their students performed on state reading and math tests.

    19.  California.      Union Accepts Furloughs at California Universities.  The NY Times. By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. Published: July 25, 2009 SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A union that represents 22,000 faculty members at California State University has agreed to two furlough days a month to help close a huge budget deficit at the 23-campus system, officials said Friday. Members of the union, the California Faculty Association, voted for the furloughs, which amount to a 10 percent pay cut, over the coming academic year. The move was approved by 54 percent of 8,800 union members.

    20. United States.  President Obama, U.S. Secretary of Education Duncan Announce National Competition to Advance School Reform. U.S. Dept of Education.  July 24, 2009. Proposed rules were published for a competitive grant program for states leading the way on school reform.  Eligible districts will be able to compete for $4.35 billion in Race to the Top competitive grants to support education reform and innovation in classrooms.  The national competition will highlight and replicate effective education reform strategies in four significant areas: (1) Adopting internationally benchmarked standards and assessments that prepare students for success in college and the workplace; (2) Recruiting, developing, rewarding, and retaining effective teachers and principals; (3) Building data systems that measure student success and inform teachers and principals how they can improve their practices; and (4) Turning around our lowest-performing schools. Comments on the rules should be submitted in 30 days with the Final Rules then published subsequently.

    21.  United States.      Community Colleges: A Brief History.  National Association of Scholars.  July 23, 2009.  By Glenn Ricketts.

    22.  United States.      Have it your way: 4 most effective persuasion techniques.  CFO Daily News. July 23, 2009 by Jennifer Azara. Who doesn’t need to get a co-worker, customer or vendor to see things their way? Check out the top four ways to persuade others, according to EruptingMind Self Improvement. More importantly – here’s when to use which:

  • 24 Jul 2009 1:03 PM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    1.  United States.       New Fiscal Year Brings No Relief From Unprecedented State Budget Problems.  Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.  July 24, 2009. By Elizabeth C. McNichol and Iris Lav. At least 48 states have addressed or still face shortfalls in their budgets for fiscal year 2010 totaling $163 billion. This includes new shortfalls of $24 billion that have opened up in the adopted 2010 budgets of at least 12 states and the District of Columbia, just two weeks into the new fiscal year.

    2.  United States.      Opinion: Education Reform's Moon Shot.  The Washington Post.  By Arne Duncan [US Secrtry of Education]. Friday, July 24, 2009.  "Today, President Obama is to announce the draft guidelines for applying for the $4.35 billion Race to the Top fund -- by far the largest pot of discretionary funding for K-12 education reform in the history of the United States."

    See alsoPresident Obama Discusses New 'Race to the Top' Program.  The Washington Post. By Michael D. Shear and Nick Anderson, Washington Post Staff Writers. Thursday, July 23, 2009; 5:29 PM.  Transcript of interview.

    3.  United States.      [Obama] Administration Takes Aim at State Laws on Teachers.  The NY Times. By SAM DILLON. Published: July 23, 2009. The Obama administration took aim on Thursday at state laws — adopted after heavy teachers’ union lobbying — barring the use of student achievement data to evaluate teacher performance. The federal Department of Education proposed rules to prevent states with such laws from getting money from a $4.3 billion-educational innovation fund. Money from the Race to the Top Fund is to be distributed in two stages, late this year and in 2010, by Education Secretary Arne Duncan to a handful of states with positive records of what the department considers school reform as well as plans for additional improvement. Legislatures in New York, California and some other states have enacted laws that limit, to one degree or another, use of student achievement data in teacher performance evaluations. Both national teachers’ unions oppose the use of student testing data to evaluate individual teachers, arguing in part that students are often taught by several teachers and that teacher evaluations should be based on several measures of performance, not just test scores.

    4.  California.      Budget to reshape the Golden State.  The Los Angeles Times. By Mitchell Landsberg. July 22, 2009. Roads will be rougher, classrooms fuller and textbooks more tattered. The odds of encountering someone fresh out of prison will almost certainly be higher.If the budget deal crafted by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and top legislative leaders is passed by the Legislature and survives the inevitable court challenges, California will undergo perhaps the biggest downscaling of government in its history.,0,2501792.story

    5.  Michigan.      DPS vacates 2,600 jobs at 41 schools.  The Detroit News.  July 22, 2009. By Marisa Schultz. Detroit -- About 2,600 Detroit Public Schools teachers and staff will have to reapply for their jobs by Friday or face losing their positions under a massive shakeup that has union leaders crying foul. Forty-one schools will be "reconstituted" and all staff positions among them have been declared vacant, according to a human resources notice circulated at schools Tuesday. Every teacher, counselor, aide, specialist and assistant at these schools must request an interview with their principals this week.

    6.  California.       Budget Woes Continue to Plague California Colleges.  U.S. News & World Report. July 21, 2009. By Jeff Greer. Last night's budget settlement in California is good news for the Golden State. . . The plan to close the state's $26.3 billion deficit includes some serious cuts in the California state university system. . . Yudof is expected to institute 4-to-10 percent pay cuts by September 1. He also said that university employees must agree to take from 11 to 26 unpaid days off—based on pay scale—or face significant layoffs. . . But that announcement caused major protests from university employees, who do not believe the furloughs are necessary. . . Meanwhile, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported that while the furloughs and cuts will seriously damage the university system now, the future of the state's colleges might be at even greater risk. Once money from the Obama administration's stimulus package stops flowing—and California has already spent a lot of its stimulus cash—California's university system might face some serious financial trouble.

    7.  Illinois.    Millions cut from education initiatives.  Chicago Sun-Times.  July 22, 2009. BY ROSALIND ROSSI. State education officials Tuesday slashed millions of dollars from dozens of initiatives -- ranging from preschool to after-school to gifted programs -- and warned of a "catastrophic'' year ahead, when $2 billion in federal stimulus dollars will dry up. Acting in emergency session, State Board of Education members faced with shrunken state revenues approved a $7.26 billion budget for this coming school year, down $146 million, or 2 percent, from fiscal year 2009.,CST-NWS-educ22web.article

    8.  Massachusetts.     Menino, teachers union grow further apart.  The Boston Globe.  July 22, 2009.  By James Vaznis.  When Mayor Thomas M. Menino of Boston announced his support of charter schools last month after years of opposition, he lauded their ability to attract and retain top-notch teachers, tailor lessons to students’ needs, and create flexible workplace rules. The most pressing cause of his conversion, however, went unmentioned: his growing frustration with the Boston Teachers Union, which over the last few months had scuttled or stalled one key initiative after another, from education overhaul efforts to cost-saving measures. For years, the union had successfully prevailed upon the mayor to resist charter schools, union-free institutions that divert money away from other public schools, but he was no longer willing to abide by their wishes.

    9.  United States.     States' budget pain eclipses last recession.  By Stephen C. Fehr and Daniel C. Vock.  PHILADELPHIA — The current recession — now 19 months long and still going — already has forced states to deal with greater budget shortfalls than they faced in the five years it took them to recover from the last national recession after the 2001 terrorist attacks. New figures from the National Conference of State Legislatures show that states scrambling to balance their budgets already have closed at least $268.6 billion in gaps between projected spending and revenues since the recession started in December 2007. As a result of the previous eight-month-long recession, states erased $263.8 billion in red ink from fiscal 2002 to fiscal 2006.

    10.  Georgia.    Perdue calls on teachers to take furloughs to fill $900 million hole.  Georgia Gold Dome Live Blog. July 21, 2009, by Aaron Gould Sheinin. Public schools and Medicaid will face 3 percent cuts to their budgets, and teachers face the rare prospect of unpaid furloughs as state leaders move to fill a $900 million budget hole. Gov. Sonny Perdue on Tuesday announced that he and top lawmakers have struck a deal that allows them to avoid a special legislative session and provides the governor flexibility to tackle the latest in a heartbreaking string of cuts. Most agencies will face a 5 percent budget cut. Some will be higher; some lower, Perdue said. Every state employee, meanwhile, must take three furlough days before the end of the calendar year, he said.

    See also:  Teachers groups angry over furloughs.  July 23, 2009. By Alyse Knorr. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

    11.  Maryland.     Successful charter school cuts staff, hours over union contract.  KIPP Ujima says it can't afford overtime. Baltimore Sun.  By Liz Bowie. July 21, 2009. Baltimore's most successful middle school is laying off staff and shortening its school day to meet demands of a teachers union contract in what is one of the first major disputes over teacher pay between a charter school and a union. KIPP Ujima Village Academy, based on a model that has forged a successful track record among poor students in more than a dozen states, has been violating a contract requiring teachers to be paid more if they work extra hours, school and union leaders acknowledge. After seven years of ignoring the issue, the Baltimore Teachers Union told the charter school earlier this year that it must pay its teachers 33 percent more than other city school teachers because they were working nine hours and 15 minutes a day, as well as every other Saturday. The standard workday for teachers is seven hours and five minutes. KIPP leaders say the majority of its more than two dozen teachers are comfortable with their hours and pay, but the union spokeswoman, Jessica Aldon, said the union was responding to complaints. Advocates say the confrontation goes to the heart of what they see as a major weakness of Maryland's charter school law: Teachers must be part of the union in their school district and subject to the contract. If the issue is not resolved, KIPP may ask state lawmakers to allow schools greater flexibility in determining teachers' pay and workdays.,0,5806375.story

    Rebuttal from Union President:  Union: KIPP broke the contract.  Baltimore Sun.  July 22, 2009.,0,3839406.story

    12.  United States.      Pay Increases & Structure Adjustments on Comeback Trail? Compensation Force.  July 22, 2009. Today Watson Wyatt released advance data from its upcoming 2009/2010 Salary Budget Survey.  Watson Wyatt's high level findings appear consistent with the data released recently by WorldatWork, which showed 2009 actual salary increases (including companies granting no increases) averaging 2.2% and 2010 projected salary increases (same sample) averaging 2.8%.  While these are indeed, as WorldatWork pointed out in their release, record low increase levels, they are also indicative of a salary increase rebound (of sorts) in 2010.

    13.  Michigan.      Detroit Schools on the Brink [of Bankruptcy].  The Wall Street Journal.  July 21, 2009.  By ALEX P. KELLOGG. DETROIT -- Detroit's public-school system, beset by massive deficits and widespread corruption, is on the brink of following local icons GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy court.  A decision on whether to file for protection under federal bankruptcy laws will be made by the end of summer, according to Robert Bobb, Detroit Public Schools' emergency financial manager. Such a filing would be unprecedented in the U.S. Although a few major urban school districts have come close, none has gone through with a bankruptcy, according to legal and education experts.

    14.  United States.       Separation By Degrees: State-By-State analysis of Teacher Comepnsation for Master's Degrees.  Center on Reinventing Public Education.  July 20, 2009.  By Marguerite Roza and Raegan Miller.  This report argues that teachers salaries increase each year with longevity and graduate credits making them destined to escalate, and yet they have little link to student achievement.   When many school districts will face stagnant or declining resources re-examining automatic cost escalators will be necessary.  Since "on average, master's degree in education bear no relation to student achievement" the authors conclude that the "long-cherished 'master's bump' makes little sense from a strategic point of view."

    15.  California.      Deal reached to close Calif's $26B budget deficit.  Houston Chronicle.  By JUDY LIN Associated Press Writer © 2009 The Associated Press July 20, 2009, 11:33PM.  SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and California's legislative leaders agreed Monday on a plan to close the state's $26 billion budget shortfall, potentially getting the state back on firm financial ground so it can stop issuing IOUs. . . A legislative source familiar with the negotiations, who was not identified because no one was authorized to release details of the agreement, told The Associated Press the cuts included $6 billion to K-12 schools and community colleges.

    See also:  California Reaches Budget Deal, With Billions Cut.  NY Times. By JENNIFER STEINHAUER. Published: July 20, 2009. . . One of the biggest sticking points was over the $11 billion already cut from public schools. The budget deal calls for roughly $650 million more in cuts. Under California law, though, the state is on the hook to pay that money back, something it has not done in the past. So lawmakers have written legislation guaranteeing that the money goes back to schools. The governor had faced strong criticism from the state’s teachers’ union.

    16.  United States.      Planet Money:  How Companies Decide What To Pay Their Workers.  National Public Radio. July 20, 2009.  By Chana Joffe-Walt.  Determining salaries in many cases is much more of an art than a science. Performance bonuses, salary ranges and wage increases can be difficult territory for both employers and employees.

    For a reaction to this story see: Today's Top Story: Your Opinion Counts.  Compensation Cafe.  Juy 21, 2009.

    17.  New Mexico.     Merit pay for teachers: Is New Mexico ready?   The New Mexico Independent.  By Trip Jennings 7/16/09.  Some state officials say New Mexico should consider studying merit pay for teachers. A legislative committee has recommended studying and designing a pilot project, and the state’s education secretary says she’s considering the idea.  In July 2004 New Mexico’s three-tier licensure system went into effect, upping public school teachers’ pay by establishing a minimum salary of $30,000 and creating a progression of pay increases that are linked to three levels of teaching licenses. The most experienced teachers who achieve certain benchmarks to earn a Level III teaching license receive a base salary of $50,000. . . Citing the lack of comparable student achievement, the LFC recommended a pilot pay-for-performance project that would provide bonuses or incentives to high-performing teachers in general and even greater incentives to high-performing teachers that relocate to high-need schools. . . Garcia and others say merit pay is worth considering, but only if a more comprehensive set of data than student standardized test scores is used to assess teachers.

    N.M. Legislative Committee Report:

    18.  United States.    "But the Pension Fund was Just Sitting There . . . :" The Politics of Teacher Retirement Plans.  Frebruary 2009.  American Enterprise Institute.  By Frederick Hess and Juliet Squire.  "The tension at the heart of pension politics is the incentive to sarisy today's claimants in the here-and-now at the expense of long-term concerns. . . Teacher pensions, in particular, pose two challenges. . . political incentives invite irresponsible fiscal stewardship . . . [such] incentives hinder modernization, as policymakers avoid the politically perilous task of altering plans."  Illustrations are provided from New Jersey, Oregon and San Diego.

    Additional Resource:  Confused about the Health Care Debate in the U.S.?  Here is a nonpartisan voter's guide that purports "to help you make sense of what politicians are saying, at least when it comes to the critical issues facing our country. We lay out some key facts along with different points of view about how to address the issue. Each comes with some potential costs and tradeoffs– because every plan has both pros and cons, and a voter should face both honestly."  The publication is "Your Money or Your Life? Clarifying the Health Care Debate."  Public Agenda.  July 2009.

  • 17 Jul 2009 11:40 AM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    1.  Michigan.      The Nature of Teachers Unions.  Mackinac Center.  By Mr. Michael D. Van Beek / Posted: July 17, 2009.  Budget problems are the norm for Michigan school districts these days.  . .  As school boards make difficult budgetary decisions and prepare to negotiate with unions, it is important for them to remember the true mission of teachers unions. . . Priority number one for teachers unions is to provide representation and fight for the interests of their members. Often, the NEA and MEA disguise this purpose. In fact, the very name "education association" is misleading. They represent the interests of teachers and other school employees, not the entire education system.

    2.  California.      Proposition 98, which guards funding for state's schools, is tested again.  Los Angeles Times.  July 17, 2009.  By Eric Bailey.  Reporting from Sacramento -- For years it has been this government town's equivalent of a stone fortress, a bastion of public policy under the watchful eye of a potent political army. But this summer, Proposition 98, the law that guarantees public schools roughly 40% of general fund revenue, is being tested as it has been only a few times before. . . Schwarzenegger has talked of suspending Proposition 98 and has reopened a battle with the law's guardian and protector, the powerful California Teachers Assn. Both sides have waged war over the airwaves for the last week, with dueling TV commercials typically not seen in a nonelection year.,0,2429437.story?track=rss

    [NOTE:  See also #13 below.-RW]

    3.  Indiana.      Teachers' pay being tied to test scores. The IndyStar. By Andy Gammill.  July 16, 2009.  The Indiana Department of Education will offer the chance for cash bonuses [$5,000] to help draw teachers to the state's lowest-performing schools in a program that will for the first time tie Hoosier teachers' pay to students' test scores. Districts can opt into the program for schools that have failed to meet state and federal benchmarks for more than five years. . . The state concept of the program is to pay teachers the bonus for the first year regardless of how their students perform, in effect rewarding teachers for a history of high achievement rather than the scores for that year. It also grants the same amount of bonus pay as long as the threshold is met, rather than a sliding scale based on how well students perform. That raises questions of whether standardized test scores of students are a fair way to evaluate teachers, how to implement such a program and whether it's legal in Indiana.

    4.  United States.      Pay Communication: Is Our Objective Transparency ... or Clarity?  CompForce.  July 16, 2009.  What exactly should we be shooting for in our pay communication efforts?  Is it transparency ... or is it clarity? In a post today on his Harvard Business Publishing blog, John Maeda (President of the Rhode Island School of Design) makes the point that these are two very different things, and that we must take care not to confuse them.  From Maeda's post: Full transparency is access to all the facts. Full clarity, on the other hand, is access to a full understanding of the facts.

    5.  United States.      Salary Compression.  Inside HigherEd.  By Dean Dad Blog  July 15, 2009 9:21 pm. In the discussion after the post about counteroffers a couple of days ago, several commenters raised the issue of salary compression. For the uninitiated, 'salary compression' typically refers to new hires coming in at salaries higher than those of people who are already working there. It can happen pretty easily if internal salaries are based on pre-set, lockstep raises, but the rate of change in the outside world has been faster. Incumbent employees usually perceive salary compression as unfair, since people with less seniority are getting more money.

    6.  Nebraska.      Governor, education officials to discuss teacher salaries.  Lincoln Journal-Star.  July 14, 2009. By MARGARET REIST.  School board representatives will meet Tuesday with Gov. Dave Heineman to discuss a letter he sent teachers [unions] encouraging them to advocate for higher salaries. . . The governor said in the letter the $234 million in federal stimulus money used to bolster state aid to schools over the next two years should be reflected in teacher salaries. Further, he said, he’s been concerned state aid increases in recent years have not resulted in higher teacher salaries.  But John Wurdeman, President of the Nebraska Association of School Boards, said one of the main concerns of school boards is how they would sustain raises after stimulus money is gone in two years.

    7.  United States.   It’s More Than Money: Making Performance-Based Compensation Work.  American Progress Institute.  July 14, 2009.  By William J. Slotnik, Community Training and Assistance Center.  The report provides that compensation reform is part of a systemic institutional reform designed to improve student achievment and accountability.  As such the report identifies six cornerstones of a successful performance-based compensation system: (1) Performance-based compensation is a systemic reform.
    (2) Compensation reform must be done with teachers, not to teachers.(3) Compensation reform must be organizationally stainable. (4) Performance-based compensation must be financially sustainable.(5) A broad base of support is required in the district and community. and (6) Performance-based compensation must go beyond politics and finances to benefit students.

    8.  United States.      Aligned by Design: How Teacher Compensation Reform Can Support and Reinforce Other Educational Reforms.  The American Progress Institute.  July 14, 2009.  By Craig Jerald.  The report argues that successful implementation of compensation reform must also encompass reform n supporting human resouce managment systems sucha as professional development and teacher evaluation.

    9.  Nevada.      Turnover of teachers slows with the economy. Fewer sell homes and leave, or can afford to retire, so they stay.  The Las Vegas Sun. By Emily Richmond. Tuesday, July 14, 2009. In 2006 school officials welcomed the district’s new teachers in luncheons at Cox Pavilion that stretched over three days. Last year two days were enough to accommodate the 995 new educators. This time around, it’s likely one day will provide enough seats for all new hires, said Ruben Murillo, president of the Clark County Education Association, which co-sponsors the luncheons with the district. The district’s human resources department is estimating that only 300 new teachers will be needed for the 2009-10 academic year, although that figure will ultimately depend on the latest enrollment projections and how many educators quit over the summer.

    10.  United States.      Obama to unveil $12 billion community college plan. Yahoo News.  Reuters.  July 14, 2009. By David Alexander David Alexander – Tue Jul 14, 6:03 am ET. WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama will unveil a $12 billion initiative on Tuesday to boost community colleges and propel the United States toward his goal of having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020, administration officials said. The 10-year program, which he will announce during a visit on Tuesday afternoon to Macomb Community College in Warren, Michigan, includes a new goal of graduating an additional 5 million students from community colleges over the next decade, double the current number of expected graduates.

    11.  United States.       Education Chief Urges Union to Aid Reform Push. By Nick Anderson, Washington Post Staff Writer . Tuesday, July 14, 2009.  At the American Federation of Teachers conference, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan in his unusual town hall-style appearance before the teachers' group urged the union to join the Obama administration's push to build support for a new wave of school reform as Congress prepares to reauthorize the 2002 No Child Left Behind law. "As he sat on a stool yesterday next to federation President Randi Weingarten, Duncan, in a gesture of solidarity, wore a button the union had distributed to the audience: "With us, not to us." The slogan alluded to pledges that Obama has made to seek union involvement in pay-for-performance plans. The administration has proposed more funding in the next fiscal year for programs that experiment with merit pay."

    See also:     Teachers urge Obama to collaborate to fix schools. The Washington Post. July 13, 2009. By LIBBY QUAID, The Associated Press. WASHINGTON -- A teachers' union challenged the Obama administration Monday to live up to its promise of working with teachers and not against them.

    12.  Rhode Island.      Providence schools implement new approach to hiring.  Providence Journal. July 13, 2009. By Linda Borg, Journal Staff Writer. PROVIDENCE — The School Department is embarking on a grand experiment that could have wide-ranging implications for other school districts in the state. Under orders from the state education commissioner, the district this fall will begin filling vacancies in six schools based not on seniority, but on whether that teacher is a good match for the job — and the school.

    13.  California.      Schwarzenegger's call to suspend Prop. 98 jolts Capitol.  The Sacramento Bee.  By Jim Sanders.  July. 12, 2009. Not once in the two decades since California's Proposition 98 school-funding formula became law have lawmakers bucked education groups to suspend it – so Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's push to do so has rocked the Capitol.Neither Democrats nor Republicans are rushing to embrace the idea, but with tax hikes off the table, there may be no easy alternative in bridging the state's $26.3 billion shortfall.

    14.  Pennsylvania.     Pension costs could spike school taxes in 2012. Lawmakers increased the benefits earlier this decade, but the bill is coming due now.  The Morning Call. By Marian Callahan and Scott Kraus. July 12, 2009. The ink is still drying on this year's budgets, but local school districts are already bracing for a huge increase in employee pension fund payments that could cost local taxpayers millions in 2012. The pension premium hike -- dictated by the state -- threatens to force financially strapped districts to contemplate deep cuts or substantial tax increases that year. In some districts that have been socking away money to blunt the spike, taxpayers are already paying for it.,0,3663049.story

    15.  United States.      NEA, Past and Present.  July 10, 2009.  Moleman Blog.  "This [year's] NEA Convention seems to have generated little real news.  The ongoing organizational schizophrenia that has driven NEA for the past two decades continues to fade into the background. . . If there is a hope that NEA can get back to the real business their members care most about, it may lie in the increasing unionization of NEA.  As Mike [Antonucci] points out, the open acceptance of the union label by NEA is unprecedented.  Will it lead to a re-discovery the economic need that gave birth to the modern NEA?

    16.  United States.      National Teachers Unions and the Struggle Over School Reform.  Citizen's Commission on Civil Rights.  July 4, 2009.  By William L. Taylor and Crystal Rosario.  "While teachers’ unions are legitimately concerned with securing fair and unbiased treatment at the hands of management, these concerns have often been translated into fierce opposition to reforms designed to hold schools and their faculties accountable for how their students perform. This resistance has posed a barrier to improving educational  opportunity for the most disadvantaged students and closing the performance gap between them and their more advantaged peers. It has also led to calcified systems in which talented people are deterred from applying or staying as teachers because they believe their skills will not be recognized or rewarded."

    17.  United States.      Managing Means Having to Say You're Sorry.  The Wall Street Journal.  July 10, 2009. By BRITTANY HITE. Many managers and executives are lousy at apologizing. They worry about looking weak or losing credibility. But John Kador, a business author, speaker and consultant on workplace issues, thinks we need to say sorry more – and that apologizing can be good for the apologizer. He spoke with The Journal's Brittany Hite about why managers should apologize more, and how to do it well. Here are edited excerpts of the conversation.

    [NOTE: The article has an interactive quiz to test your apology skills.  Want to compare scores?--RW]

    18.  United States.      Financial Security Needs Driving Employees to Value Benefits Over Cash?  Compensation Cafe.  July 1, 2009. As a profession, we've worked hard, investing in total reward statements and numerous other communication efforts, to drive awareness of and appreciation for the value of the benefits provided to employees.Looks now like we're there, courtesy of the our recent economic turmoil. A new study released by the Employee Benefits Group of Sun Life Financial finds that 3,000 surveyed employees value their benefits - and we're talking about benefits above and beyond medical insurance - more than cash.

  • 10 Jul 2009 1:54 PM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    1.  Florida.    Hillsborough teacher furloughs and pay increase postponed in tentative contract accord.  St. Petersburg Times. By Tom Marshall, Times Staff Writer In Print: Friday, July 10, 2009. TAMPA — Teacher furloughs won't happen this fall in Hillsborough County, but neither will pay increases.Under a tentative contract agreement reached Thursday, negotiators said they would postpone talk of both the two or three days' unpaid leave the district had sought, and the 2 percent salary scale increase the teachers' union wanted.

    2.  United States.  Economic Snapshot for July 2009.  Center for American Progress.  By Christian E. Weller | July 9, 2009. We are learning the hard way that Wall Street, the economy, and the labor market are three separate things. While Wall Street enjoyed a bright spring, the economy continues to struggle, and job losses still mount. The economy may be nearing its bottom, but it hasn’t reached it yet. Job growth won’t resume until the economy has turned the corner for good, no matter what Wall Street hopes for. A strong, sustained economic recovery will take time and public investments in health care, energy independence, public education, and innovation for years to come. These investments will help create and save millions of jobs right now and foster faster productivity growth that can translate into more and better jobs in the future.

    3.  New York.      Obama official to New York: Change your tenure law or else.  Gotham Schools. July 9, 2009.  By Maura Walz. The Obama administration official in charge of an educational innovation fund yesterday issued a warning to a New York audience: nless the state legislature revises a law now on the books about teacher tenure, the state could lose out on the $4.35 billion fund she controls. Joanne Weiss said the Obama administration aims to reward states that use student achievement as a “predominant” part of teacher evaluations with the extra stimulus funds — and pass over those that don’t. New York state law currently bans using student data as a factor in tenure decisions.

    4.  United States.      Plunging revenue causes new problems. Thursday, July 09, 2009. By Stephen C. Fehr, Staff Writer.  A wave of states that had balanced budgets earlier this year are facing new or widening shortfalls as May and June tax revenue collections are declining more than expected. In recent days, officials in Colorado, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Virginia have reported that declines in sales, income and business tax receipts will knock their budgets out of balance. Georgia and Utah officials are awaiting new revenue estimates any day, but say they could be dealing with budget gaps.

    5.  United States.      White House Rethinks How Best to Pay the Pros.  The Wall Street Journal.  July 9, 2009.  By DAVID WESSEL.  President Barack Obama believes you get what you pay for -- in business, in health care and in teaching. And in each of those spheres, he doesn't think the way the U.S. pays professionals is designed to get what the nation really wants and needs.
    In executive suites, he says, we rewarded reckless risk-taking and got the worst recession in half a century. In doctors' offices and hospitals, we pay for more care instead of better care and get a wastefully expensive health-care system. In K-12 classrooms, we pay teachers, good and bad, for showing up instead of successful teaching and perpetuate schools that fail. So Mr. Obama wants to pay professionals more only if they deliver more of what he thinks America needs, a bold bet on the economic principle that incentives do matter. If he succeeds, the changes to business, health care and education could last far beyond his presidency. But this is hard to do well. The risks of unintended consequences are large, and there's a chance we'll get more of what can be measured -- not what we truly want or need.

    6.  United States.      Infighting Distracts Unions at Crucial Time.  The New York Times.  By STEVEN GREENHOUSE. Published: July 8, 2009 WASHINGTON — With their allies controlling the White House and Congress, the nation’s labor unions should be making hay. Instead many unions are making war — largely with one another — in the biggest, nastiest surge of labor fratricide in decades. Many union officials acknowledge that the infighting is undercutting two of labor’s biggest objectives: having Congress enact pro-union legislation and organizing millions more workers to reverse labor’s long decline. “They need a united front when they go to Congress to get pro-union legislation through,” said Charles B. Craver, a labor law professor at George Washington University. “If they miss that opportunity, it will be a very sad day for organized labor because they might not see an opportunity like that again for years.”

    [NOTE:  Charles Craver, quoted above, was a keynote speaker at the 2007 NAEN Annual Conference in San Diego. -RW]

    7.  United States.      National Education Association Ends 147th Annual Meeting... A critical summary of the NEA RA.  Substance News. By Rich Gibson - July 07, 2009.  The NEA Representative Assembly Last Day---Day 6: The Falling Sky, Saviors, and What to Do?  "NEA is a capitalist union operating inside capitalist schools within a capitalist nation in a profound crisis of lost wars and a ruined economy. The sky fell. NEA held a deadening, unimaginative, girdled convention that, most likely, served to convince delegates of the efficacy of Dennis Van Roekel, Barack Obama and Arne Duncan in particular and the sham promise of America in general. Many delegates are alienated from parts of their leaders’ schemes, from merit pay to national standards to “accountability,” plans, to militarization, but they do not connect that to a greater whole and thus become unwitting instruments of their own oppression–and in the case of educators, others’ too, a redoubled tragedy."

    8.  United States.  Union Leaders to Meet With Obama Next Week.  The New YorkTimes.  July 7, 2009. By Steven Greenhouse. A dozen union presidents will meet with President Obama in the White House next Monday to discuss health-care legislation as well as a bill that would make it easier to unionize, labor leaders and administration officials said on Tuesday. . . Union officials said those who will meet with Mr. Obama include John J. Sweeney, the president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., Andrew L. Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union and Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association, as well as the presidents of the steelworkers, communications workers, Teamsters, and food and commercial workers.

    9.  United States.      States Straining To Repair Budgets. Huge Deficits Challenge Lawmakers.  The Washington Post. By Peter Slevin. Washington Post Staff Writer. Tuesday, July 7, 2009. CHICAGO, July 6 -- Illinois has stopped paying $1,655 a funeral to bury the indigent dead. California is issuing IOUs in place of tax refunds. Ohio's rainy-day fund has dwindled from nearly $1 billion to exactly 89 cents.  Nearly a week into the new budget year, all three states are stymied, unable to balance their books and unable to decide whether to fill the huge gaps with tax increases, spending cuts or both. Either way, it will hurt.

    10.  United States.      Exploring the Possibility and Potential for Pay for Performance in America’s Public Schools.  AASA Survey June 2009.  By Noelle M. Ellerson.  A total of 536 school administrators from 45 states completed the 10‐question survey in May 2009. The majority of respondents were superintendents (86 percent) and associate or assistant superintendents (13 percent). Fifty‐two percent of respondents came from rural districts, 35 percent from suburban districts, and 13 percent from urban districts. There is a diversity of opinion among school system leaders about pay for performance programs . 

    11.  United States.      What Makes Us Happy? Atlantic Monthly, June 2009. By Joshua Wolf Shenk.  Is there a formula—some mix of love, work, and psychological adaptation—for a good life? For 72 years, researchers at Harvard have been examining this question, following 268 men who entered college in the late 1930s through war, career, marriage and divorce, parenthood and grandparenthood, and old age. Here, for the first time, a journalist gains access to the archive of one of the most comprehensive longitudinal studies in history. Its contents, as much literature as science, offer profound insight into the human condition—and into the brilliant, complex mind of the study’s longtime director, George Vaillant.

  • 03 Jul 2009 10:59 AM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    1.  California.      Coffers Empty, California Pays With I.O.U.’s.  The New York Times.  July 3, 2009.  By JENNIFER STEINHAUER.  LOS ANGELES — An ever-widening budget gap joined with intractable political paralysis to deliver California its biggest fiscal blow in decades on Thursday, when the state’s controller began printing i.o.u.’s in lieu of cash to pay taxpayers, vendors and local governments. It was only the second time the state had adopted the emergency payment method since the Great Depression. The National Conference of State Legislatures had no record of any other state’s ever using them.

    2.  United States.    Secretary Duncan Challenges National Education Association to Accelerate School Reforms.  July 2, 2009.  USDOE Press Release.  Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today praised the National Education Association for its effort to improve the quality of the education workforce and challenged the union to reevaluate some of its policies on compensating teachers and offering them job protections. Speaking at the NEA's annual convention in San Diego, Duncan said that the unions needed to relax contract rules to recruit, reward and retain highly effective educators, especially in low-performing schools in need of dramatic improvements.

    3.  United States.      Stimulus eases community college troubles.  July 2, 2009.  By Kimberly Leonard, Special to  States are digging into their federal stimulus money to help finance community colleges, where rising tuition, soaring enrollment and budget cuts threaten to shut students out of the system. But the $144 billion in stimulus money for state and local fiscal relief won’t make up for budget cuts in every state. Miami Dade College, the nation’s largest community college with 167,000 students, will be forced to limit enrollment this fall because of state budget cuts. California officials, anticipating a 33 percent enrollment increase this summer and fall, said they may have to turn away 250,000 community college students because they can’t afford to accept them.

    4.  United States.      Community Colleges See Demand Spike, Funding Slip.  By Valerie Strauss Washington Post Staff Writer  Wednesday, July 1, 2009. Hundreds of thousands of students are likely to be turned away from low-cost community colleges across the country over the next year because of funding cuts at the very time that record numbers of students are flocking to the open-admission schools, according to education officials. The Obama administration is promising to help the country's almost 1,200 community colleges, which educate about 12 million students, or 44 percent of all undergraduates, including the majority of blacks and Hispanics. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel recently said that the administration was working on a plan that would allow as many as 5 million more students or laid-off workers to attend the schools, which are at the fore of retraining efforts.

    5.  Michigan.      DPS manager calls for layoffs, cuts, bigger classes. He's unable to cut deficit.  The Detroit Free Press. BY CHASTITY PRATT DAWSEY • FREE PRESS EDUCATION WRITER • June 30, 2009.  Calling the Detroit Public Schools budget the worst he's ever seen, the state-appointed emergency financial manager said Monday that he is considering other measures -- including filing for bankruptcy."I cannot balance the budget," Robert Bobb told the audience of less than 100 people at a public hearing at Cass Technical High School. "I never thought I'd hear myself say that." DPS will enter the next school year with a deficit of about $259 million, down from the projected $430 million, Bobb said.

    6.  United States.     Furloughs cut into state services.  June 30, 2009. By Pauline Vu, Staff Writer.  With states facing a $121 billion shortfall in the next fiscal year, a growing number of them have turned to squeezing their workforce for savings, and effects are being felt, both great and small. . . Although state jobs are usually among the most stable, more than 728,500 state employees in at least 21 states have already or will be furloughed, and several other states are also considering furloughs for their workers. By comparison, at least 54,000 state workers have been laid off so far, according to tallies by the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Association of Federal, State, County and Municipal Employees union (AFSCME).

    7.  United States.      Ruling Upends Race's Role in Hiring.  The Wall Street Journal. June 30, 2009.  By JESS BRAVIN and SUZANNE SATALINE.  WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court set a new standard for employers' use of race in hiring decisions, ruling that New Haven, Conn., wrongly discriminated against a group of mostly white firefighters who lost out when a promotion exam was scrapped because no blacks scored well enough to advance. Monday's opinion by Justice Anthony Kennedy said employers must show a "strong basis in evidence" before ignoring results of employment-related tests -- even if they worry the outcome was unfair -- so as not to frustrate other applicants. The 5-4 decision, on the final day of the court's term, follows a series of Supreme Court rulings that limit the scope of policies intended to address racial bias.

    Opinion--Ricci v. DeStefano:

    8.  United States.  The Firefighters' Case and the Schools.  The School Law Blog.  Education Week.  By Mark Walsh.  June 30, 2009.
    What are the lessons for schools and school employees in the U.S. Supreme Court's decision today in favor of white and Hispanic firefighters in New Haven, Conn.? . . . Tom Hutton, a senior staff lawyer with the National School Boards Association, in Alexandria, Va., said in an interview today that the ruling helps settle the tension between Title VII's disparate-treatment and disparate-impact provisions. But he said there were only limited scenarios in which school districts have been in the same position as New Haven, trying to justify race-based employment actions."In the biggest possible picture, you could say that if we are going to be relying more on tests to establish teacher credentials, then this decision could have some relevance," Hutton said.

    9.  Pennsylvania.      Area schools squeezed by budget pinch. Many programs are threatened. In some districts, staff members are sacrificing to help out.  The Philadelphia Inquirer. June 30, 2009.  By Dan Hardy and Anthony R. Wood, Inquirer Staff Writers.  No more middle school. Goodbye freshman and J.V. sports. Close a school; slash the music programs. The blade was about to fall this month on all this and more at the Quakertown Community School District. But at the last minute, something extraordinary happened: Teachers and other employees agreed to $700,000 worth of contract concessions to blunt the ax. Those givebacks - highly unusual in the often rancorous world of union-administration relations - speak to a deepening crisis in school finances that is rippling across the country.

    10.  Wisconsin.      Wisconsin Academics Get Expansive Bargaining Bill.  AFT-FACE.  June 30, 2009. After 40 long years of advocacy and a roller coaster ride of hopes raised, then dashed, academic employees in the University of Wisconsin system finally have the right to decide whether they will be represented by a union. On June 29, Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle signed the 2009-2011 biennial budget, which includes a provision extending collective bargaining rights to more than 20,000 UW faculty, academic staff and research assistants.

    11.  Illinois.      CPS schools lose half of teachers in 5 years.  The Chicago Sun-Times.  June 29, 2009.  BY ROSALIND ROSSI Education Reporter.  The typical Chicago public school loses more than half of all its teachers within five years -- and about two-thirds of its new ones, a study released today by the University of Chicago indicates. Teacher churning is especially severe in high-poverty, heavily African-American schools -- about a hundred total -- where half of all teachers disappear after only three years, the study found. . . Schools suffering higher turnover were low-scoring, heavily black, high-poverty, or located in high-crime areas. An underlying problem often was lack of parent responsiveness in elementary schools and, in high schools, student misbehavior and safety problems.

    Study: The Schools Teachers Leave: Teacher Mobility in Chicago Public Schools.

    12.  Maryland.      Throwing a Lifeline to Struggling Teachers. Montgomery Program Embraces Peer Review.  By Daniel de Vise, Washington Post Staff Writer. Monday, June 29, 2009. . . Peer review, embraced by more than 80 school systems nationwide, confronts one of public education's most vexing problems: What to do with under-performing teachers? Union contracts and tenure rules tend to make it difficult to dismiss ineffective teachers. But in Montgomery, the union is teaming with school officials to weed out -- or, better yet, help improve -- teachers who fall short. Introduced by teachers in Toledo in 1981, peer review arrived in Montgomery 10 years ago and is considered in many quarters a promising solution to the labor-management impasse over teacher dismissals. The National Education Association has encouraged peer review since the mid-1990s. The American Federation of Teachers, which had supported it even earlier, last year passed a resolution calling on affiliates to consider the program.
    PAR website & Users Guide, Harvard Graduate School of Education:

    13.  Oregon.       Oregon to Adopt Union-Backed Principles on Part Timers.  Inside HigherEd.  June 29, 2009.  The Oregon Senate and House have now passed (with gubernatorial approval expected) legislation to codify principles of the Faculty and College Excellence Campaign of the American Federation of Teachers, which aims to improve the working conditions of faculty members and to push colleges to hire more tenure-track professors. Under the Oregon legislation, public colleges and universities will be required to report on the make-up of their faculties -- something faculty groups say is essential for drawing attention to and changing hiring patterns. Further, some part timers will be able to gain eligibility for health insurance based on work at multiple colleges, not just one.

    14.  Michigan.      Detroit teachers union investigates embezzlement. June 26, 2009.  By Jennifer Mrozowski / The Detroit News. The president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers said the union's financial books are undergoing a forensic audit to investigate the possible embezzlement of tens of thousands of dollars. DFT President Keith Johnson ordered the audit, which is ongoing, after he and another union executive noticed financial irregularities about two months ago, he said. Johnson would give no details because the audit is still underway.

    15.  Europe.      Contracts Without Lawyers?  ScienceDaily (June 25, 2009) Computer systems that dynamically create, monitor, manage or suspend online contractual agreements are being developed to deliver greater reliability and security to service-oriented e-business applications. Lawyers have refined and developed their vocabulary over hundreds of years to eliminate uncertainty and vagueness from their terminology. Achieving clarity in human terms is one thing, developing contractual terms that can be interpreted by computers, adds a requirement for further levels of specification. A team of European researchers are developing computer systems that automatically verify and monitor contractual agreements.

  • 26 Jun 2009 1:25 PM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    1.  Florida.   Miami-Dade teachers try again to win pay raises.  The Miami Herals.  June 26, 2009. BY KATHLEEN McGRORY. The Miami-Dade teachers' union will make another run at the pay increases they were denied last year when they begin contract negotiations on Friday. United Teachers of Dade President Karen Aronowitz said the union will ask for ''step'' raises, or pay increases, based on years of service. She would also like to re-evaluate how teachers are compensated as they move through the system.

    2.  United States.  So Long, Lake Wobegon? Using Teacher Evaluation to Raise Teacher Quality. The Center for American Progress.  June 25, 2009.  By Morgaen L. Donaldson.  The report explores how best to implement teacher evaluation. The first section examines the structure of teacher evaluation and the role of student learning in assessments of teachers’ effectiveness. . . In the second section, the paper draws on research to examine the reasons why teacher evaluation has generally had little effect on instruction, learning, and achievement.

    3.  United States.      Fixing Tenure: A Proposal for Assuring Teacher Effectiveness and Due Process. Center for American Progress. By Joan Baratz-Snowden | June 25, 2009. The report concludes: 1. There is widespread confusion and considerable misunderstanding surrounding the concept of “teacher tenure,” and the term should be abandoned. Instead, debate should be about earning “continuing employment status,” and “due process” dismissals.  2. Most current state and district tenure provisions, both for earning tenure and revoking it, need a serious overhaul. 3. School systems need to consider evidence of student learning when granting continuing status to teachers.

    4.  United States.      Positive Emotional Psychology: Have a 'Daily Diet' of Positive Emotions. We need 3 positive emotions for every negative emotion, says psychology expert.  US News & World Reports. By Lindsay Lyon. Posted June 24, 2009.  Joy. Interest. Love. Serenity. Awe. Amusement. Pride. Such positive emotions, fleeting feelings that last just seconds or minutes, are the subject of Barbara Fredrickson's research. Fredrickson, a professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, examines how they can alter our thoughts and actions for the better. She finds, for example that when we're under the influence of positive emotions, our awareness expands. "We literally see more," she says. "Our peripheral vision is expanded." (Negative emotions, on the other hand, narrow our thinking.) She also finds that people who increase their "daily diet" of positive emotions develop closer connections with others, their resilience and optimism strengthens, and they become less depressed and more satisfied with life, compared with people who do nothing to experience them more frequently.

    5.  California.        UCLA employees protest proposed pay cuts, furloughs.  LA Times. By Larry Gordon. June 25, 2009. More than 2,000 UCLA employees, including researchers, custodians, nurses and secretaries, gathered at Pauley Pavilion on Wednesday to protest plans for pay cuts and furloughs proposed by the University of California. Because of the state budget crisis, UC leaders are considering three proposals to reduce payroll spending by about $195 million in the next school year. One plan would cut salaries by 8% for all faculty and staff earning more than $46,000 annually and 4% for those earning less; another would require 21 unpaid furlough days for all employees, and a third would combine pay cuts and furloughs.,0,509339.story?track=rss

    6.  Florida.      394 Broward teachers lose their jobs.  The Miami Herald.  June 24, 2009.   BY HANNAH SAMPSON AND PATRICIA MAZZEI. Almost 400 Broward teachers are officially out of work, at least for now, after Broward School Board members voted to lay them off in an era of declining enrollment and shrinking budgets. Board members voted unanimously at the end of an emotional 3 ½-hour meeting packed with opponents of the layoffs, saying they had little choice but to let the teachers go and pledging to bring back as many as they could. ''This is a terrible, awful, no good, very bad day,'' said School Board member Jennifer Gottlieb. Board member Robin Bartleman cried as she talked about her anguish over the layoffs. Her own neighbor was affected, she said.

    7.  California.      L.A. Unified OKs $1.6 billion in cuts over three years.  The Los Angeles Times.  June 24, 2009.  By Jason Song.  The Los Angeles Board of Education on Tuesday approved nearly $1.6 billion in cuts over the next three years that will result in layoffs and increased class sizes and could one day mean the elimination of such key programs as all-day kindergarten and summer school. The action also makes it increasingly likely that many of those targeted for layoffs, including about 2,200 teachers and up to 2,000 school staff, such as custodians and cafeteria workers, will be dismissed, although union leaders said they are still negotiating to save jobs.Including the latest reductions, Los Angeles Unified School District officials have now slashed almost $700 million -- or about 10% of the district's operating budget -- from this year's books, which includes federal grant money and other funding. Programs, including most summer school offerings and arts education, have already been scaled back due to funding shortages.,0,7966547.story

    8.  Massachusetts.       Harvard workers stunned by layoffs. Endowment loss cited; 275 jobs cut.  The Boston Globe.  By Tracy Jan, Globe Staff June 24, 2009.  Harvard’s most senior administrators had for months foreshadowed the possibility of staff reductions, warning at a series of meetings and forums that they probably would have no choice as the university deals with the precipitous decline in its endowment.But when the layoff number - 275 Harvard employees - was delivered yesterday in a memo from the university’s president, it came as a shock in most quarters of the campus. Few schools and departments, it appears, will be spared as Harvard embarks on its largest set of layoffs in recent memory. The layoffs, which began yesterday at the business and law schools, as well as in many college libraries, will continue through next week at most of Harvard’s 10 schools. The result: widespread angst and anger among workers who fear they may be the next to go.

    9.  Pennsylvania.       Ackerman seeking changes in Phila. teachers' contract. The Philadelphia Inquirer. June 24, 2009. By Kristen A. Graham.   If the superintendent gets her way, come September Philadelphia public schoolteachers will have longer days and less say over where they work. Schools chief Arlene Ackerman also wants merit pay for successful teachers, and principals to have full control over who fills vacant teaching jobs, of which there could be up to 1,800 in September. "This year, we have to negotiate some serious changes," Ackerman said yesterday during a wide-ranging hour-long interview with the Inquirer Editorial Board.

    10.  Maryland.      Area Firms Tweak Benefit Plans. Workers Absorb More Health Costs, but Some Gain Perks. By V. Dion Haynes, Washington Post Staff Writer.Tuesday, June 23, 2009. More Washington- and Baltimore-area employers are shifting health-insurance costs to workers, offering high-deductible health plans and imposing restrictions on prescription-drug coverage to save money in the recession, according to a new survey by area human resources managers to be released today. But to keep good workers from jumping ship, according to the survey, more employers are offsetting the restrictions by beefing up other perks -- giving staff more flexibility in taking time off and working from home, and extending benefits to domestic partners.

    11.  New York.      Principals Denounce Plan to Cut Two Training Days.  New York Times. By JAVIER C. HERNANDEZ. Published: June 23, 2009. The New York City principals’ union on Tuesday denounced a proposal to eliminate two days of staff development before the first day of school in September, saying teachers and principals needed the time to plan and set up classrooms before children arrived. The proposal was part of a tentative agreement reached between the city and the teachers’ union on Monday night. The deal is expected to save the city $2 billion over 20 years by rolling back pension benefits for new teachers.

    12.  Michgan.      Educators searching for answers to money woes. Summit ponders consolidation, statewide teacher pay scale. Lansing State Journal. By Kathleen Lavey. June 22, 2009. Consolidating administration, a statewide teacher pay scale and alternative sources of revenue to pay for schools are among proposals being circulated by a group of school superintendents and finance chiefs from districts of all sizes around the state.

    13.  United States.      Unions seek bigger role in charter schools. Associated Press. By LIBBY QUAID, AP Education Writer Libby Quaid, Ap Education Writer – Mon Jun 22, 11:25 pm ET.  WASHINGTON – As the Obama administration pushes for more charter schools, a teachers' union is pushing for a bigger role in them. It's a new development for the charter school movement, a small but growing — and controversial — effort to create new, more autonomous public schools, usually in cities where traditional schools have failed. . . Education Secretary Arne Duncan made a point of talking about unions in a speech Monday in Washington to a national charter school conference. "Charters are not inherently anti-union," Duncan said. "Many charters today are unionized." That is true, but unions are rare in the nation's 4,600 charter schools, which make up about 3 percent of the nation's 132,000 public schools.

    14.  United States.      States Turning to Last Resorts in Budget Crisis.  The New York Times. June 22, 2009.  By ABBY GOODNOUGH
    Published: June 21, 2009. In Hawaii, state employees are bracing for furloughs of three days a month over the next two years, the equivalent of a 14 percent pay cut. In Idaho, lawmakers reduced aid to public schools for the first time in recent memory, forcing pay cuts for teachers. And in California, where a $24 billion deficit for the coming fiscal year is the nation’s worst, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed releasing thousands of prisoners early and closing more than 200 state parks. Meanwhile, Maine is adding taxes on candy and ski tickets, Wisconsin on oil companies, and Kentucky on alcohol and cellphone ring tones. With state revenues in a free fall and the economy choked by the worst recession in 60 years, governors and legislatures are approving program cuts, layoffs and, to a smaller degree, tax increases that were previously unthinkable. All but four states must have new budgets in place less than two weeks from now — by July 1, the start of their fiscal year. But most are already predicting shortfalls as tax collections shrink, unemployment rises and the stock market remains in turmoil.


    15.  Canada.      What’s the deal with union benefits? Unions in PR battle for benefits in bad times.  The National Post. By Megan O'Toole, National Post  Published: Friday, June 19, 2009. Catholic schoolteachers in Toronto can bank 20 sick days a year and use portions of sick leave for their own criminal court appearances - provided the charges do not stick.
    Manitoba Hydro workers have negotiated a nine-day work cycle, with every second Monday off. Shift premiums at the Liquor Control Board of Ontario mean an extra $10 for any employee who acts as store manager for more than three hours in a shift. These are just a few of the generous, and often unusual, union contract perks that many Canadians are likely unaware of, according to Jeffrey Gandz, a professor with the University of Western Ontario's Ivey School of Business.    
    Graphic: Union Agreeements across Canada--


    16.  California.      Teachers union loses case on campaign flyers.  The San Francisco Chronicle.  By Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer.
    Friday, June 19, 2009. A school district can prevent a teachers union from putting campaign pamphlets for political candidates in school mailboxes, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday in a case from San Leandro. The decision relied on a 1995 state law prohibiting public schools and community colleges from using their "funds, services, supplies or equipment" to take sides in an election. Mailboxes used for internal communications are covered by the law, which applies to school employees as well as administrators, the court said.

    17.  United States.      Paying Teachers for Results.  A Summary of Research to Inform the Design of Pay-for-Performance Programs in High-Poverty Schools.  May 2009.  American Progress Institute.  By Robin Chait and Raegen Miller.  The paper first defines pay-for-performance and outlines its logic as a strategy to improve teaching and learning in high-poverty schools. We then proceed to summarize what researchers have learned about this compensation strategy, and then offer guidance to states and districts on the design of successful pay-for-performance programs based on this research.

  • 19 Jun 2009 11:51 AM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    1.  Washington, DC.       About 250 Teachers Are Given Pink Slips. Union Will Appeal Some of Rhee's Firings.   The Washington Post. By Bill Turque. June 19, 2009. D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, following through on promises to dismiss teachers deemed ineffective, has fired about 250 tenured and novice instructors this week for poor performance or failure to obtain a license, union officials said yesterday. Teachers began receiving termination letters Tuesday, the day after the school year ended. George Parker, president of the Washington Teachers' Union, said figures provided to him by school system officials showed that about 60 of those terminated were first- or second-year teachers on probation. About 80, Parker said, were experienced teachers who had been placed by administrators on so-called "90-day plans" that gave them about six months (or 90 school days) to improve or face termination. The rest, he said, had failed to obtain proper licensing.

    2.  California.      The Governor Sends Regards.  The New York Times.  By JESSE McKINLEY. Published: June 18, 2009. SAN FRANCISCO — California may be facing financial peril and his popularity may be middling, but Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger seems not to have lost his sense of humor. His taste in art, though, is perhaps open to debate. Mr. Schwarzenegger, whose manly posturing either charms or repels, depending on one’s inclination, was left Thursday explaining his manner of negotiating, after The Los Angeles Times reported that he had sent an oblong, melon-size sculpture of bull testicles to Darrell Steinberg, president pro tem of the Democratic-controlled State Senate. The gift was apparently meant as a barbed joke, symbolizing the Republican governor’s hope that California legislators would display fortitude in deciding how to close a $24 billion budget deficit.

    3.  Oregon.      Educators at large Portland-area districts accept cuts.  The Oregonian. by Betsy Hammond and Melissa Navas. June 18, 2009. Despite state budget cuts for schools, about half of Portland area students will experience little change when they return to class this fall, an analysis by The Oregonian has found. The main reason? Teachers, administrators and school workers will sacrifice their paychecks to protect the classroom. Leaders of the three biggest metro districts -- Portland, Beaverton and Hillsboro -- asked employees to accept pay freezes, furlough days and other concessions. The result is that schools in those districts, plus David Douglas and Lake Oswego, will see little or no increase in class size and few cuts to front-line services.

    4.  United States.    April Is the Cruelest Month: Personal Income Tax Revenues Portend Deepening Trouble for Many States.  June 18, 2009. State Revenue Flash Report.  By Lucy Dadayan and Donald J. Boyd.  The April 15 deadline for personal income tax returns brought very bad news for many states. Personal income tax collections have been falling for several quarters. As we predicted in a previous report, tax returns on 2008 income that were filed in April show huge declines, likely due to stockmarket-driven declines in nvestment income and declines in bonus payments. Preliminary data show deep declines in overall personal income tax revenues in nearly every reporting state. These declines signal continued difficult fiscal challenges ahead, particularly for the states that rely most heavily on personal income taxes.

    See also: Reports: State income levels plunge.  June 19, 2009.

    5.  United States.   United Federation of Teachers replaces Randi Weingarten with Michael Mulgrew as union boss.  NY Daily News.  June 18, 2009. BY Meredith Kolodner and Rachel Monahan DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS.  Current chief operating officer Michael Mulgrew is expected to lead the United Federation of Teachers after Weingarten steps down later this summer. "They are very big shoes to fill," said a union insider. "His style is going to be different, but I think generally people are confident in Michael."  Mulgrew rose through the ranks, becoming the union's chapter leader at Brooklyn's William E. Grady High School in 1999.

    6.  California.      Los Angeles loses new breed of teachers in layoffs.  USA Today.  June 17, 2009.  By Christina Hoag, Associated Press. LOS ANGELES — Sean Leys sat huddled and still in a tent on a sidewalk outside of a Los Angeles middle school, fatigued by an ongoing hunger strike but resolved to protest looming teacher layoffs. While he may avoid being laid off, thousands of his teacher colleagues in Los Angeles will not. By next school year, 2,100 city teachers are slated to lose their jobs — a 5% hit to the second-largest U.S. school district. Worse still, Leys said, is that the layoffs are concentrated in some of the city's grittiest neighborhoods. Los Angeles Unified's inner-city schools have higher turnover and tend to hire more new teachers, and state education code mandates that layoffs be issued based on seniority.

    7.  Pennsylvania.      Pa. cyber school unionizes; union says it's a 1st.  The Boston Globe. By Mark Scolforo, Associated Press Writer / June 17, 2009. HARRISBURG, Pa.—Teachers at a western Pennsylvania-based cyber charter school have voted to unionize, becoming the first such school to do so in the United States, according to a labor leader. The faculty at Homestead-based PA Learners Online voted 42-14 Monday to have the Pennsylvania State Education Association represent 76 teachers, counselors and other workers at the school, the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board said Wednesday.

    8.  Indiana.      Indiana Union Crisis Forces Layoffs. NEA affiliate seeks to raise cash to cover troubled insurance trust. Education Week.  June 16, 2009. Indiana’s largest teachers’ union is laying off dozens of employees in the wake of a financial crisis that spurred investigations of its troubled insurance trust. Union officials representing two groups of workers at the Indiana State Teachers Association say at least 40 people will lose their jobs after 60 days’ notice. A third union representative would not comment on how many people in her division will be laid off, but the total number of layoffs is likely to be higher than 40 out of a staff of 150 employees.

    9.  Ontario.      OPINION: Opportunity to transform early learning in Ontario.  The Toronto Star. Jun 16, 2009.  By Jim Grieve and Bill Hogarth.  We know for certain that every dollar we invest in children before they are 6-years-old saves us up to $17 in social service costs. So why does Canada shamefully spend so little in support of its youngest and most vulnerable citizens? What will it take to change the status quo – to move from talk to action and make a difference for children, families and our communities? The good news is we finally have an opportunity to make that difference. A new report entitled With Our Best Future in Mind by Charles Pascal, early learning adviser to Premier Dalton McGuinty, presents a clear and powerful blueprint for Ontario. The report calls for sweeping, collaborative action to place early learning firmly on the public agenda for Ontario and the rest of Canada.

    [Also see #13 below]

    10.  Georgia.  Opinion:  Are They Unteachable?  Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  June 15, 2009. By Maureen Downey.  I am always taken aback when teachers tell me that their students are essentially unteachable, that there’s little they can do to educate children who arrive at school unfed, unprepared and unmotivated. . . When teachers argue they can’t overcome a student’s background, they underestimate their power to change lives and they shortchange their profession. If childhood poverty were destiny, we’d have a lot fewer doctors, teachers and lawyers today. Children whose backgrounds would predict only failure achieve every day in Georgia because of smart, inventive and dedicated teachers.Those achievements don’t come easily. And teachers, no matter how dedicated, can’t engage and reach every child. However, the teachers who change lives never stop trying.

    11.  Colorado.        Denver’s Public Schools: Reforms, Challenges, and the Future.  June 15, 2009.  By Judy Bray and Alex Medler.  A report about Denver schools points out that "Current student results are unacceptable by all measures. Denver Public Schools (DPS) has prescribed goals for student achievement that go beyond what most large urban school districts accomplish, but which still fail to attain international standards."  Included in the report is a review of the performance pay program: "ProComp is deepening the evidence base nationally about whether and how performance pay for teachers improves student learning. However, the tentative nature of the one-year evaluation means that the jury will be out until a longer track record can be examined. The district needs more solid data and evidence of student impact in the next evaluation due in 2010. Confidence in the continuation of ProComp is high among district leaders, and the effort enjoys strong support from local and national proponents of pay-for-performance programs."

    12.  Rhode Island.     Teachers union would overhaul peer evaluations.  The Providence Journal. June 15, 2009. By Jennifer D. Jordan,
    Journal Staff Writer. PROVIDENCE — As in most years, about 400 teachers around the state will enter their own classroom for the first time this September. For many, it will prove a very difficult first year. . . Union leaders said they would begin a yearlong planning process to modify the Peer Assistance Review for Teaching Excellence, a widely respected peer-evaluation process started 28 years ago in Toledo, Ohio. Similar programs have spread to Chicago, Minneapolis and Rochester, N.Y.  . . In Toledo, there is a “consulting” teacher — a veteran instructor — for every 10 new teachers. Throughout the year, the consulting teacher visits and mentors the new teachers and provides a recommendation to an evaluation team about whether the teacher should continue in the profession. The evaluation team includes administrators and other teachers.


    13.  Ontario.         Full-day learning starts next year. McGuinty to back education blueprint blending kindergarten and daycare for children aged 4 and 5.  The Toronto Star. June 15, 2009.  By Laurie Monsebraaten and Kristin Rushowy. Premier Dalton McGuinty today will announce full-day learning for 4- and 5-year-olds starting next year, based on a provincial adviser's $1 billion plan that would see elementary schools become year-round hubs for children from birth to age 12.  It's unlikely McGuinty will commit to the entire $1 billion annual price tag recommended by early learning adviser Charles Pascal in his report to be released at Queen's Park today. But the premier, who will make the announcement this morning, is expected to honour his 2007 election pledge to spend $200 million on the plan in its first year and $300 million in 2011.

    14.  United States.      On a Furlough, but Never Leaving the Cubicle.  The New York Times. By SUSAN SAULNY and ROBBIE BROWN
    Published: June 14, 2009. Wendy Roberson, a state employee in California, founded the Fun Furlough Fridays Club partly as a joke, but also because she honestly believed that she would be having long-weekend-type fun on her forced time off. . . Robert Bruno, a professor of labor relations at the University of Illinois, Chicago, said the furlough experience could be traumatic. “A furlough is a dangerous and risky bet because it severs the relationship between an employee and their compensation,” Dr. Bruno said. “A worker’s emotional reaction to a furlough takes control of rational thought.” “It begins to look punitive, intentional or not,” he said.

    See also: Will the Furloughs of '09 Trigger a Fundamental Shift in the Employment Relationship?

    15.  Pennsylvania.      Concessions by teachers may presage a trend in Berks County. Oley Valley and Twin Valley educators renegotiate contracts; others may follow.  The Reading Eagle.  June 14, 2009.  By David Mekeel, Reading Eagle. In Berks County, the annual balancing act between providing a good education and avoiding hefty property tax hikes appears to have spawned a small trend. So far, two local teachers unions - Twin Valley and Oley Valley - have agreed to rip up existing contracts and sign new ones that save money for the districts.

    16.  North Carolina.      N.C. District Lets Go of Veteran Teachers, But Keeps TFA Hires. Performance Trumps Seniority in Officials' Decisions.  Education Week. June 12, 2009. By Stephen Sawchuk . Faced with a yawning budget gap, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board last week approved plans to let go of hundreds of teachers, basing that decision on the teachers’ low performance on evaluations, rather than on their seniority. Even more controversially, the 134,000-student North Carolina district granted an exemption to teachers hired through the Teach For America recruiting program who meet teaching standards over more-senior teachers, and it is poised to hire more TFA alumni.

    17.  New York.      The little guys will get the ax: City schools set to chop 2,600 workers.  The New York Daily News. BY Sarah Armaghan and Meredith Kolodner  DAILY NEWS WRITERS. Friday, June 12th 2009, 4:00 AM. There will be more than 2,600 school employees looking for jobs in September, the Daily News has learned. The list of staff facing the ax includes school aides, family counselors and hall monitors, which will have ripple effects in the classrooms, teachers and parents say.

  • 12 Jun 2009 10:51 AM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    1.  United States.     Stimulus Money Helps Colleges Avoid Slashing Budgets Now, but Big Cuts May Loom.  Chronicle of Higher Education.  June 12, 2009. By ERIC KELDERMAN. This year was bleak for state higher-education budgets. But college leaders are even more worried about what comes next. The billions of dollars in federal stimulus aid to plug shortfalls in state education budgets have helped limit the damage this year, but the money hasn't prevented all of the cuts to college budgets. Most states are spending the bulk of the stimulus money they are receiving for education on elementary and secondary schools, and roughly 20 percent on public colleges. In one state, Wisconsin, none of that federal aid is going to higher education. And the situation could get worse. Many states are spending all of their education stimulus money to fill gaps in the current and next budget years, leaving nothing for 2011, when many of their economies are still expected to be suffering from the recession.

    2.  United States.      Despite stimulus, schools feel budget pain. By Pauline Vu, Staff Writer. More than $100 billion in federal economic stimulus will help public schools and colleges survive the recession over the next two years, and for districts in dire straits, that money is a lifeline. But some states’ finances are so precarious their schools are still going to face large cuts. That’s why the Los Angeles school district canceled summer school classes, several Idaho districts have declared a state of financial emergency, and some states are considering shortening the average 180-day school year even as U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan pushes for students to spend more time in school. . . This year, 26 states made midyear cuts to elementary and secondary education and 31 made cuts to higher education, according to a recent report by the National Association of State Budget Officers and the National Governors Association.
    Fiscal Survey of the States: June 2009:

    3.  United States.      The End of the Merit Increase?  Compensation Force.  June 11, 2009.  By Ann Bares. Pay for performance is here to stay, but merit increases - possibly the longest running and most prevalent form of performance pay - may be on the path to extinction.  At least that was the conclusion of a number of experts in sessions I attended at this week's WorldatWork conference. Prevailing sentiment suggests that the future of pay for performance lies in variable pay - and I would be hard pressed to argue with this conclusion.  Base salaries - particularly base salary increases - have shown themselves to be less-than-ideal vehicles for rewarding performance.  The pace of salary growth in recent years is certainly one reason - salary increase budgets of 3% to 4% have made it difficult to carve out meaningful performance rewards.  Even more important, though, is the fixed nature of salary expenses.

    4.  Illinois.      Budget cuts to cost 1,000 CPS jobs. Chicago Sun-Times. June 10, 2009. BY MAUDLYNE IHEJIRIKA Staff Reporter. Up to 1,000 Chicago Public Schools non-classroom employees will lose their jobs this year under a reorganization to save $100 million.
    About half the layoffs will hit central office -- 27 percent of employees there -- in the next two weeks, while another 500 will be cut from citywide positions over the next year, sources said.,CST-NWS-cps10.article

    5.  United States.        Kids reap benefits of long school year.   USA Today.  June 10, 2009.   Kids reap benefits of long school year.  . . Roughly 1,000 schools — 80% charter schools, 20% traditional public schools — have expanded their schedules by more than one to two hours a day or 300 hours a year, according to the National Center on Time and Learning in Boston. Karl Alexander, a sociology professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, says poorer children need enrichment programs over summer months to compete academically with middle-class children. "The real key is what you do with the extra time," he says. "It has to be high-quality."

    6.  Pennysylvania.      Teacher pay target amid recession. Pittsburg Tribune.  By Debra Erdley, For The Valley Independent. June 10, 2009 Pennsylvania teachers could find themselves in the eye of a storm as schools buffeted by declining tax collections look for ways to cut costs. The Hempfield Area School District in Westmoreland County and two in the east - Quakertown Community School District in Bucks County and Easton Area in Lehigh County - have taken the rare step of seeking concessions in the middle of multiyear union contracts. Other districts are making unions aware of financial problems, officials said. "I think it is indicative of the financial circumstances schools are facing that any and all cost-cutting possibilities, even the most remote ones, are being considered," said Jay Himes, executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials. A recent survey showed revenue is down at four out of 10 schools statewide, he said. Public schools in Pennsylvania cannot furlough teachers solely to balance budgets.

    7.  Washington, DC.      Schools Stalemate: The public deserves a look at what is holding up education reform in the District.  The Washington Post.  Editorial.  June 10, 2009.  SCHOOLS Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee made no secret of her aim to reshape the District's teaching force when contract talks started 18 months ago. Union leaders, for their part, said they were open to new ideas. Despite the seemingly endless talks, a money offer that would make D.C. teachers among the highest-paid in the country and intense mediation by a respected third party, an agreement has yet to be reached. It is a stalemate that threatens education reform in the District.

    8.  Wisconsin.      Battle lines drawn in QEO debate.  Leader-Telegram.  June 9, 2009.  By Tom Giffey.  Removing the state law that limits increases in teachers' pay and benefits would be financially disastrous for school districts, especially during a recession, school board representatives said Monday. . . The QEO was put in place by the state Legislature in 1993 as a way to control school costs. The law allows districts to avoid binding arbitration with teachers unions if they offer pay and benefit increases worth 3.8 percent. Teachers unions and their political allies - including Gov. Jim Doyle and the Democrats who control the Legislative - say the QEO treats teachers unfairly by limiting their ability to negotiate.

    9.  United States.      Grade Inflation, Employee Edition.  Inside HigherEd. By Dean Dad June 9, 2009 9:53 pm. This time of year brings with it the annual flood of program reviews, employee evaluations, and end-of-year wrap-ups. (Between the academic year and the fiscal year, we hit the 'reset' button on July 1.) That means that the second half of June becomes an exercise in speed reading and diplomacy. I'm noticing again a pronounced tendency towards internal grade inflation. In informal conversation, it's easy to get some fascinating three-dimensional portraits of employees. But in writing, almost everybody is practically perfect in every way. We've blasted right past Lake Wobegon and entered Mary Poppins territory.

    10.  United States.      When the Union is Your Employer.  Education Report. By Lorie A. Shane,Tue., June 9, 2009. “ … (I)t is the fervent hope of the Union that we will not see a repeat of the kinds of proposals this time around that hit the table in 2007.” If that sounds like a union getting ready for contentious contract talks with management, it is. But in this case, the union is the United Staff Organization of Michigan, and “management” is the Michigan Education Association.  The public tends to hear a great deal about teacher contract negotiations in local public school districts during summer and fall, particularly if a district is placed by MEA on its “critical list.” Usually the district and its teachers or support staff are at odds over how much the district can afford to spend on wages and health insurance.

    11.  United States.      Ed Secretary: Judge Teachers on How Students Do.  The NY Times. By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. Published: June 8, 2009. WASHINGTON (AP) -- Teachers should be judged on student performance, though not solely on test scores, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Monday. Duncan supports merit pay for teachers, an often controversial practice linking raises or bonuses to student achievement. It is opposed by many teachers' union members, who make up a powerful segment of the Democratic Party. He said test scores alone should not decide a teacher's salary. ''But to somehow suggest we should not link student achievement to teacher effectiveness is like suggesting we judge sports teams without looking at the box score,'' said Duncan, who played professional basketball in Australia.

    12.  United States.      Duncan to States: Test Scores and Teacher Evaluations Do Mix.  Education Week.  June 8, 2009. In the first in a planned series of four speeches about the Education Department's top reform priorities, Secretary Arne Duncan told education researchers today that innovation and new practices must be supported by evidence-based research. And, what's more, he took states to task for enacting laws barring student test scores from being used in teacher-evaluation decisions. Debbie Viadero, who covers and blogs about research for EdWeek, called in to say that Duncan, in particular, singled out New York and California for having such state laws. But the problem goes deeper than those two states. According to the latest update from the Data Quality Campaign, 17 states have no plans to create a unique teacher-identifier number and link that number to student achievement data. My colleague Stephen Sawchuk, who blogs over at the Teacher Beat, has explored this issue in depth.

    13.  United States.      Indiana State Teachers Association Summons Delegates to Deal with Financial Crisis. EIA Communique.  June 8, 2009.  There isn't room to recap everything that happened in Indiana in the last week. Scroll down to Last Week's Intercepts and work your way through those blog posts, then return to this item for the latest. I'd also like to recommend the Indiana Barrister web site. Abdul Hakim-Shabazz has been all over this story from the beginning. All right, up to speed now? This morning, NEA President Dennis Van Roekel flew into Indianapolis to headline the press conference held to memorialize the union's change of heart regarding payments to disabled teachers left helpless by the collapse of the Indiana State Teachers Association's Insurance Trust. Van Roekel, along with NEA Trustee Edward Sullivan and ISTA President Nate Schnellenberger, announced NEA would provide an undisclosed amount of assistance to ISTA in order to cover the payments.
    14.  Michigan.     Early teacher retirements help balance school budget.  Muskegon Chronicle. Sunday, June 07, 2009. By Lynn Moore. GRAND HAVEN -- An early retirement incentive that is prompting at least 20 teachers to leave Grand Haven schools has helped the district balance next year's budget without having to cut programs.  The incentive -- $10,000 a year for four years -- is expected to save the district nearly $1 million in the first year alone, said Donna Bylenga, director of business services for Grand Haven Area Public Schools. . . The district hasn't offered an early retirement incentive for 16 years, and probably won't again for another 16 years, she said.

    15.  United States.       Reports: Bleak state budgets through 2011.  June 4, 2009. By Pamela M. Prah, Staff Writer.  Even if the national recession ends this year as many predict, state budgets will likely be in the red for the next two years, with budget gaps topping $230 billion as tax collections of sales, personal and corporate income lag, two new reports show. More than half the states reported that revenues from every major tax source, through April, were below last year’s collections, the National Conference of State Legislatures said in a report released June 3.

    16.  Illinois.      Chicago Teachers Union approves budget after heated debate.  Substance News. By George N. Schmidt - June 03, 2009
    After more than an hour of heated debate, the Chicago Teachers Union's House of Delegates approved the union's budget for the coming fiscal year by a wide margin. For the first time in union history, the officers, after refusing to do so, provided the delegates with a copy of the master contract presently covering the employment of the union's remaining four officers. The contracts of the officers, which CTU President Marilyn Stewart said she was providing to the delegates after ever increasing demands for more fiscal transparency, show that the officers this year are being paid $120,000 per year.

  • 05 Jun 2009 12:39 PM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    1.  United States.     NEA versus Teach For America.  Intercepts Blog--Educational Intelligence Agency.  June 2009. By Mike Antonucci.    ". . . NEA is a labor union. Its power and influence derive entirely from its being a single organization purporting to speak with one voice for all of its members and, by extension, all of America’s teachers and, by extension, the entire American public education system. NEA chose its own monolithic image, and its opponents also see it as monolithic. But NEA isn’t monolithic. No organization made up of more than 3 million individuals could possibly be. Not all of its members are teachers. . . Of course there are educational arguments to be made against any proposed reform you can name: merit pay, charters, tenure, alternative certification, et al. But it isn’t the educational arguments that really matter to the union; it’s that each reform requires the system to differentiate among the union’s members."

    2.  New York.      2 More Part-Time Faculty Unions.  Inside HigherEd  June 5, 2009. Part-time faculty members at Cooper Union and in the pre-college division of the Manhattan School of Music have voted (separately) to be represented in collective bargaining by the New York State United Teachers, affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association. Job security was a major issue in both organizing campaigns.

    3.  New York.      Next Test: Value of $125,000-a-Year Teachers.  The New York Times.  June 5, 2009.  By ELISSA GOOTMAN.  So what kind of teachers could a school get if it paid them $125,000 a year? . . . An accomplished violist who infuses her music lessons with the neuroscience of why one needs to practice, and creatively worded instructions like, “Pass the melody gently, as if it were a bowl of Jell-O!”   They are members of an eight-teacher dream team, lured to an innovative charter school that will open in Washington Heights in September with salaries that would make most teachers drop their chalk and swoon; $125,000 is nearly twice as much as the average New York City public school teacher earns, and about two and a half times as much as the national average for teacher salaries. They also will be eligible for bonuses, based on schoolwide performance, of up to $25,000 in the second year.

    4.  Indiana.      Ind. teachers union ending disability payments.  The Chicago Tribune. By DEANNA MARTIN | Associated Press Writer
    5:13 PM CDT, June 3, 2009 INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana's largest teachers union says it will stop making payments in July to the 650 people receiving long-term disability benefits from its troubled insurance trust. A National Education Association trustee who took over the Indiana State Teachers Association's insurance arm said last month that his top priority was making sure teachers and others with the insurance saw no disruption in coverage as investigators determined whether trust managers did something more than just make risky investments. . . But state Insurance Commissioner Jim Atterholt said Wednesday that teachers and others currently receiving disability rely on those payments. "How are these 650 teachers from across the state who are currently on disability supposed to feed their families until the lawyers sort everything out years from now?" Atterholt said. "The honorable thing for the NEA and ISTA to do is to continue to pay claims until they recover the money from the bad actors.",0,3659923.story

    5.  Utah.      5 schools chosen for teacher pay pilot program. The Salt Lake Tribune.  By Lisa Schencker. 06/03/2009 10:01:23 AM MDT.  Performance pay for teachers is officially back on track in Utah. Education officials have chosen five schools to divvy up a state allocation of $300,000 a year for two years to create performance pay pilot programs for elementary school teachers and classroom-related staff. Typically, teachers are paid based on experience and education. The schools that were chosen for the program, however, will pay teachers extra based on quality of instruction, students' academic progress and parent, student or community satisfaction. The schools will receive the money thanks to a bill lawmakers approved this past legislative session. It was one of the only new education programs to gain approval in a session where lawmakers cut school funding by a net 5.2 percent.

    6.  Maryland.      Teachers want to remain in Baltimore County, state survey shows. But union president is still concerned about retention.  The Baltimore Sun. By Arin Gencer. June 2, 2009 Results from a state survey indicate that a considerable majority of Baltimore County teachers are happy where they are, in what one school official described as a "ringing endorsement" of the district. "Teachers believe that their schools are good places for them to work," said Thomas Rhoades, the district's executive director of research, accountability and assessment, in a recent presentation to school board members on the survey, which slightly more than 80 percent of county educators took. Superintendent Joe A. Hairston added that the questionnaire data "reinforces the fact that people aren't running away to another school district in droves." Their observations seemed directed at comments made by teachers union President Cheryl Bost, who has repeatedly said the school district needs to work on retaining teachers, developing a long-term plan to hold onto the experienced ones - and to keep beginners beyond their first few years.,0,3419712.story?track=rss

    7.  United States.      The Widget Efect: Our National Failure to Acknowledge and Act on Differences in Teacher Effectiveness. June 2, 2009.  The New Teacher Project.  By D. Weisberg, S. Sexton, J. Mulhern and D. Keeling.  "This report examines our pervasive and longstanding failure to recognize and respond to variations in the effectiveness of our teachers. At the heart of the matter are teacher evaluation systems, which in theory should serve as the primary mechanism for assessing such variations, but in practice tell us little about how one teacher differs from any other, except teachers whose performance is so egregiously poor as to warrant dismissal. The failure of evaluation systems to provide accurate and credible information about individual teachers’ instructional performance sustains and reinforces a phenomenon that we have come to call the Widget Effect. The Widget Effect describes the tendency of school districts to assume classroom effectiveness is the same from teacher to teacher. This decades-old fallacy fosters an environment in which teachers cease to be understood as individual professionals, but rather as interchangeable parts. In its denial of individual strengths and weaknesses, it is deeply disrespectful to teachers; in its indifference to instructional effectiveness, it gambles with the lives of students." 

    8.  Florida.      Pinellas School Board chairwoman suggests alternative to early school release.  St. Peterburg Times. By Donna Winchester, Times Staff Writer In Print: Tuesday, June 2, 2009.  Pinellas School Board chairwoman Peggy O'Shea said Monday she will float an alternative at today's board workshop to the controversial plan to release students early every Wednesday starting in the fall. Rather than shortening the students' day to give teachers planning time, O'Shea will suggest teachers stay an hour longer on Wednesdays. Since they must be at school longer than students, teachers could leave 15 minutes early the other four days of the week without affecting children, O'Shea reasoned. The "early release" day, a clause in the teachers' contract approved last week by the board 4-3, has prompted a flurry of e-mails from parents caught off guard by the decision and worried about having to arrange for additional after-school care.

    9.  United States.      U.S. Effort to Reshape Schools Faces Challenges.  NY Times. By SAM DILLON. Published: June 1, 2009 CHICAGO — As chief executive of the Chicago public schools, Arne Duncan closed more than a dozen of the city’s worst schools, reopening them with new principals and teachers. People who worked with him, and some who fought him, say those school turnarounds were worth the effort, but all aroused intense opposition. . . Mr. Duncan wants to see 250 schools closed and reconstituted next year. That would mean dismissing thousands of teachers next spring, hiring replacements and opening newly reconstituted schools in fall 2010.

    10.  Michigan.       Adjuncts Vote to Unionize at Michigan State.  Inside HigherEd.  June 1, 2009.  Non-tenure track faculty members at Michigan State University have voted to unionize, 240-113. The new bargaining unit, affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, will cover both full-time and part-time professors who are off the tenure track.

    11.  United States.      Study: Teachers Choose Schools According to Student Race.  May 27, 2009.  A study forthcoming in the Journal of Labor Economics suggests that high-quality teachers tend to leave schools that experience inflows of black students. According to the study’s author, C. Kirabo Jackson (Cornell University), this is the first study to show that a school’s racial makeup may have a direct impact on the quality of its teachers.

    12.  Florida.      Pinellas School Board approves teacher contract.  The St. Petersburg Times.  By Donna Winchester, Times Staff Writer
    In Print: Wednesday, May 27, 2009 LARGO — The Pinellas School Board ratified the working portion of a new teacher contract Tuesday, agreeing by a narrow margin to end the school day early every Wednesday beginning in August to provide teachers with dedicated planning time. The 4-3 vote also ensured that middle and high school teachers will be required to prepare no more than two sets of lesson plans for their students in the coming school year. Both issues sharply divided board members, who spent more than an hour weighing the pros and cons of voting against superintendent Julie Janssen's recommendation to ratify the contract.

    13.  Michigan.    Leaders call for reform at Detroit teachers meeting.  May 26, 2009. By Jennifer Mrozowski / The Detroit News
    Detroit --Detroit Public Schools emergency financial manager Robert Bobb joined today with the head of the district's teachers' union and other state and national union leaders in a show of collaboration and a call for reform as the school system moves toward contract negotiations. The school system is holding a district-wide training meeting today with all of its teachers to explore innovative instruction and teacher pay models used in other districts across the United States.  Keith Johnson, the head of the Detroit Federation of Teachers, called the meeting "an unprecedented opportunity" for cooperation and coalescence around improving student achievement in this district, which the nation's top education official called "a national disgrace."  Johnson said that to restore confidence, the teachers must demonstrate a willingness to change and reform.

    14.  California.      Strapped schools are cutting down to the bone.  The San Francisco Chronice.  By Nanette Asimov, Chronicle Staff Writer. Tuesday, May 26, 2009.  The kids at Stonebrae Elementary School in Hayward handed in their musical instruments Friday - and may never get them back. For some, the simple act of saying farewell to a flute or a violin is a metaphor for the precarious future of public education in the state.  State schools chief Jack O'Connell said Thursday that the state's fiscal crisis threatens the quality of education up and down the state - especially for students struggling academically."The governor's proposing massive budget cuts to public education," he said. "There will be fewer school counselors, fewer nurses. School leaders will just try to keep the lights on."
    California faces a $21.3 billion budget gap for the fiscal year beginning July 1, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is proposing $5.3 billion in additional cuts to schools and community colleges.

    15.  Washington DC.      Reform, Through the Eyes Of New York's Chancellor.  The Washington Post.  By Michael Alison Chandler, Washington Post Staff Writer. May 25, 2009. Before D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) took over the city's public schools two years ago, he paid a visit here to learn about a school system at the center of urban education reform.  In seven years as schools chancellor, Joel I. Klein has emphasized accountability and school choice. He has granted principals more autonomy and money in exchange for results, piloted a performance-based teacher compensation plan and raised millions of dollars in private funds to support his initiatives, including $100 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to create smaller, more personalized high schools. His stubborn, top-down style has earned him friends and foes alike, as has his willingness to challenge the unions and popular thinking about public schooling.

    16.  United States.        Eight states top 10% jobless rate. Michigan rate leads, though California had most job losses.  The Detroit News.  May 23, 2009. By Jeannine Aversa / Associated Press. Washington -- All but six states lost jobs in April and double-digit unemployment persisted in every corner of the country as companies squeezed by the recession slashed payrolls. Michigan, the heart of the teetering American auto industry, posted the highest unemployment rate in the nation, 12.9 percent, the Labor Department said Friday. For the fifth straight month, California led the nation in net job losses, with 63,700 jobs disappearing in April. Among the handful of winners were Arkansas, Montana and Florida -- a state battered by the housing collapse and badly in need of good news.

    17.  United States.      Surviving Uncertainty: A Few Tips.  Atlantic Magazine.  By Lane Wallace.  May 22, 2009.  1. Don't panic. 2. Focus on the present. 3. Keep perspective. 4. Separate what you can't control from what you can, and then focus on taking action on those items you can control. 5. Learn to prioritize what's essential, and loadshed everything else. 6. Stay flexible. 7. Remember to look at and enjoy the scenery, even when things get challenging.


    18.  United States.   The New Math: Teachers Share Recession’s Pain.  The New York Times.  May 22, 2009. By WINNIE HU. Bankers, lawyers and journalists have taken pay cuts and gone without raises to stay employed in a tough economy. Now similar givebacks are spreading to education, an industry once deemed to be recession-proof. All 95 teachers and five administrators in the Tuckahoe school district in Westchester County agreed to give $1,000 each to next year’s school budget to keep the area’s tax increase below 3 percent. In the Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow district, 80 percent of the 500 school employees — including teachers, clerks, custodians and bus drivers — have pledged more than $150,000 from their own pockets to help close a $300,000 budget gap. . . New York State’s powerful teachers’ unions have rarely agreed to reopen contract negotiations in bad economic times, let alone make concessions. But as many school districts presented flat budgets to voters in recent weeks, teachers in at least a dozen suburban areas have opened the door to compromise to save jobs, preserve programs and smaller class sizes, and show support for the towns and villages where many of them have taught generations of families.

  • 22 May 2009 11:45 AM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    1.  Mississippi.      Some Miss. teachers face pay cuts. Supplements iffy until budget finalized. The Clarion Ledger. By Marquita Brown. May 22, 2009. Many of Mississippi's national board certified teachers won't receive their entire $6,000 salary supplement next school term - unless the state provides the money to their districts. At least two metro-Jackson districts have modified their teacher contracts to reflect the possible cut. Some other districts plan to provide the money no matter what the state does; others will wait for the state budget to be finalized. Thirty-nine Clinton teachers and 108 teachers in Madison County are affected. There are 2,897 national board certified teachers in the state, including 217 who earned the designation in 2008, according to the most recent figures from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Such teachers voluntarily sought advanced certification.

    2.  California.      Schools prepare for devastating losses of funding.  The LA Times. By Seema Mehta and Jason Song. May 21, 2009.
    After voters rejected ballot measures that would have restored state funding for schools, educators across California on Wednesday braced for $5.3 billion in cuts over the next 13 months. State and district officials predicted increased class sizes, additional teacher layoffs, more school closures and fewer arts and music offerings. Some districts could face insolvency. . . Voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected five ballot measures intended to shore up the state's finances, leaving legislators to bridge a $21.3-billion budget gap. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed cutting education funding by $1.6 billion for the remainder of this fiscal year, which ends June 30, and nearly $3.7 billion for next year.,0,2601992.story?track=rss

    2a.  Indiana.      NEA takes over Indiana teachers' union.  Evansville Courier & Press.  May 20, 2009.  By The Associated Press.  INDIANAPOLIS — The National Education Association has taken over its 50,000-member Indiana branch as investigators look into the finances of the affiliate’s troubled insurance arm. Indiana State Teachers Association President Nate Schnellenberger sent members an e-mail dated Tuesday that said the NEA will have complete control of the state’s largest teachers union. ISTA’s board met Saturday in a special session and requested that the NEA take over, he said. The Indiana union is working to untangle its trust from millions of dollars in liabilities. Investigators are trying to determine whether managers did something improper or merely made risky investments for the trust, which provides medical, disability and other types of insurance to school districts. “The purpose of this trusteeship is to assure ISTA’s current financial viability and continued long-term success,” Schnellenberger wrote in the e-mail.

    3.  California.  California Votes No.  Inside Higher Ed. May 20, 2009 California voters on Tuesday rejected -- by a wide margin -- a series of budget proposals that would have minimized cuts to public higher education and many other state and local entities. Higher education leaders have warned that such an outcome will lead to severe and sustained cuts. The ballot measures would have made a variety of changes in state budget rules that would have had the impact of making more money available this year -- although not necessarily in the future. While many higher education leaders have been critical of stopgap measures, saying that they tend to have a negative long-term impact on the availability of state funding, many backed the measures that were defeated, calling them the only way currently available to avert massive cuts.

    4.  Alabama.      Bonuses sought to lure teachers. Board offers up to $10,000 to instruct at MLK. Tuscaloosa News.By Jamon Smith Staff Writer. May 20, 2009 at 11:26 p.m. TUSCALOOSA | The Tuscaloosa City Board of Education is considering paying bonuses of up to $10,000 to entice teachers to work at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School. The bonuses would be an incentive for talented teachers who could help pull MLK out of school improvement status. The school has been mired in the status for four years. “We want teachers who can come in and possess strong teaching skills, use multiple strategies, use data and can engage students to move them forward academically,” said Mike Daria, executive director of personnel for the city school system. The bonus, which would be paid with federal money, is $5,000 annually for two years and is only for teachers who transfer to MLK. Teachers already employed at the school would not qualify for the bonus.

    5.  United States.      Money's Nice, but a Good Boss Is Better. In Survey of Federal Workplaces, Strong Managers Rank High.  The Washington Post.  By Steve Vogel. May 20, 2009. When it comes to sizing up the quality of their workplaces, federal workers value strong leadership and straight answers from their bosses more than even pay and benefits, according to a new comprehensive study of the federal workforce. . . What separates these agencies in the minds of their employees is often the senior leadership, how well or poorly it shares information with subordinates, and the training and opportunities it provides workers, according to the study of federal survey results by the Partnership for Public Service, a nonpartisan group devoted to improving public service.

    6.  South Carolina.      Schools slashing teacher jobs, upping class sizes. Districts don’t count on aid coming; deadline for teacher contracts was Friday.  The State (Columbia). By GINA SMITH. May 20, 2009. Many S.C. school districts say they’re giving up on receiving federal stimulus funds and are slashing teaching ranks, shuffling around remaining teachers and increasing class sizes. Friday marked the deadline for school districts to offer teachers contracts for the 2009-2010 school year. New teachers and retired teachers who have returned to the classroom represent the two largest groups receiving pink slips as districts prepare budgets without the federal cash.

    7.  New York.      School Budgets to Be Cut by 5 Percent Next Year.  The New York Times. By JENNIFER MEDINA. Published: May 19, 2009
    New York City schools face budget reductions of roughly 5 percent for the 2009-10 school year, Chancellor Joel I. Klein said on Tuesday, predicting they would lead to deep cuts in after-school and weekend programs.In announcing the cuts — totaling $405 million — Mr. Klein emphasized that they were not as deep as he had feared, largely because of federal stimulus money.

    8.  NewYork.      Charter school teachers say union is against them. Pickets feel NYSUT short-changes their schools.  The Buffalo News.  May 19, 2009.  This time the picket was on the other side of the fence. Teachers from the Charter School for Applied Technologies in the Town of Tonawanda took to the picket line Monday, demanding more representation — from their own union. “We are looking for NYSUT to take a more proactive approach to representing us and other charter schools,” said Christine Twarozek, treasurer of the teachers’ union at the charter school on Kenmore Avenue.  The local union is affiliated with New York State United Teachers, one of the state’s largest unions, and has been since the school opened eight years ago.

    9.  United States.       Delaware teachers walk out on the bell. Faculty, angry with Markell's plan, work only what their contract requires.
    By JENNIFER PRICE • The News Journal • May 19, 2009. Social studies teacher Dave Bradley usually gets to Mount Pleasant High School around 7 a.m. and leaves after 5 p.m., using the time on either side of the actual school day to give students extra help, grade papers and make lesson plans. But this week, as a way to show how many extra hours teachers put in, Bradley will work only what his contract requires him to -- 7:15 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. In every school district across the state except Delmar, teachers and other school employees are participating in a "Bell to Bell" demonstration to protest Gov. Jack Markell's proposed 8 percent salary cut for all state employees.


    10.  California.   Pool of teachers being depleted.  San Diego Union-tribune. By Chris Moran Union-Tribune Staff Writer. May 19, 2009 Even with thousands of teachers statewide facing layoffs, recruitment experts are warning of an impending teacher shortage. The numbers of teaching credentials issued and students majoring in education are in sharp decline. Experts warn that news of layoffs could exacerbate the trend by driving would-be educators into fields with better prospects.


    11.  Texas.      State halts one merit pay plan for teachers, keeps newer program.  Dallas Morning News. May 18, 2009. By TERRENCE STUTZ. AUSTIN – Texas' longest running merit pay plan for teachers is being quietly retired this year after getting lackluster returns on its $100-million-a-year investment. Within a school finance bill recently approved by the House – and now before the Senate – is a provision that terminates the Texas Educator Excellence Grant program after four years and shifts some of its funds to a second plan launched this school year.

    12.  Arizona.      Dilemma: More teachers or higher pay? As class sizes grow, experts differ on best use of state education funding.  The Arizona Republic.  May 17, 2009.  Arizona classrooms are the third-most crowded in the nation, and they're about to get squeezed further. A recession forced the Legislature this year to cut money for K-12 education, school-tax revenues are falling, and enrollment is declining, which means less per-student state funds but often consolidated classes. Next year looks no better, and federal stimulus dollars are seen as a short-term patch by many schools. Their next step: even larger classes.  Researchers lack agreement on how important class size is. Many studies conclude, however, that minority and low-income students, who often struggle to attain grade-level skills, benefit the most from small class sizes. On the other hand, many studies conclude that unless a well-trained, highly skilled teacher is in charge, class size doesn't matter. Therein lies the conundrum before Arizona schools and parents: larger classes, taught by high-quality teachers who earn better pay, or smaller classes.

    13.  California.      Anger over budget cuts boils over at L.A. schools. LA Times. May 16, 2009.  By Jason Song and Howard Blume
    May 16, 2009.  The head of the Los Angeles teachers union was among 39 people arrested Friday during a sit-in outside the school district headquarters, one among dozens of peaceful protests around the city by teachers and students outraged by plans for deep cuts in education spending. . . Supt. Ramon C. Cortines said after the protests that Duffy and a top aide had met with him the day before to suggest a compromise: The district would spend more of its federal stimulus money than planned in the coming year, forestalling the need for any teacher layoffs, and the union would agree to concessions, such as a wage freeze or unpaid furloughs.,0,5718877.story

    14.  Indiana.      ISTA fund showed many trades, big losses. Investigation found broker's pay rose as assets withered.  The Indianapolis Star.  Mary 16, 2009.  By Bill Ruthhart. An investment broker hired by the state teachers union insurance fund made an extraordinarily high number of trades and received a large increase in his commissions even as the fund's assets were plummeting, according to a report obtained Friday by The Indianapolis Star. Both the FBI and the Securities Division of Secretary of State Todd Rokita's office are investigating the handling of investments in the Indiana State Teachers Association's Insurance Trust, sources close to the investigations said.

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