Monday, August 25, 2008

Rough Day For Education Unions!

As Chancellor (superintendent) of the DC Public Schools, Michelle Rhee has a difficult job. Type her last name into the search box at the top of the page to read what I've previously written about her and about my respect for her.

Then read this story:

So far, Rhee has streamlined Washington's central office by firing nearly 100 employees. She dismissed 36 principals she considered ineffective, including one at the elementary school her two daughters attend. She also sent termination letters this summer to 750 teachers and teacher's aides who missed a certification deadline...

By soliciting donations from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other groups, Rhee wants to make Washington's teachers among the nation's best-paid with salaries that could reach $131,000.

However, teachers would have to give up seniority and spend a year on probation, exposing them to the possibility of being fired.

Weingarten, whose national organization includes the D.C. teachers' union, said there's nothing inherently wrong with pay-for-performance plans. But she doesn't believe they should be based on standardized test scores _ something Rhee has indicated she supports. Negotiations with the union are ongoing.

So while Chancellor Rhee is kicking butt and taking names, we have the president of the American Federation of Teachers admitting that there's "nothing inherently wrong with pay-for-performance plans".

If that isn't enough to put a smile on your face, Mickey Kaus at Slate (not a conservative publication by any stretch) points out that some prominent Democrats are badmouthing teachers unions! But wait, it gets better:

The party would "have to admit as Democrats we have been wrong on education." Loud applause!

Gotta love that. There may be hope after all.

Update, 8/26/08: It just gets better.

American Federation of Teachers’ President Randi Weingarten told me today she is “really pissed” about the anti-union bent of yesterday’s Education Equality Project event.

While the Democratic National Convention here in Denver is supposed to be about uniting the party, Weingarten said that yesterday’s “Ed Challenge for Change” forum, sponsored by the Democrats for Education Reform, and a press conference before promoting the Education Equality Project, was more about creating division than showing leadership on school reform.

Nothing like admitting your union is an arm of the Democrat.

By the way, Randi: as my grandmother used to say, "It's better to be pissed off than pissed on." She really used to say that!

1 comment:

angryimmigrant said...

This surge will work just as well, and all politicians (and unions) will claim that they were for it from the very beginning.