The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) just stepped up to the plate to help Colorado pass an important new law on teacher tenure rules. Part of the provisions link student performance to the right of teachers to continue on tenure.
And, agreement was recently reached in New York to pass a law that allows schools to link student test scores to teacher evaluations.
Linking performance to employee ratings a common-sense approach that has long been the standard in virtually every other area of society except teaching. The AFT is the dominant union in New York City, making it of major importance in statewide politics, as well.
Writes the Washington Post, “With the Colorado bill hanging in the balance, the American Federation of Teachers, led by president Randi Weingarten, broke with the National Education Association to endorse it as ‘for the good of kids.’”
How refreshing! A union finally setting aside some of its self-interests to meet the larger need of its members’ ultimate client, the children. That is the way professional organizations operate.
How sad that Kentucky’s dominant teachers’ union is the National Education Association (NEA). Except for a few local chapters in other states, the NEA so far has failed to see the light of enlightenment that is shining bright at the AFT.
So far, nowhere is that light more dimmed than here in Kentucky. Can you ever recall Kentucky’s teachers’ union putting aside self-interests to do something for the good of kids?
This selfish mode of operation could cost Kentucky dearly in the current Race to the Top (RTTT) competition. Those new laws in Colorado and New York are aimed directly at winning some of that money. Both of those states now can point to not only a dramatic improvement in their education policies, but also to a remarkable shift in local union support that certainly will make their bids much more attractive in Washington.
Meanwhile, Kentucky’s teachers’ union just trounced any chance of getting charter schools added to our RTTT reform proposal, in the process providing dramatic evidence that in Kentucky the union remains standing in the way of real education reforms.
Washington just might notice that, too, when RTTT judging starts.