Tuesday, June 06, 2006

WTU updates

A couple of WTU related news items:
  • James O. Baxter, the former Treasurer for the union who was found guilty of embezzling the union, has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.
    U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Leon also ordered Baxter to pay a $2,300 fine as a "special assessment" and to repay, along with his co-conspirators, $4.2 million of the money stolen from the union.
  • The 4,000+ members of the Washington Teachers Union will be voting on a new contract today that, frankly, is pretty damn progressive (and I mean that in a good way). In what amounts to basically a 180 degree turn from its existing stance the Union leadership is backing a limited "pay for performance" model for the District's public school teachers.
    Under the bonus program, teachers at as many as to 10 schools would volunteer to take part and would become eligible for extra compensation based on their contribution to raising test scores and their completion of training and degree programs.

    The program is similar to one in Denver, which Parker, Janey and D.C. school board members visited in November to gather information. Denver teachers can increase their pay $2,967 a year by obtaining a graduate degree, and the school system pays incentive bonuses of $989 for a satisfactory evaluation; $989 for working in hard-to-fill positions such as in bilingual education; $989 for transferring to a troubled school; and $333 for meeting the goals the teachers submit for improving student performance.
    So why the change in attitude? Apparently the success of charter schools in the District was a main driver.
    Union President George Parker said the changes are needed so that the District's traditional public schools can compete more successfully with the public charter schools, which have lured away thousands of students.

    "The landscape has changed. Our parents are voting with their feet," Parker said. "As kids continue leaving the system, we will lose teachers. Our very survival depends on having kids in D.C. schools so we'll have teachers to represent."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Progressive? New York City and Boston have eliminated seniority-based bumping rights across the board -- IN ALL SCHOOLS, not just 10, as is proposed here in DC. DC has over 160 schools, folks. NYC and Boston are engaged in real reform -- staffing decisions there are based on quality of the teacher and with input from the principal at the receiving school. What kind of CEO would run a company and not have hire/fire authority? This contract is too little, too late. This is all Janey could get out of a union weakened by continuing scandals? Winner; WTU -- they negotiated a "progressive" contract for 10 schools and are able to claim the mantle of advocate for quality education. Loser: DCPS students and principals.