Dems split with teachers' unions on pay

The Democratic Party’s education platform breaks with the teachers’ unions on some key issues, reports Greg Toppo in USA Today. (Someone read the platform!)

Among them: paying teachers more if they raise test scores, teach in “underserved areas” or take on new responsibilities such as mentoring new teachers.

The black big-city mayors are fed up with the status quo.

John McCain’s education advisor, former Arizona school chief Lisa Keegan, tells Ed Week’s Alyson Klein that McCain will strengthen accountability.

. . McCain has signed onto the Education Equality Project’s statement, which seeks to advance the idea that schools are primarily responsible for student achievement and promotes greater accountability for teachers and public school choice. Obama has not signed that statement, a move McCain attributed to union opposition in a speech last month.

Keegan says McCain will get conservatives on board for No Child Left Behind and work with Democrats to ensure that struggling students get help quickly.

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  1. If I were more computer literate I could figure out how to cut an paste the education part of the platform in here — but I cannot so here is the link —

    The education part starts on page 13 or 14

    Enjoy — some interesting stuff — such as figuring out a way to get ineffective teachers out of the classroom — finally!!!

  2. “We must ensure that every student has a high-quality teacher and an effective principal. That starts with recruiting a new generation of teachers and principals by making this pledge–if you commit your life to teaching, America will commit to paying for your college education. We’ll provide better preparation, mentoring and career ladders. Where there are teachers who are still struggling and underperforming we should provide them with individual help and support. And if they’re still underperforming after that, we should find a quick and fair way—consistent with due process—to put another teacher in
    that classroom.”

    I suppose for the Democratic Party the admission that there’s such a creature as an “underperforming” teacher is revolutionary but outside the NEA hothouse that’s hardly the uncompromising pursuit of the best education for every child.

    And just to take the sting out admission that every teacher *isn’t* the embodiment of compassion and professionalism, this next paragraph:

    “To reward our teachers, we will follow the lead of school districts and educators that have pioneered innovative ways to increase teacher pay that are developed with teachers, not imposed on them. We will make an unprecedented national investment to provid e teachers with better pay and better support to improve their skills, and their students’ learning. We’ll reward effective teachers who teach in underserved areas, take on added responsibilities like mentoring new teachers, or consistently excel in the classroom.”

    i.e. more bucks!

    Of course there’s some lip service paid to doing more for those additional bucks but I’m sure no one takes that very seriously.

  3. How about a little accountability for the parents and students AS WELL as the teachers?

    But then if that happened, when the kids don’t attend school or even attempt to do their school work, that would make the parents (or should I say voters) partly responsible, wouldn’t it?

  4. How do advocates of merit pay propose to compensate Art or Shop teachers? Is there a standardized test of Sculpture or Auto Mechanics? Or do advocates of merit pay suggest that this be reserved for Math and English? Just try get union support for that! I see English classes under such a system preparing students with analogy and synonym/antonym drills.

    Merit pay will not work in the current State-monopoly school system. Like any other internal accountability system, insiders will have a strong incentive to distort the mechanism so that everyone wins, so everyone gets prizes. Economists call the phenomenon “regulatory capture”. The only merit pay system that will work to the advantage of students, real classroom teachers, and taxpayers is a (voucher-subsidized) competitive market in education services.

  5. Andy Freeman says:

    > How do advocates of merit pay propose to compensate Art or Shop teachers? Is there a standardized test of Sculpture or Auto Mechanics?

    I won’t comment on art, but auto mechanics is regularly tested in the real world.

    In fact, testability is pretty much universal among fields concerned with manipulating matter and/or energy.

    I do find it interesting that a testing opponent would think that auto mechanics is untestable.

    As far as art goes, if you can’t tell us which is better, there’s no reason for us to pay more for better….