Duncan backs merit pay at NEA

Teachers booed and hissed when Education Secretary Arne Duncan advocated merit pay at the National Education Association convention in San Diego.  They didn’t like “talk of reform to seniority and tenure systems, either,” reports Teacher Beat’s Stephen Sawchuck. 

I wonder if Duncan had prepared his seemingly ad-libbed line for when the booing started: “You can boo, but don’t throw any shoes, please.” And I’m pretty sure most of the delegates had gotten their vocal chords ready, too.

. .  . Also, large parts of the speech seemed to key directly off of the stimulus legislation. When Duncan talked about seniority putting some teachers in schools and classrooms they’re not prepared for, well, that gets to the equitable-distribution-of-teachers language in the stimulus.When he talked about the poor state of evaluations, well, that lines up to the language that will require states and districts to report the number and percentage of teachers scoring at each performance level on local evaluation instruments.

On Flypaper, Andy Smarick gives the speech a good review, with special praise for this: 

A recent report from the New Teacher Project found that almost all teachers are rated the same. Who in their right mind really believes that?

 Test scores alone should never drive evaluation, compensation or tenure decisions. That would never make sense. But to remove student achievement entirely from evaluation is illogical and indefensible.

Teachers also booed a mention of Green Dot, says Eduwonk, who compares that to hating Santa Claus.

Education Sector is hosting an online discussion of teachers’ work and teachers’ unions. 

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