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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Comments

  1. Ragnarok says:

    “Teachers booed and hissed…”

    Shouldn’t we expect more from these professionals?

  2. The seismic fault on the left, with regard to education, is reaching the surface.

    The message from the administration is clear “the NEA has nowhere to go but the black vote does” so the administration’s going to give black voters, without which the Democratic party loses the House, Senate and the White House, what they want, educational alternatives.

  3. thaprof says:

    The key problem is that many of them aren’t “professionals,” Ragnarok.

  4. (Allen): “The seismic fault on the left, with regard to education, is reaching the surface.”

    One can hope. I will wait to see real action before I believe that Secretary Duncan’s talk and hhe NEA’s response is more than puppet theater. Recall that Secretary Doncan’s Department of Education sat on an internal analysis which found gains in voucher schools in Washington, DC.

    Like peer review, merit pay is an internal accountability mechanism which insiders will bend to their purposes. Who gets to determine “merit”?

    The only real accountabiity mechanism with a hope of lasting effect is a policy which gives to individual parents the power to determine for their own children which institution shall receive the taxpayers’ K-12 education subsidy.

  5. Do we really have the money to make this effective? At least one KIPP school is already struggling with unionization. I’m thinking that means we’re running out of teachers willing to commit to raising student achievement on the cheap.

  6. Ragnarok says:

    “The key problem is that many of them aren’t “professionals,” Ragnarok.”

    Well, yes. In spite of their claims to be such.

  7. How is booing a charletan unprofessional? Good for the teachers there for booing Duncan. If I’d have been there I’d have led to chants of “Bull$@%#”

  8. Whoops, where’s the “Edit” button on this site?

  9. (pm): “Do we really have the money to make this effective? At least one KIPP school is already struggling with unionization. I’m thinking that means we’re running out of teachers willing to commit to raising student achievement on the cheap.”

    Dunno what “this” indicated.

    “…(w)e’re running out of teachers willing to commit to raising student achievement on the cheap” is unlikely, for several reasons.
    1) According to NCES, a survey of teachers in parochial schools and the NEA/AFT/AFSCME cartel’s schools found that parochial school teachers were more satisfied with their jobs than were the cartel’s teachers, despite the lower pay of the parochial school teachers.
    2) “On the cheap” is a wildly innacurate characterization of the cartel’s schools. The US spends more on pre-college education than any other country.
    3) Most of the K-12 curriculum is make-work for dues-paying members of the NEA/AFT/AFSCME cartel. It does not take 12 years at $12,000 per pupil-year to teach a normal child to read and compute. Most vocational training occurs more effectively on the job than in a classroom. State provision of History and Civics instruction is a threat to democracy, just as State provision of newspapers would be (is, in totalitarian countries).

  10. Ragnarok says:

    Mike asked:

    “How is booing a charletan [sic] unprofessional?”

    Booing him demeans you, not him. You don’t understand this, and that stamps you for what you are.

  11. Yes, Ragnarok, I’m someone who recognizes BS when he sees it, especially from someone like Duncan who has never taught a day in his life, and his tenure at Chicago Public Schools was a disaster.

    He is the Michael Brown of Education. Just as unqualified and likely to lead to the same disaterous results.

  12. Of course with all the bleating about how teachers ought to be in charge of public education and how terrible it is that politicians are in charge, there’s not a lick about what Mike’s educational nirvana, wherein teachers are in charge, is supposed to look like or how it’s supposed to work.

    I’ve asked you those question numerous times Mike so here’s opportunity to duck ‘em again.

  13. Mike,

    “Give me money. Don’t tell me how to use it. Don’t measure my performance” is not a deal any legislator responsible to taxpayers would accept. It is not a deal any honest person would propose.

  14. Ragnarok says:

    Mike’n’Taxes said:

    “Yes, Ragnarok, I’m someone who recognizes BS when he sees it…”

    And what does this have to do with why booing is unprofessional?

    As Allen said, there you go again.

  15. Rags and Allen,

    I don’t think booing Duncan is unprofessional, especially since he deserves to be ignored.