Wisconsin teachers’ union backs reforms

In a surprising shift, Wisconsin’s largest teachers union has endorsed performance pay and evaluating teachers with value-added measures and peer review, reports the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. In addition the Wisconsin Education Association Council proposed splitting up the Milwaukee Public Schools system, an idea the union opposed when it was advocated by former Gov. Tommy Thompson.

Wisconsin needs an organized way to move underperforming teachers out of the profession, said Mary Bell, WEAC’s president. The union’s proposal includes “career transition services” for teachers who fail to meet performance standards over three years.

She also said that the state’s outdated model of paying teachers based on years of education should be replaced with one that rewards high-performing teachers who meet learning objectives with students. Instructors who take on hard-to-staff positions and additional responsibilities should receive extra compensation, as should teachers who earn their national board certification, she said.

WEAC’s proposal to break up MPS is not supported by its Milwaukee local. The governor and state education department officials had no comment.

State Sen. Luther Olsen, R-Ripon), the new chairman of the Senate Education Committee, called WEAC’s announcement a “huge move.”

“I think they know this is happening across the country, and we’re going to do it in Wisconsin, and so they decided, ‘We can sit on the sidelines or we can play ball,’ and I’m glad they’re interested in playing ball,” said Olsen, who is working on reform efforts aimed at ensuring that schools can remove ineffective teachers from the classroom.

An eight-part Journal-Sentinel series, Building a Better Teacher, reported that Wisconsin legislators and union leaders have resisted teacher-quality reforms pursued in other states.

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Comments

  1. Roger Sweeny says:

    “[The head of Wisconsin's largest teachers' union] also said that the state’s outdated model of paying teachers based on years of education should be replaced with one that rewards high-performing teachers who meet learning objectives with students. Instructors who take on hard-to-staff positions and additional responsibilities should receive extra compensation, as should teachers who earn their national board certification, she said.”

    Alas, national board certification is essentially more ed school: jumping through hoops and handing in projects. It has nothing directly to do with student achievement. It represents an extension of, rather than a break with, the old model.

  2. Randy Hartwig says:

    This proposal was intended to a pre-emptive strike. Many other educational wonders are in the works courtesy of our new governor. Included in the new proposals:
    1. The end of collective bargaining for all issues except salary.
    2. A cap on salary increases tied to the consumer price index (not a minimum increase, the maximum)
    3. Employees must contribute 5.8% of their income to the Wisconsin Retirement system. Previously districts paid both their portion and the employees. By the way, their is history of the state raiding the pension fund.
    4. Regardless of the bargained contract, employees must contribute a minimum of 12.8% of their health insurance premium.
    5. Must vote annually to keep their union and districts are prohibited from deducting the union dues from employee paychecks.
    In addition, some state employees will be prohibited entirely from collective bargaining. These changes do not apply to police or fire personnel. Care to guess which candidate they supported in the election? The new governor was so concerned about reactions to his announcement that he actually mention that he had been in contact with the national guard in case they had to be called in.

    Don’t worry though, we will have a careful, considered discussion and vote in the legislature, both of which are now controlled by the same party as the governor. As long as they pass it by the end of the week. For more on this example of democracy in action, see http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/116094324.html

  3. …………………………..A Wisconsin district attorney is warning sex-education teachers that they could face criminal charges if they show students how to use contraception…District Attorney Scott Southworth sent teachers in Juneau County a letter last month warning that they could be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor if they show students how to use a condom or take birth-control pills. Southworth wrote in his PDF posted by AOL News that a new sex education law requiring age-appropriate birth control education promotes the sexualization and sexual assault of our children… It is akin to teaching children about alcohol use then instructing them on how to make mixed alcoholic drinks he wrote…The state law doesn’t require schools to teach sex education but says those school that do have the curriculum should cover a wide range of subjects including use of contraceptives the benefits of abstinence and criminal penalties for underage sex AP says…Southworth’s letter said the circumstances will dictate whether charges are brought but teachers are at risk if they instruct a child under the age of 16 how to use contraception with the knowledge that the youth is having or likely to have sex with another child…

  4. Governor Scott Walker is proposing to wipe away decades of collective bargaining for teachers support staff and other public workers in Wisconsin. We are very proud of the work our teachers and education support professionals do every day with children throughout the state…

  5. michael oberthaler says:

    The teachers of wisconsin should be ashamed of themselves. We the taxpayers that work in the private sector have been paying the bill for their red carpet health insurance for to long. They munipulate our childrens thinking by crying their sad stories about how little money they make, if those students went home and found out how little their parents make and how much they have to pay for insurance…they would not feel to sorry for the teachers that work half the hours in a year that their parents do. Suck it up you big babies !

  6. Toni Tomlinson says:

    Please continue to have a compromise on this budget bill. We need to have teachers accountable. Many school(Local and UW) have teachers on their staff that despite numerous infractions are still required to stay because of tenure. The union needs to make it fair for the teachers and the people who have to carry the tax burden. This protest shows that the union is maybe to strong for its own good. Our students deserve to be in school. They have just taught the students that it is OK to lie and say your sick and stay out of school. Way to go to be a good example.

  7. CLOSE THE SCHOOLS…………… NO MONEY TO RUN THEM,, OPEN CHARTER SCHOOLS AND HAVE HOME TEACHING . EDUCATION IS A BUSINESS FOR ADMINISTRATORS, UNIONS. SUPERS, AND TEACHERS. BUSINESSES TODAY HAVE HAD TO GOE BANKRUPT AND CLOSE THEIR DOORS. CLOSE THE SCHOOL BUSINESS AND OPEN PARENT RUN CHARTER SCHOOLS AND PROVIDE HOME TEACHING. AN EDUCATION IS A PRIVILEGE NOT AN ENTITLEMENT AND MAYBE SOME OF THE PARENTS WILL GET INVOLVED AS THEY WON,T HAVE A GOVERMENT RUN BABYSITTER.