Tag archive for education reform

Charter schools are not budget busters

“More accountability, more money,” has been the structure of many, many deals driving K-12 reform over the years. Though reformers premise their arguments on the belief that more money is not the answer (hence the need for policy changes), in practice, increasing spending is a …

NYC schools, budget cuts, and teacher evaluations

Yesterday, NYC Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott sounded the alarm about pending mid-year budget cuts (to the tune of $250 million) if a deal with the UFT isn’t reached by December 21. Among the contentious subjects being debated are teacher evaluations, the details of which remain …

Chicago: counterattack against education reform

Thumbnail image for 32.jpgI said in my posting earlier this week that the strike is not solely about money, and that’s becoming clearer everyday.  Yesterday, the head of the Chicago Teachers Union said “The assault on public education started here. It needs to end here.” To those in the know, she was referring not just to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s reforms, by any means. The strike also illustrates FDR’s famous warning about why collective bargaining doesn’t work in the public sector and how militant union tactics exercised by government workers are a betrayal of the public trust

Chicago teachers strike: The money question

Some news reports have suggested that Chicago teachers strike was not triggered by disputes over money. AFT President Randi Weingarten says it is because teachers (90% of who voted to strike) feel “completely disrespected.” Other issues, especially the evaluation of teachers using student test scores, are said to have been the final straw. But that isn’t really the full story…

Dougco Board Bids Teachers Union Adieu, Moves On

On Wednesday, 18 months after adopting a groundbreaking local private school choice program, the Douglas County Board of Education once again set the bold reform standard. Elected leaders of the 60,000-student school district immediately south of Denver, Colo., unanimously voted to cut ties with the teachers union, and to keep taxpayer dollars and district resources from underwriting union politics.

Before the meeting, a couple hundred protesting teachers and their allies marched outside the Douglas County school district administration building. They were making a statement in advance of the Board’s final consideration of whether to place measures undercutting union power on the fall ballot for voters to decide. Protesters included some teachers from unions outside Dougco. Days after telling the Denver Post her union needs “to put kids front and center,” new Colorado Education Association president Kerrie Dallman urged members to protest on behalf of adult priorities under the shared values of “collectivism” and “solidarity.”

Without heed to the demonstration outside, the Board wisely opted to save taxpayers money and put the contentious issue behind them by formally prohibiting district collection of union dues and compensation of unaccountable union officers:

One win, one loss as California’s legislative session closes

There’s mixed news out of Sacramento today, as the California Legislature barrels toward the midnight deadline to close out its current session. On the upside, AB 5, a bill which would see the teachers unions dictating the terms of teacher evaluations, has died a merciful death. As I noted yesterday, this will leave the state’s education system still in need of reform, but thankfully spared from even further capture by the unions. The news on pensions, however — where Democrat-led “reform” looks prone for passage — is not nearly as heartening

California teachers union attempting to manipulate accountability standards

California lawmakers should be reading their Ralph Waldo Emerson. There’s a great bon mot from the transcendentalist author — “The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.” — which bears on the future of education in the Golden State. When the California Teachers Association — the enormously powerful union that resists teacher accountability at every turn  — gets behind a bill that claims to implement performance measures for educators, you know it’s too good to be true.

A big win for parents in California charter school fight

California’s educational establishment suffered a rare blow in 2010, when the state became the first in the nation to allow parents of students in underperforming schools to pull a “parent trigger,” a mechanism that allows a majority of dissatisfied parents to compel reform up to and including conversion of a failing public school into a charter. The reform wasn’t perfect — for one thing, it placed a tiny cap on the number of eligible schools — but that hasn’t kept the state’s union-led establishment from opposing it at every turn. Yesterday, in a small town in the Mojave Desert, those reactionary forces were dealt defeat in court.

Teachers unions coalition politics

Recent reports have unearthed how broadly America’s teachers’ unions spend their considerable monetary resources. The NEA and AFT don’t just care about education issues affecting their members but have a much broader agenda–including abortion, gun control, gay marriage, and so on. In return for giving …

Charters bringing merit pay to Los Angeles schools

In my recent City Journal essay on the institutionalized pathologies of the California Teachers Association, I pointed to Green Dot — which runs several charter schools in Los Angeles — as an example of a reform-minded organization that is creating tangible improvements in the way that Golden State children are being educated. Now it looks like they’re boosting their already commendable record. Outpacing the rest of the Los Angeles Unified School District — where the union is currently fighting performance accountability measures tooth and nail — Green Dot has just instituted a form of merit pay for teachers. And the innovative methods they’ve used may be a model for other school systems in the future