With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The union's new Innovation Fund

I like Weingarten's new pro-active policy initiative, so long as she brings her base of classroom teachers along with her. Why shouldn't the union be leaders of reform instead of targets? Why shouldn't charter school teachers have collective-bargaining rights? With a new regime in the White House, it appears that the days of reform simply being done TO teachers, rather than WITH them, may be over.

WaPo's Jay Matthews is freaked out. That can't be bad. He's still ga-ga over schools like KIPP where teachers have no voice, no rights, and work 16-hour days. He just can't imagine teachers acting powerfully in the world of policy.
"I struggle to understand union strategy and politics, usually too far from the classroom to interest me."
Conservative think-tankers and DFER Republicrats are going nuts. Anti-reform dogmatists may also be freaked-out. Especially when they see good folk like Linda Darling-Hammond and Adam Urbanski on the board of the AFT's reform initiative, funded by the power-philanthropists. I think that's fine.


  1. Makes me nervous.

  2. What is it exactly that makes you nervous about a union-led reform initiative, jd2718?

  3. 1. I don't know it is necessary
    2. I don't know what they will come up with
    3. In Weingarten's local, there has been a tendenc to chip away at our rights (it's where I work) and call it reform.

    We opened up merit pay (and now principals slosh some extra money around... money that should be used for a raise)
    We gave principals greater authority over hiring... and they essentially put hundreds of our senior members in permanent excess (and are trying to fire them)
    And we opened up these 'reforms' with an administration that willfully ignores our contract and our agreements time and time again.

    So, yeah, AFT-brokered reform makes me damned nervous.

  4. What's your alternative, J.D.?

  5. Thanks for your comments and your worries, jd2718. Being a teacher in New York right now would give anyone the shakes. Do you think teachers should oppose the new Innovation Fund?

  6. Like I said, it makes me nervous.

    I'd like to hear more about what is already going on (not more test data, please). The UFT has charter schools. Does anyone know how things are working out in them?

    Back not that long ago, we worked out a deal to pay teachers more for working at certain schools with longer days... because we are a large district, teachers chose to, or not to, work there. And the anecdotal response was favorable. But we don't need an innovation fund to figure that out...


Agree? Disagree? Let me hear from you.