Teacher compensation. Who’s on first? What’s on second? I don’t know’s on third.


Clintonista, John Podesta, picking a fight with the NEA?

Andy Rotherham has a short post about the compensation issue. What’s that? Pay for performance.

Andy’s kind of for it.

As you know from reading earlier posts here, the NEA is against NCLB making any reference to pay for performance. Compensation plans are an issue of debate inside the NEA. Has been for years.

But NEA President Reg Weaver has made it clear that how teachers get paid is a collective bargaining issue, one that gets resolved in negotiations between teachers and local boards of education. It is not the business of Congressman George Miller in California how Fred Klonsky in Park Ridge, Illinois, gets paid, or how much or for doing what.

Reg has called inclusion of pay for performance in NCLB a “deal breaker.”

But Andy reports that the Center for American Progress is in support of including pay for performance in NCLB and is pushing back at the NEA.

What is the Center for American Progress? Mostly Clinton Democrats.

Uh oh.

An open split between two wings of the Democrats: The Clintonistas on the one side and the 3.2 million member, mostly Democrat voting, NEA on the other.

Andy seems to think CAP should back off. This isn’t the issue says Andy. There are bigger fish to fry. Like:

getting the accountability provisions of the law right.

Q: Decode please.

A: He means testing.

Schools, democracy and the internet.


This week, when the authorities in Myanmar attacked the anti-government movement, in addition to the use of deathly violence, they shut down internet access.

By these news accounts:

The Internet has played a crucial role in getting news and images of the pro-democracy protests to the outside world in the past month.

Wesley Fryer on his blog Moving At the Speed of Creativity notes:

Last week when I was in Shanghai, China, presenting at the Learning 2.0 conference, I reflected in a VoiceThread digital story about some of the differences in accessing the Internet from my hotel room in China compared to the open access I’m accustomed to from my home high speed Internet connection. I observed from China that the level of content filtering / censorship enforced by the central, totalitarian government was actually LESS severe than the content filtering enforced in many U.S. public schools.

That is certainly true where I teach.

Here neither teachers nor students can access Wikipedia.
Neither teachers nor students can access YouTube.
Neither teachers nor students can access Flickr.
Neither teacher nor students can access most sites described as “social networks” including most of the education sites on my blog’s blogroll.

There is greater access to the internet in China than there is for teachers and students in my district and in many school districts in the US.

Reg says it again: We negotiate our contracts. Not Congress.


David Hoff reports in EdWeek that Reg Weaver once again reminded Congress that any reauthorization of NCLB that mandates pay for performance is unacceptable to teachers.

Said Reg:

Deal breaker.

Say it again, Reg. Some of those Democrats need to be reminded how they got there.

Other things of note, NEA is working with other unions to oppose the teacher-pay measures on the grounds that they would violate local unions’ right to collective bargaining. “This would be a very dangerous precedent,” said Karen White, NEA’s director of campaigns and elections.

And White added that union is working hard to win over freshmen Democrats. On the House Education and Labor Committee, five out of the 10 first-term Democrats won close races. In fact, their margin of victory was less than the number of NEA members in their districts.

“When you win by less votes than the number of our members in your district, you’re going to pay attention,” White said.

New anti-war song from The Boss.


Release date: October 2nd.

Last to Die.

We took the highway till the road went black
We’d marked, Truth Or Consequences on our map*
A voice drifted up from the radio
And I thought of a voice from long ago

Who’ll be the last to die for a mistake
The last to die for a mistake
Whose blood will spill, whose heart will break
Who’ll be the last to die for a mistake

Continue reading “New anti-war song from The Boss.”

What’s new with Fat Kid Rules the World?


A while ago I posted about the controversy that erupted in Alsip over including the book, Fat Kid Rules the World, in a summer reading list. The book was one of several students could choose from. The inclusion of Fat Kid resulted in protests from book-banners, anti-homosexual groups and others with a right-wing agenda that had little to do with good teaching and learning.

Back story:
My buddy Jerry was elected to the school board in Alsip. In fact, he’s president of the board. He used to be president of the PREA (yep, another PREA Prez!). He’s a fifth grade teacher in our district. Jerry’s married to a school speech pathologist. They have two kids. He an active adult in kids’ sports programs in Alsip.

So. What’s his problem?

Continue reading “What’s new with Fat Kid Rules the World?”

NEA’s slogan must have touched a nerve.


NEA got it right with the Big Red Tee.

When I was in Philly this summer for the NEA convention, the tee shirt booth was selling red tee shirts with the slogan, “A child is more than a test score.”

I’m way past the age where I wear message tee shirts. Mike brought me back a “working class blogger” Teamster tee shirt form the Kos convention. But even that one, which is XXL and very cool in an anti-cool sort of way, fits a little to snug and so it sits on a chair in the bedroom. When a Teamster tee is too snug, that’s a sign.

Continue reading “NEA’s slogan must have touched a nerve.”

Skip the NAEP scores. What about this data? II


War Secretary Gates raids the education treasury.

Why should any serious person argue about the meaning of a one or two point change in NAEP reading and math scores when Defense Secretary Gates can go before the Senate and ask for this?

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates is seeking nearly 190 billion dollars to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2008, the largest war funding request ever in the six-year-old “war on terror,” the Pentagon said Wednesday.

Gates was scheduled to testify later before a Senate committee on the request, which was 42.3 billion dollars greater than the administration’s estimate when it presented its 2008 budget request in February.

Bracey in HuffPo: “If Gates is so rich, why ain’t he smart?”

Really worth reading Gerald Bracey’s smack down of Bill Gates in today’s Huffington Post.

But Gates is at it again. Saying really dumb things. This time in the September 23 edition of Parade. I don’t generally read Parade because I think it is generally garbage and it has a long history of saying nasty and erroneous things about public schools. But my wife peruses it and I had to listen to her read out loud the very short piece that is not headed with a by-line. I suppose the author was embarrassed.