And So, It Continues 2: “Pro Union” or “Union Owned”

Madison School Board.

Chris Rickert:

There’s also the obvious point: If seniority and degree attainment make for better teachers, why are seniority protections and automatic raises for degree attainment necessary in a collective bargaining agreement or an employee handbook?
One would think good teachers should have secure employment, dibs on choice positions and regular raises by virtue of being, well, good teachers.
I’m not drawing attention to the ridiculousness of seniority and degree-attainment perks because I think Walker’s decision to effectively end public-sector collective bargaining was a good one.
But support for these common contract provisions is one way to measure school board candidates.
There’s a difference, after all, between being pro-union and union-owned.

Focus needed on long-term educational goals by Dave Baskerville:

There is now much excitement around Madison and the state with the selection of a new Madison School District superintendent, the upcoming election of new School Board members, the expected re-election of State Superintendent Tony Evers, the rollout of new Common Core state standards, and now a vigorous debate, thanks to our governor, over the expansion of school vouchers.
The only problem is that for those of us who pay attention to classroom results and want to see our students really move out of second-class global standings, there is no mention of long-term “stretch goals” that could really start getting all of our kids — black and white, poor and middle class — reading like the Canadians, counting like the Singaporeans or Finns, and doing science like the Japanese — in other words, to close the gaps that count long-term.
Let’s focus on two stretch goals: Wisconsin’s per capita income will be 10 percent above Minnesota’s by 2030, and our eighth grade math, science and reading scores will be in the top 10 globally by 2030.
This would take not only vision, but some serious experimentation and radical changes for all of us. Can we do it? Of course, but not with just “feel good” improvement and endless debate over means to that end, and without clear global benchmarks, score cards, and political will.
The New Madison Superintendent Needs to “Make Things Happen”, a Wisconsin State Journal Editorial:

Barely half of the district’s black students are graduating from high school in four years. That’s a startling statistic. Yet it hasn’t produced a dramatic change in strategy.
Ms. Cheatham, it’s your job to make things happen.
Your top priority must be to boost the performance of struggling students, which requires innovation, not just money. At the same time, Madison needs to keep its many higher-achieving students engaged and thriving. The district has lost too many families to the suburbs, despite a talented staff, diverse offerings and significant resources.
Being Madison’s superintendent of schools will require more than smarts. You’ll need backbone to challenge the status quo. You’ll need political savvy to build support for action.
Your experience leading reform efforts in urban school districts is welcome. And as chief of instruction for Chicago Public Schools, you showed a willingness to put the interests of students ahead of the grown-ups, including a powerful teachers union.
We appreciate your support for giving parents more options, including public charter schools and magnets. You seem to understand well the value of strong teacher and student assessments, using data to track progress, as well as staff development.
The traditional classroom model of a teacher lecturing in front of students is changing, and technology can help provide more individualized attention and instruction. The long summer break — and slide in learning — needs to go.

Madison School Board Election Intrigue (Public!)

he top vote-getter in Tuesday’s Madison School Board primary said Friday she ran for the seat knowing she might not be able to serve out her term because her husband was applying for graduate school in other states.
Sarah Manski, who dropped out of the race Thursday, said she mentioned those concerns to School Board member Marj Passman, who Manski said encouraged her to run. Passman told her it wouldn’t be a problem if she had to resign her seat because the board would “appoint somebody good,” Manski said.
Passman vigorously denied encouraging Manski to run or ever knowing about her husband’s graduate school applications. After learning about Manski’s statement from the State Journal, Passman sent an email to other School Board members saying “I had no such conversation with her.”
“It’s sad to believe that this kind of a person came close to being elected to one of the most important offices in our city,” Passman wrote in the email, which she also forwarded to the State Journal.
Manski said in response “it’s possible (Passman) didn’t remember or it’s possible it’s politically inconvenient for her to remember.”

And so it continues, part 1.

2 thoughts on “And So, It Continues 2: “Pro Union” or “Union Owned””

  1. Seniority is a problem, as well as pay scale differentials. Seniority and pay scale differences need to have a half-life. So too in the areas where the need for more senior staff to have access to PD to upgrade knowledge that less senior staff have already mastered.
    There should be no artificial incentives to favor senior or less senior staff either way. Seniority is a good practice that eliminates the ability of the employer to push out older, more experienced staff because they typically cost more than beginning staff. It is also bad practice to artificially disfavor less senior staff. Less senior staff should attain equality with more senior staff after some time (assuming mastery).
    At every level, there needs to be an end to staff stratification. It’s harmful all around.
    That is why the concept of a half-life needs to be part of the picture. As an example, the rule-of-thumb is that with appropriately increasingly challenging practice, a beginner will achieve mastery after 10,000 hours. That is about 5 years given a 2000 hours/work year for those working 40 hours/week.
    Keeping it simple, what might this mean for salary differences between the master elementary school teacher and a beginning teacher? If the salary difference initially is $30,000, then after about 6900 hours (about 3 1/2 years) of teaching, the differential salary should be $15,000. After another 1500 hours (3/4 of a year), the pay differential should be about $7500. The decreasing pay differential should track the increasing mastery by the beginning teacher.
    Of course, there are also different levels of mastery that needs to be addressed, but the differentials between mastery level 1 and master level 2 can be handled the same way. (And one should not always assume that the mastery levels track years teaching. PD must be available for more experienced as well as less experienced staff).
    The reality of age discrimination also needs to be taken into account in how seniority is handled and the importance of dealing with this cannot be minimized. That is a horse of a different color, as they say.

  2. Conservatives want to privatize government services such as schools,healthcare,water treatment etc.Privatizing social security,retirement programs etc.requires crippling unions which Walker has done for the public sector. Unions no longer threaten our conservatives (unions have shrunk to only 11% of the workforce) Longivity and any other employee protections no longer exist,employee handbooks are only public relations publications.

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