Wisconsin Teachers Union plan too late to help schools

Chris Rickert:

Under its “performance pay” proposal, teachers would get more for staffing hard-to-staff schools and filling hard-to-fill positions. Pay would also be related to regular employee evaluations — if in some as-yet-undefined, possibly very weak way. WEAC president Mary Bell declined to specify how closely student test scores should track with evaluations and thus pay hikes, for instance.
Protecting pay is, of course, the most important of the union’s objectives in its reform plan. But pay is a function of how much money is available, and while WEAC is advocating paying better teachers better salaries, it’s not in favor of cutting pay for teachers who aren’t so good. This is about a bigger education pie, in other words, not about the same pie cut into different-sized pieces.
Pay is also a function of who’s handing out the raises, and WEAC is doing what it can to ensure those partly or mostly responsible for handing out the raises are as sympathetic as possible.
To wit, it would like to see the majority of the members on a teacher’s evaluation panel be teachers themselves — thus paving the way, it seems to me, for a lot of good reviews.
“It’s an extremely difficult task,” Bell said of evaluating one of your peers, but one that can work because “people care so deeply about the quality of the profession.”

Related: 2010 Fall Election – WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators in a Losing Cause.