North American Association of Educational Negotiators

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Educational negotiations is a dynamic profession.  Keeping track of current trends, studies, reports and news articles about negotiations is an essential skill for the professional negotiator.  NAEN publishes a weekly Potpourri of Articles of Interest on this Blog.  NAEN members may read, comment and post news of their own on the NAEN Blog.  Non-members may view the blog and are welcome to subscribe through an RSS feed (see icon below). 
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  • 15 May 2009 12:45 PM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    1.  Michigan.  Leveling the Playing Field:  What Michigan Public School Academy Leaders Need to Know About Union Organizing.  Mackinac Center for Public Policy & the Atlantic Legal Foundation.  By T. Walsh, R. Kaplan & t. Washburne. A guide to labor law for charter school staff. This 105-page book explains how Michigan's labor law works and in particular how and why unions are formed. The book also gives advice on how charter schools can maintain good relations between teachers and administrators.

    2.  Florida.      Pasco schools look at retirement incentives.  St. Petersburg Times. By Jeffrey S. Solochek.May 15, 2009.
    LAND O'LAKES — Layoffs remain a last resort for Pasco County school district leaders as they look for ways to slash spending by as much as $45 million. They wouldn't mind if some employees decided to leave on their own, though. "We may need as many as 50 jobs," superintendent Heather Fiorentino told the School Board on Thursday during a two-hour workshop about whether to expand the district's early retirement incentives. "If you can make someone happy to leave, if you will, and they were getting ready to leave … that's savings alone."

    3.  Washington.      WA gov tells teachers union that all are hurt.  Seattle Post-Intelligencer.  May 14, 2009.  By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS
    ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER. SPOKANE, Wash. -- Gov. Chris Gregoire told the state's largest teachers union Thursday night that everyone in Washington is being hurt by the national recession that blasted a big hole in the state budget. Gregoire offered verbal support for teachers, but little else during a speech before the Washington Education Association's annual convention. The speech came as thousands of teachers across the state are receiving layoff notices for the next school year. "The fact of the matter is, everyone has felt the pain," Gregoire said. "It is devastating."

    4.  North Carolina.      Rookie teachers will bump some CMS veterans.  Charlotte Observer.  May 14, 2009.  By Ann Doss Helms. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will bring in 100 new Teach For America cadets, who lack teaching experience and credentials, as the district lays off experienced teachers next school year. Superintendent Peter Gorman said today he believes it's the best move for kids: “They would be bumping a teacher who's below standard.” But the decision seems bound to raise hackles among the district's 9,000-plus teachers. “I think it is a slap in the faces of the ones who are going to be losing their jobs. It's more or less telling them, ‘We don't give a flip about you,'” said Mary McCray, president of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Association of Educators. Some teachers, she said, are losing jobs because their function has been cut, not because they're poor performers.

    5. Iowa.      New agreement between Johnston district, teachers' union.  Des Moines Register. By LISA LAVIA RYAN. May 14, 2009
    Teachers and staff in the Johnston school district will receive a total compensation increase of 4 percent each of the next two years under an agreement between the district and the Johnston Education Association, its teachers union. Under the agreement, which was approved by the school board at its most-recent meeting, the 4 percent will not be a straight salary increase but will include all related tax-benefit and insurance costs as well. Johnston Education Association spokesman Don Miller said the union was very pleased with the agreement, but said members don't want the public to assume salaries will be raised higher than they actually will be.

    6.  United States.       Weighted Student Formula Yearbook.  Reason Foundation.  By Lisa Snell.  May 2009. A  report about 14 districts that use a weighted student budget formula rather than the more common program-budgeting method.  In its recommendations and best practices the report identifies Collective bargaining relief through flat contracts. School districts with weighted student formula programs often have negotiated for more autonomy in union contracts to minimize work rules that interfere with school-level autonomy. These contract stipulations often waive union rules that detail the length of the school year, instructional minutes and acceptable teacher duties. Some student-based budgeting and school empowerment programs have negotiated new contracts or use “flat” contracts of ten or less pages that allow autonomy for the details of a teacher’s job description to be decided at the school level, as long as both the principal and the teacher agree to the working conditions. These flat contracts still offer teachers the district salary schedule, tenure and due process protection. However, these contracts free principals to negotiate individual work rules with their own staff.
    7.  Book.               Teachers, Performance Pay, and Accountability: What Education Should Learn from Other Sectors.  Economic Policy Institute.  By Scott J. Adams, John S. Heywood and Richard Rothstein.  The book examines the evidence that underlies these assumptions, concluding that the use of merit pay systems based on quantitative measures (numbers-based accountability) is fraught with perverse consequences that often thwart the larger goal of improving the quality of services and outcomes and that such systems are not widespread among private sector professionals.
    Press release:
    8.  United States.      Overview of the States' Budgets and Economic Downturn.  May 13, 2009. Center on Budget & Policy Priorities. 
    47 states are facing budget shortfalls. At least sixteen states are using fiscal relief to minimize cuts in public services. At least 36 states have cut a range of services, including those aimed at some of their most vulnerable residents. Also, 16 states have raised taxes. The state revenue situation is rapidly worsening.
    9.  United States.      Building a High-Quality Education Workforce: A Governor’s Guide to Human Capital Development.  National Governors Association. By Tabitha Grossman, Ph.D. May 2009.  Teacher effectiveness is the primary influence on student achievement, followed by principal effectiveness. . . Governors should consider two approaches . . . The first is a cost-neutral approach that includes the redistribution of funds from ineffective human capital investments that do not result in student achievement gains to investments that are more strategic in nature and that show promise in terms of their effectiveness. . . The second approach requires new and sustainable investments in the way teachers and principals are recruited, trained, and compensated.
    10.  California.        Judge prohibits LA teachers from staging walkout.  LA Times.  May 13, 2009.  By Howard Blume A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge Tuesday prohibited the city's teachers union from staging a one-day strike this week to protest layoffs and other budget-cutting proposals. The United Teachers Los Angeles contract explicitly bars a strike, said Judge James C. Chalfant, who also cited concerns about student health, safety and welfare in granting the restraining order against Friday's planned walkout.,0,1274025.story?track=rss
    11.  Florida.      Deal brings back 130 retired Hillsborough teachers let go for budget cuts.  St. Petersburg Times. By Tom Marshall, Times Staff Writer. In Print: Wednesday, May 13, 2009. TAMPA — Hillsborough County teachers have reached an agreement with the school district to bring back 130 senior teachers the district had been trying to terminate for budget reasons. "What we've negotiated is that they will keep their job, and the termination will be undone so it won't be on their record," Jean Clements, president of the Hills­borough Classroom Teachers' Association, said Tuesday. The teachers had all left retirement to resume teaching in Hills­borough schools on annual contracts, and the district had sought to pay them the first-year teacher's salary of $37,014 this fall. Under a memorandum of understanding reached late Monday, it will now pay them at the fifth-year rate of $39,800.
    12.  North Carolina.     'Double dipping' teachers' jobs in jeopardy as state looks to close budget shortfall.  Salisbury Post. By Maggie Blackwell. May 12, 2009.   Retired teachers who have returned to work — including nearly three dozen in Rowan County — may lose their jobs if a state bill doesn't pass later this month.A statute originally enacted in 2001 allowed retired educators to return to the public schools and earn a salary without losing retirement benefits. It required retirees to wait six months before applying to teach again. The law was scheduled to expire in 2002, but each spring, legislators have voted to extend the sunset of the statute. To date, the sunset extension has been pretty automatic. Because of state financial shortfalls, however, legislators are now concerned about the expense of rehiring retired educators. Due to retirees' years of service, their salaries are typically much higher than younger, newer teachers. But advocates of so-called "double dipping" argue more experienced teachers often have better classroom management skills and can teach effectively. New teachers sometimes have to develop these skills.
    13.  United States.      Despite Stimulus Funds, States to Cut More Jobs. Budget Shortfalls Prompt Mass Layoffs. The Washington Post. By Alec MacGillis, Washington Post Staff Writer. Tuesday, May 12, 2009. Eleven weeks after Congress settled on a stimulus package that provided $135 billion to limit layoffs in state governments, many states are finding that the funds are not enough and are moving to lay off thousands of public employees.

    14.  Wisconsin.      Free beer part of teacher's union campaign. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.  May 11, 2009. Kim Schroeder, a candidate for vice president of the Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association makes a bold campaign promise, "I will make sure that there is at least beer and wine available for our monthly Leaders' Meetings."

    15.  Minnesota.      A longer school day, a smarter kid?  Star-Tribune.  May 10, 2009.  By GREGORY A. PATTERSON, Star Tribune. A longer school day for students. . . Such programs are gaining support among educators and politicians, including President Obama, who is calling for schools to rethink how they deliver education. Proponents say it makes no sense to send students to an empty home in the midafternoon when they could use the time for educational activities. Naysayers, however, point to increased costs that longer days will bring as well as the potential for more burnout among students. Some argue that longer school days will further cut down on precious family time.
        [Also see #21 below-RW]
    16.  Virginia.      Performance Pay Being Considered for Pr. William Teachers.  The Washington Post. By Michael Birnbaum.  MAY 10, 2009.  A test run of a performance-pay plan for Prince William County teachers could come to classrooms in the 2010-11 school year, drawing the county into a national debate about whether to tie teacher pay to student achievement. The county School Board voted unanimously last month to have staff members draw up recommendations about different pay methods. School Board member Grant Lattin (Occoquan), who drafted the proposal, said that he hoped that performance pay could help close the achievement gap between low-income and minority students and their peers.
    17.  United States.      Oregon school districts asking employees to sacrifice. By Kimberly Melton, The Oregonian Sunday May 10, 2009, 8:25 PM Portland teachers worked 10 days without pay in 2003 to help keep classes going when the state's largest school district became a national punchline for contemplating cutting weeks from the school year to balance its budget. This year, confronting even steeper shortfalls than before, the district is banking once again on pay concessions from teachers.  Many of Oregon's 198 school districts are making similar requests as they face deep cuts of 8 percent, 10 percent or even 15 percent of their operating budgets in the 2009-10 school year.
    18. New York.      Teacher's union president Randi Weingarten's boost to Bloomberg earns a kiss from Joel Klein.  The New York Daily News  BY Rachel Monahan. DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER Sunday, May 10th 2009, 4:00 AM In the fight over the mayor's control of city schools, teachers union President Randi Weingarten and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein seem to have kissed and made up. Weingarten Saturday proposed a way to turn around failing schools without shutting them down, offering teachers a reason to line up behind the mayor.  "If somebody wants to look at it as an olive branch, they'll look at it as an olive branch," she said while speaking with reporters at a United Federation of Teachers conference.
    19.  California.      Teachers federation sues governor for school funds. The Sacramento Bee.  Saturday, May. 9, 2009 - 12:00 am | Page 4A  The California Federation of Teachers has filed a lawsuit against Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and other state officials to recoup $12 billion in education funds it says the state owes schools. The suit in San Francisco Superior Court comes as CFT campaigns against Proposition 1A, a spending limit and temporary tax hike on the May 19 ballot. That proposal, along with Proposition 1B, would help provide schools $9.3 billion of the $12 billion that CFT is demanding.
    20.  Washington.      New twist in mystery over Seattle teachers' status.  May 9, 2009.  Seattle Post-Intelligencer. KOMO-TV STAFF
    The mystery over the status of Seattle Public Schools' 3,300 teachers took a new twist Saturday as the district denied allegations by the Seattle Education Association that all teachers were fired by Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson. But some teachers say they have the letters to prove that their contracts were not renewed by the school district, and now they don't know what to believe. The confusion grows deeper as conflicting statements proliferate. "We are not firing all our teachers," Seattle School Board Director Steve Sundquist bluntly said Saturday morning. District spokesman Tom Redman said no letters have been sent to teachers about the nonrenewal of their contracts. Instead, he said a letter is being drafted to inform teachers about the one-day reduction in contract days, but it is not completed and has not been mailed.
    21.  Wisconsin.       MPS teachers reject longer day for more pay.  Milwaukie Journal-Sentinel.  By Alan J. Borsuk of the Journal Sentinel Posted: May. 8, 2009. The Milwaukee Public Schools teachers union has rejected a proposal that would lengthen the school day and pay teachers for the extra time with federal economic stimulus money, says Superintendent William Andrekopoulos. The MPS chief said Thursday night that the union rejected adding 25 minutes to the school day for teaching math at all elementary and kindergarten-through-eighth grade schools. The union also rejected a proposal that would give all teachers six additional hours a month to work on improving programs in their schools. In both cases, teachers would have been paid for the additional time in line with their hourly rate of pay. Tom Morgan, executive director of the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association, insisted Friday that there are better ways to improve education than lengthening the school day.
    22.  Yugoslavia.      HR’s strange side: Union official protests cuts by devouring own finger.  HR Morning.  May 6, 2009 by Jim Giuliano.  We think the headline of this story says it all, but read on if you must, If you thought U.S. union bosses were tough, you should see what goes on in Serbia. That’s where Zoran Bulatovic, a union leader at a textile plant, cut off his own finger and ate it to protest wage cuts by his employer.
    23.  Canada.       Ontario School Board Governance: A Focus on Achievement.  April 2009.  Report of the Governance Review Committee to the Minister of Education of Ontario.  The report makes 25 recommendations to strengthen school board governance towards higherlevels of student achivement.

  • 08 May 2009 11:47 AM | Executive Director (Administrator)
    1.  Illinois.      Illinois schools: Schools across Illinois freeze salaries for top administrators.  The Chicago Tribune.  By Tara Malone, Tribune reporter. May 8, 2009. In yet another sign of school belt-tightening, several Illinois districts are freezing the pay of top administrators as they try to squeeze money from tight budgets. The unusual concessions are being made from Quincy in central Illinois to suburban Gurnee and Oswego at a time when districts are also sending out pink slips, cutting popular programs and raising student fees. In Quincy School District 172, school board member Jeff Mays pushed to freeze pay for 22 of 28 administrators who were not locked into retirement contracts, shaving an estimated $62,000 from next year's budget.
    2.  United States.      Budget Outlines Funding for Teacher Merit Pay Programs. The Washington Post.  By Maria Glod. May 7, 2009.  
    President Obama is seeking to add hundreds of millions for teacher merit pay programs, an investment in a reform that has often drawn criticism from teachers unions. Even as education officials have eliminated 12 programs they say are not proven to benefit students -- a savings of $550 million -- the department is seeking $517 million for performance pay grants, up from $97 million in last year's budget. In addition, the stimulus law included an additional $200 million for such programs. . . Michael J. Petrilli, vice president for national programs and policy at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, an education think tank, said the challenge will be in coming up with programs everyone can agree on.  "The administration is showing that it's serious about paying teachers for performance," Petrilli said. "Now the question is how "performance" is defined. The teachers unions want to define it as "showing up for professional development." But only in education would people take that definition of 'pay for performance' with a straight face."
    3.  New York.       Schools Chief Bans Hiring of Teachers From Outside. The New Yor Times.  By JAVIER C. HERNANDEZ. Published: May 6, 2009.  Anticipating significant budget cuts to New York City schools in the coming year, Chancellor Joel I. Klein ordered principals on Wednesday to stop hiring teachers from outside the system, a move that will force them to look internally at a pool that, according to an independent report, includes many subpar teachers. The Education Department suggested that principals could fill spots with teachers in the so-called absent teacher reserve pool, which includes educators whose jobs have been eliminated because of school closings or downsizing. Mr. Klein’s order marked a turnaround for the department, which had resisted efforts to find permanent teaching jobs for the 1,100 teachers in the pool, many of whom came from poor-performing schools and were six times as likely to have received an unsatisfactory rating than teachers not in the pool, according to the independent report. The Education Department had been content to pay their salaries while they worked as substitutes.
    4. California.      L.A. Unified pays teachers not to teach.  LA Times.  By Jason Song.  For seven years, the Los Angeles Unified School District has paid Matthew Kim a teaching salary of up to $68,000 per year, plus benefits. His job is to do nothing. . . About 160 teachers and other staff sit idly in buildings scattered around the sprawling district, waiting for allegations of misconduct to be resolved. The housed are accused, among other things, of sexual contact with students, harassment, theft or drug possession. Nearly all are being paid. All told, they collect about $10 million in salaries per year -- even as the district is contemplating widespread layoffs of teachers because of a financial shortfall. Most cases take months to adjudicate, but some take years.
    5.  United States.      Grad Students Unionize at Central Michigan, Florida State.  Inside HigherEd. May 6, 2009. Graduate teaching assistants have voted to unionize, in locals affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, at Central Michigan University and Florida State University. (The latter unit is also affiliated with the National Education Association.) The votes were overwhelming at both campuses: 152-21 at Central Michigan and 448-140 at Florida State. At Central Michigan, the vote followed lobbying by the university against the union, and a push back by union leaders -- backed by state politicians.
    6.  Washington, DC.        Stalled Talks In D.C. Fuel Dissent Within Teachers Union.  The Washington Post.  By Bill Turque
    Washington Post Staff Writer Tuesday, May 5, 2009 Contract talks between the District government and the Washington Teachers' Union, now in their 18th month and under a mediator, are escalating tensions within the union's leadership. In meetings and on teacher blogs, WTU President George Parker has come under increasingly bitter criticism for his leadership in the labor dispute, which pits the union against Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee in what is widely regarded as a nationally significant battle over how to improve public schools. Some union leaders describe Parker as an autocrat who has kept them in the dark on key aspects of the talks, which are stalled over performance pay and job security. Parker's critics are also upset about what they say is his indifference to the District's reassignment of a senior union official to teaching duties, a move they contend was punitive because top officers typically are granted leaves of absence.
    7.  United States.       Schools consider four-day weeks.  The LA Times. By Nicholas Riccardi May 4, 2009. Reporting from Denver -- Facing deep funding cuts during the economic downturn, increasing numbers of school districts nationwide are contemplating trimming the traditional school week to four days to save money. A four-day week has long been confined to a few small rural districts looking to save on fuel costs. Indeed, many of the districts thinking of shaving a day off their weekly calendar have small enrollments -- such as the 940-student district in Bisbee, Ariz.  But some districts contemplating the move serve suburban or urban areas. The idea is being floated in South Florida's Broward County, the nation's fifth-largest school system. A recent University of Washington study found that states are cutting 18% of their education spending over the next three years, eliminating as many as 574,000 jobs.
    8.  Iowa.      Small school districts feel pinch of cuts.  Chicago Tribune.  May 4, 2009. Associated Press. DES MOINES, Iowa - Small school districts will feel the pinch after the Legislature axed a $14 million teacher pay program. Some small districts like Lineville-Clio on the Missouri border may be forced to close. Lineville-Clio superintendent Robert Busch said the cut to his 75-student district means the school district, like many small school districts, may have to consolidate.  "This is more than a nail in the coffin," Busch said. "This is more like a load of dirt."      
    9.  California.      School officials call for legislation easing firing of teachers.  The LA Times.  By Jason Song. May 4, 2009. Top Los Angeles school officials, acknowledging that they have teachers in classrooms who should be fired, called Sunday for new state legislation that would make it easier to dismiss tenured instructors. The teachers union has vowed to fight such a move. Reacting to a Times story published Sunday about the cumbersome process for removing substandard tenured teachers in California's public schools, L.A. Unified Supt. Ramon C. Cortines said the system is a "sacred cow, and I do think it should be overhauled."
    10.  California.      Firing tenured teachers can be a costly and tortuous task.  The LA Times.  By Jason Song. May 3, 2009.  . . It's remarkably difficult to fire a tenured public school teacher in California, a Times investigation has found. The path can be laborious and labyrinthine, in some cases involving years of investigation, union grievances, administrative appeals, court challenges and re-hearings. Not only is the process arduous, but some districts are particularly unsuccessful in navigating its complexities. The Los Angeles Unified School District sees the majority of its appealed dismissals overturned, and its administrators are far less likely even to try firing a tenured teacher than those in other districts.
    11.  Pennsylvania.      Teacher pension 'tsunami' expected across Pennsylvania.  Pittsburg Tibune-Review.  By Rick Wills, TRIBUNE-REVIEW Sunday, May 3, 2009. This year, the Pine-Richland School district is contributing $900,000 to state's teacher pension fund. Three years from now -- and for many years thereafter -- the district expects to pay roughly $7 million annually into the Pennsylvania Public School Employees' Retirement System, known as PSERS. The dilemma facing Pine-Richland faces each of the state's 501 school districts. A bubble in the number of teachers expected to retire in the next decade and a 30 percent drop in the total value of the fund's assets last year in the souring economy means districts contribute more to the teachers' retirement fund
    12.  New York.      Paterson’s Order Will Help Unions Trying to Organize.  The NY Times. By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE. Published: May 3, 2009. Gov. David A. Paterson has issued an order making it easier for labor unions to organize thousands of workers at some of New York’s largest new hotel and convention center projects, including hotels in Niagara Falls and at the Belmont Park racetrack in Nassau County and the expansion of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan.The directive, which was signed on April 24 and issued on Friday, will require the operators of projects that receive assistance like loans, tax breaks or property leases from state agencies or public authorities to obtain “labor peace” agreements with unions seeking to organize their workers. . . Labor experts said that it was the first time a governor had issued such a directive, and that it could portend a broader shift in strategy by labor unions if initiatives at the national level like federal card-check legislation falter in Washington.
    13.  California.      L.A. teachers union plans 1-day strike. The work stoppage could fall on a day for AP testing.  The LA Times. By Howard Blume. May 2, 2009. The union representing Los Angeles teachers announced Friday that its members have voted to endorse plans for a one-day strike this month to protest looming teacher layoffs and larger class sizes. Union leaders called on parents to join them, while acknowledging the demonstration would sacrifice instruction and complicate student testing. It also would violate the union contract.  "We expect parents to understand that the loss of one day to stop the chaos that would occur with larger class sizes and the laying off of teachers is well worth it," said A.J. Duffy, president of United Teachers Los Angeles. "This is about maintaining the integrity of the education program."
  • 01 May 2009 10:49 AM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    1.  South Carolina.         Higher education hits lean times. State funding trimmed by more than 25 percent. By Jill Coley (Contact)
    The Post and Courier Sunday, April 26, 2009. South Carolina slashed funding to public colleges and universities by more than 25 percent this year — likely the largest decline in the nation.  Last month, a group of presidents traveled to the Statehouse to plead their case. The Senate will continue budget deliberations Tuesday when the Legislature reconvenes.  After years of declining funding, students are beginning to doubt the state's commitment to higher education, said Seaton Brown, a College of Charleston senior and student body president. "They're driving away all their customers," he said. "If students can't afford school here, they'll go to other states."

    2.  United States.      Training the Brain To Choose Wisely.  The Wall Street Journal.  April 28, 2009.  By VANESSA FUHRMANS.  The human brain is wired with biases that often keep people from acting in their best interest. Now, some employers and insurers are testing ways to harness such psychological pitfalls to get people to make healthier choices. Many companies have long paid employees to stop smoking or lose weight, but with limited success. So some companies are rewriting the rules for doling out financial incentives. Rather than encouraging good behavior with small or one-time payments, some health and wellness plans have begun enrolling employees in lotteries for a chance to win a bigger reward. Other programs are testing whether workers are more likely to make healthy choices if they've staked some of their own money on the outcome.

    3.  California.      Schools struggle with method to reduce teaching staffs. Challenges raised to seniority system.  San Diego Union-Tribune. By Chris Moran 2:00 a.m. April 27, 2009. Mario Gonzalez started his 90-mile commute to Borrego Springs High School an hour early last semester to teach an extra section of honors history on his own time. He stays late to coach girls soccer, and led a squad that was winless last year to the league championship this season.  None of it saved his job. Under state law, it doesn't matter how well Gonzalez does his job. What matters is that as a second-year teacher at Borrego Springs High, he hasn't done it long enough. The last-hired/first-fired system that governs layoffs prohibits school boards from saving a star teacher's job by dismissing a more veteran teacher who may not be as effective. Superintendents who issued tentative layoff notices last month to 1,400 teachers countywide lament that they have no choice but to target some of their brightest prospects.

    4.  Indiana.      IU workers rally for better wages.  Indiana Daily Student News.  By  Haley Adams | IDS. POSTED AT 11:57 PM ON Apr. 26, 2009. Congressman Baron Hill spoke at a union workers rally Saturday expressing his thoughts on IU support staff’s campaign for better wages and other labor issues. They campaigned for health care and the Employee Free Choice Act, which would make it easier for workers to unionize. Speakers outside the Monroe County Courthouse voiced their concerns for labor workers, who stressed the need for health care for everyone and how important unions are in corporate America.
    5.  Montreal.        Classes back at Montreal university after strike vote.  Montreal Gazette April 25, 2009.  MONTREAL — Classes will resume on Monday at the Universite du Quebec a Montreal after striking professors approved new contracts Friday. Nearly 1,000 professors and full-time language instructors had been on strike since March 16. The professors voted 91 per cent in favour of a new deal that includes an 11 per cent increase over four years. But Quebec Education Minister Michelle Courchesne painted it as a salary catch-up and parity measure rather than a pay hike.

    6.  Washington.      Legislature suspends teacher bonuses indefinitely.  Seattle Post-Intellingencer. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Mandatory teacher bonuses are just one item on a list of mandatory school spending programs and initiatives that could be postponed under a bill passed by the state Legislature. The bill already passed the House and was approved by the Senate on a vote of 28-20 Thursday. The measure now goes to Gov. Chris Gregoire. Bonuses for teachers who work in high-poverty areas, peer mentoring programs,and paraprofessional training programs could be suspended indefinitely. The programs - some of which were passed by the voters - are just the latest to get the ax as the Legislature pares back its budget in the face of a growing recession.

    Michigan.        Retirement fund losses will cost schools, but how much?  Mackinac Education Report. By Lorie A. Shane,Mon., April 20, 2009.  The retirement fund for public school employees reported $7.4 billion in investment losses in the fiscal year ending September 2008, a number that will begin working its way down to local school budgets beginning this fall. Stock market declines left the Michigan Public School Employees’ Retirement System with about $39.8 billion in total net assets, down 19 percent from the previous year, according to its latest annual report.

  • 24 Apr 2009 11:40 AM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    1.  United States.      Employers Make Cuts Despite Belief Upturn Is Near.  The Wall Street Journal.  April 23, 2009. By DANA MATTIOLI. Starting May 1, Kitchen & Bath Center, a maker of cultured marble and granite, will stop offering employees health care. In March, the company did away with its 401(k) program, and before that it placed employees on reduced schedules. It's all an effort by the Fort Walton Beach, Fla., company to manage costs, even after downsizing from 250 workers to just 60. Although Butch Meyer, vice president of manufacturing, believes the economy will start to recover in the next 12 months to 18 months, he says the recent cuts were a "dire necessity." But there have been consequences. When the company announced it was dropping health-care benefits, one employee resigned, and Mr. Meyer worries that more could follow suit. The belief that an upturn is coming but cuts are required now is echoed by companies across the country. A new Hewitt Associates survey of 518 large U.S. companies found that 54% believe the economic upturn will begin at the end of 2009 or early 2010. Nonetheless, a large percentage have plans for further layoffs, salary reductions, medical-benefit cuts and changes in 401(k) matches.


    2.  California.      LAUSD targets teacher shields.  LA Daily News. By George B. Sanchez, Staff Writer. Updated: 04/22/2009 10:26:28 PM PDT. Embarking on a monumental task that some say is doomed to fail, Los Angeles Unified school officials are taking aim at state laws that make it virtually impossible to fire teachers.   Facing unprecedented layoffs, including 3,500 teachers with less than two year's experience, district officials and their allies say they need the power to cull bad teachers from the ranks or students will suffer in the classroom.

    3.  United States.     NEA Documents Declassified.   EIA Communique.  April 22, 2009.  Over the years the Education Intelligence Agency has collected a good number of documents related to the National Education Association and its affiliates that inform my analysis, but don't always result in stories or news items that appear in the EIA Communiqué or the blog. These documents are not meant to be seen by the general public, and sometimes they are restricted to high-ranking union officers and staff.
    * The most recent version of the California Teachers Association's Organizational Handbook. CTA policies on every possible education and labor issue. Roughly equivalent to NEA resolutions (148 pages).
    * The Illinois Education Association budget for 2009-10 (195 pages).
    * The Ohio Education Association's Bargainers Handbook for 2005. The basics of collective bargaining in Ohio and explanation of "rope-a-dope" strategy in tough times (85 pages).
    * The California Teachers Association's Contract Reference Manual for 2000. Old, but not out of date. Sample contract language for every imaginable provision (381 pages).
    * The 2006 Pennsylvania State Education Association's resource manual for local presidents. This 616-page monstrosity covers more things than a local union president will ever have to deal with.
    4.  United States.       Ladders of Success: Keeping Teacher Pay on Schedule.  Education Sector.  By Chad Aldeman. April 21, 2009. 
    " . . . Not all single salary schedules are the same. Some are much better than others in reflecting what research tells us about how teachers gain effectiveness over the life of a career. Research shows that teachers have steep learning curves—they become much more effective in their first few years on the job and then level off. And a great deal of research shows the link between teacher effectiveness and educational credentials to be minor or nonexistent. A district designing their salary structure based on these
    findings can more effectively attract and reward highquality teachers without increasing the overall amount of money spent on compensation."

    5.  United States.     Stimulus money puts teachers in layoff limbo. Funds trickle out, leaving many state and local education budgets in flux.  The Christian Science Monitor.  By Stacy Teicher Khadaroo | Staff writer. April 21, 2009.  An unprecedented $100 billion in federal stimulus money is starting to flow to school districts. Educators welcome the aid, but with most districts just starting to get estimates of how much they'll receive, it's adding complexity to an already confusing budget cycle. Particularly challenging – and emotional – are decisions about how many teachers' jobs to fund for next year. Deadlines have been coming up for renewing contracts, yet many state and local education budgets are in flux. That's putting tens of thousands of teachers into layoff limbo.

    6.  New York.      TEACHER TENURE BULLIES.  UFT'S BIG POWER PLAY.  The New York Post. By CHUCK BENNETT in New York and FREDRIC U. DICKER in Albany.  April 20, 2009.  It was child's play for the almighty United Federation of Teachers: Destroy attempts to reform lax tenure rules -- and then brazenly write the very law that preserved the status quo. . . But in mid-March 2008, an operative from the UFT contacted mid-level budget staffers for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Bruno to insert a phrase into the budget that effectively eviscerated the tenure-reform effort. "The union was claiming that the [phrase] would only clarify what was an already existing policy," a Senate Republican insider said. "It turned out to be much more than a clarification."

    7.  New York.        New Idea on Grad Students, Unions.  Inside HigherEd.  April 20, 2009. New York University has been the site of a historic breakthrough for the push to unionize graduate teaching assistants -- and a bitter strike to preserve the union, which ended in failure, without collective bargaining. NYU administrators are now floating an idea that would give graduate students the right to join the university's adjunct union.


    8.  New York.     Charter Schools Weigh Freedom Against the Protection of a Union.  The New York Times.  April 20, 2009. By JENNIFER MEDINA.  After months of soul-searching, Kashi Nelson left her career as an assistant principal in North Carolina at the start of 2008 to teach seventh- and eighth-grade social studies at a Brooklyn charter school, convinced that the freedom to innovate would translate into better education for students. But within a year, she began to feel that the school’s independence had created its own frustrations for teachers: suddenly, for example, they were required to attend staff development days but they were not allowed to ask questions; they had to submit daily lesson plans but did not get any feedback.

    9.  Louisiana.      Merit pay for teachers studied.  Governors’ group asks Louisiana, 5 other states to tackle issue.  By WILL SENTELL
    Advocate Capitol News Bureau. Published: Apr 20, 2009. Merit pay for public school teachers is under review again, this time because Louisiana is one of six states picked to tackle the controversial issue. The latest push comes from the National Governors Association, which calls itself the voice of the nation’s governors. . . Under the NGA plan, officials in Louisiana, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Rhode Island and Tennessee will take part in an academy that meets periodically for 12-18 months.

    10.  United States.       An Introduction to Teacher Retirement Benefits.  National Center on Performance Incentives.  February 2009.  By
    Janet Hansen.  The ebate over defined benefit versus defined contribution retirement plan reform ignores that both types of plans are porous and plans can be designed with a variety of objectives.  More importantly, this debate excludes cash balance plans, a form found in both types of programs which is receving little attention in the public sector.

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