Trends in Ed: Teachers’ Union Proposes Overhaul

| February 25, 2011

Ever since the New Yorker ran its famous article about the “rubber room,” where teachers accused of misconduct or incompetence are sent to cool their heels during the school day, collecting paychecks while waiting, often for years, for the results of an arbitration process, there’s been a growing movement to restrict teacher tenure.  Couple this with the attacks on teachers unions in Wisconsin and elsewhere, and you can understand why Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, announced a new plan yesterday to get ahead of the critics.

Ms. Weingarten has proposed a new evaluation metric, which includes factors such as student improvement and an outside appraisal of the teacher’s lesson plan.  This proposal would allow teachers rated “unsatisfactory” one year for improvement, after which period, if their grade does not improve, they can be dismissed after a 100 day arbitration period.

Whether her plan will satisfy administrators who want more control over evaluations, or conservatives who want to take more drastic action in response to looming budget crises, is at this point unclear.  But whatever happens, it looks like teachers unions are preparing for a world of diminished power and influence.