Education

Unions Object to Proposals on Teachers, Principals

By Stephen Sawchuk — March 26, 2010 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The heavy focus on teacher and principal effectiveness in the Obama administration’s blueprint for rewriting the Elementary and Secondary Education has already garnered criticism from the national teachers’ unions.

The administration would require that states accepting Title I aid for disadvantaged students establish definitions of “effective teacher,” “effective principal,” “highly effective teacher,” and “highly effective principal,” all based in significant part on student academic growth. States would also agree to overhaul their teacher- and principal-evaluation systems to align with the definitions.

The ESEA plan also would mesh with the administration’s fiscal 2011 budget request in cutting the nearly $3 billion Title II teacher-quality formula-aid program for states and pouring all new teacher-quality funding into competitive-grant programs (“Obama Proposes Teacher Results in Federal Law,” February 24, 2010).

ESEA Renewal
Overview:
ESEA Renewal Blueprint Faces Legislative Hurdles
See also:
ESEA Plan Would Add ‘Well-Rounded Education’ Fund
Unions Object to Proposals on Teachers, Principals
ESEA’s Effect on Rural Areas, ELLs, Spec. Ed. Eyed

The blueprint outlines plans to increase the amount of reporting on factors affecting teachers at the local level. At least every two years, districts and states would report on a variety of school-level factors, including the distribution of effective teachers and principals; rates of teacher and principal absenteeism; teacher-retention rates; educators’ level of experience; and teacher-survey data on the level of support and working conditions. States also would be required to report on the effectiveness of their teacher-preparation programs.

The two national teachers’ unions have come out in opposition to the proposals.

Administration officials “say they don’t want to micromanage, and then they tell 15,000 school districts how to evaluate and pay teachers,” Dennis Van Roekel, the president of the National Education Association, said in an interview.

In the NEA’s view, the blueprint would still put too much focus on standardized tests—a major complaint about the law’s current version, the No Child Left Behind Act. “There ought to be multiple measures, and that doesn’t mean three or four tests instead of one,” Mr. Van Roekel said.

The leader of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, is concerned about the four required strategies in the blueprint for the 5 percent of schools identified as the lowest-performing in a state. Several of the strategies could cost teachers their jobs. She would like lawmakers to preserve the option for other restructuring models, such as allowing schools to customize interventions for students.

Both union heads expressed concern about the shift to competitive funding. They were backed by Daniel Domenech, the president of the American Association School Administrators, who said that the proposals would disadvantage poor, high-need, and rural communities.

A version of this article appeared in the March 31, 2010 edition of Education Week as Unions Blast Emphasis on Tests, Turnarounds

Events

English-Language Learners Webinar Helping English-Learners Through Improved Parent Outreach: Strategies That Work
Communicating with families is key to helping students thrive – and that’s become even more apparent during a pandemic that’s upended student well-being and forced constant logistical changes in schools. Educators should pay particular attention
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Mathematics Webinar
Addressing Unfinished Learning in Math: Providing Tutoring at Scale
Most states as well as the federal government have landed on tutoring as a key strategy to address unfinished learning from the pandemic. Take math, for example. Studies have found that students lost more ground
Content provided by Yup Math Tutoring
Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Nearly a Million Kids Vaccinated in Week 1, White House Says
Experts say there are signs that it will be difficult to sustain the initial momentum.
4 min read
Leo Hahn, 11, gets the first shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. Last week, U.S. health officials gave the final signoff to Pfizer's kid-size COVID-19 shot, a milestone that opened a major expansion of the nation's vaccination campaign to children as young as 5. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Education How Schools Are Getting Kids the COVID Shot, and Why Some Aren’t
Some district leaders say offering vaccine clinics, with the involvement of trusted school staff, is key to helping overcome hesitancy.
5 min read
A girl walks outside of a mobile vaccine unit after getting the first dose of her COVID-19 vaccine, outside P.S. 277, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)
Education Biden Administration Urges Schools to Provide COVID-19 Shots, Information for Kids
The Biden administration is encouraging local school districts to host vaccine clinics for kids and information on benefits of the shots.
2 min read
President Joe Biden, and first lady Jill Biden walk to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. Biden is spending the weekend at his home in Rehoboth Beach, Del. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Education Civil Rights Groups Sue Tennessee Over Law Against Transgender Student Athletes
The state law bars transgender athletes from playing public high school or middle school sports aligned with their gender identity.
3 min read
Amy Allen, the mother of an 8th grade transgender son, speaks after a Human Rights Campaign round table discussion on anti-transgender laws in Nashville, Tenn. on May 21, 2021.
Amy Allen, the mother of an 8th grade transgender son, speaks after a Human Rights Campaign round table discussion on anti-transgender laws in Nashville, Tenn. on May 21, 2021.
Mark Humphrey/AP