July 14, 2009
Statement by Randi Weingarten,
President, American Federation of Teachers,
On CAP Reports on Teacher Compensation and Evaluation
The Center for American Progress (CAP) today released two reports, "It's More Than Money: Making Compensation Reform Work" and "Aligned by Design: How Teacher Compensation Reform Can Support and Reinforce Other Educational Reforms." The reports underscore the need to support and collaborate with teachers.
WASHINGTON—We are beginning to see research that echoes both common sense and the AFT's mantra that effective and sustainable education reform must be done with teachers, not dictated to them. We wholeheartedly agree that when differentiated compensation plans and teacher evaluation systems-the subjects of these two CAP reports-are developed, teachers must be involved in them from the beginning.
"It's More Than Money" gives sound advice to union leaders and district officials when developing and implementing differentiated pay programs, including involving teachers unions, gaining broad community support, ensuring financial and organizational sustainability, and going beyond politics for the good of students.
"Aligned by Design" calls for the alignment of teacher compensation plans with human resources, professional development, teacher evaluation systems, and other education-related factors. The report decries most existing teacher evaluation programs as ineffective, which is a position shared by the AFT.
The most effective way to develop and implement reforms and other improvements for teaching and learning is to work with teachers, not to impose changes on them, as I said yesterday to more than 2,000 educators at the AFT's educational issues conference. I also noted that evaluation systems need major upgrades from the current-and inadequate-practice of 15-minute-per-year classroom observations. We hope policymakers start recognizing what these two reports say-that collaboration is the key ingredient to tackling the challenges that face our public schools.
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The AFT represents more than 1.4 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.