Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Kerry abandons pay-for-performance 

I posted a couple weeks ago about a John Kerry speech where he actually came out for pay-for-performance for teachers in return for a new wheelbarrowfull of cash for the teachers' unions. Joanne Jacobs, who had the first piece, now has the inevitable flip-flop. Relying on a post from the Educational Intelligence Agency,
In a memo dated May 21 and disseminated widely to high-ranking NEA officials nationwide, Weaver described what he called �a very positive meeting in which the Senator expressed strong interest in working closely with NEA and outlined his support for a number of NEA priorities.�

On the issue of performance pay, Weaver reported, �We raised our concerns that the Kerry campaign used the language �pay-for-performance� in his press release, although the Senator himself did not use those words in his remarks and the formal policy document did not use it. The Senator clarified that the campaign did not intend to use that language and would not do so in the future. He asked that I convey this point to NEA leaders.�

Weaver went on to note Kerry�s commitment to fully fund the No Child Left Behind Act, to advance early childhood education programs and to �roll back the Bush tax cuts� to pay for education and health care. Weaver�s memo did not mention Kerry�s proposals for differential pay, teacher testing, or expedited teacher dismissal procedures.

In a May 7 speech to the Democratic Leadership Council, Kerry said, �Yesterday, I proposed the most far-reaching reforms in teacher pay in our nation�s history.� Whether or not Kerry uses the words �pay for performance� in the future is irrelevant to the central question: Will those reforms survive the resistance of education�s most powerful special interest group?
As I said before, the NEA and its Minnesota affiliate have had a better political year than the Democrats.