An idea worth considering

It looks like Washington, DC, of all places, may be getting ready to implement a useful idea in regards to teacher retention:

D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee is proposing a contract that would give mid-level teachers who are paid $62,000 yearly the opportunity to earn more than $100,000 — but they would have to give up seniority and tenure rights, two union members familiar with the negotiations said yesterday.

Under the proposal, the school system would establish two pay tiers, red and green, said the union members, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks are confidential. Teachers in the red tier would receive traditional raises and would maintain tenure. Those who voluntarily go into the green tier would receive thousands of dollars in bonuses and raises, funded with foundation grants, for relinquishing tenure.

Teachers in the green tier would be reviewed yearly and would be allowed to continue in their jobs only if they passed an evaluation and boosted students’ test scores, the union members said.

Rhee’s idea is a breath of fresh air in an area that seems to have little movement over the last decade. The fact of the matter is that in order to truly be able to reinvigorate public schools, we have to find better ways to tie pay to teacher performance, and better ways to ensure that tenure does not stagnant the educational growth of our students. But the Teacher’s Union, as always, stands in the way of common sense reforms designed to improve the classroom. Rhee’s idea is a compromise that allows teachers to opt out of the current system if they desire, and gives teachers the opportunity to prove themselves and earn incentives.

This is exactly the kind of debate that we need here in our public schools. Unfortunately, in Anne Arundel County, we’re not going to get to have that debate because Governor O’Malley appointed two Maxwell apologists to the Board of Education. And it’s not like anybody is going to ask unregistered Democratic lobbyist Teresa Milio Berge her position on this proposed tenure reform during a retention election….


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