Teachers Union Blocking Charity To Teachers

Posted: Nov 18, 2009 3:24 PM
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation helped to start a program which would reward teacher performance. Rather than accepting free money for the teachers who are members, the Boston Teachers Union is trying to block the initiative.

The Boston Teachers Union staunchly opposes a performance bonus plan for top teachers - launched at the John D. O’Bryant School in 2008 and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates and Exxon Mobil foundations - insisting the dough be divvied up among all of a school’s teachers, good and bad.

“It’s insanity,” said Jim Stergios, executive director of the nonpartisan Pioneer Institute. “They’re less concerned about promoting the interest of individual members than maintaining control over their members.”

The incentive program pays Advanced Placement teachers $100 bonuses for each student who passes the test, and up to $3,000 a year for meeting other goals. Students also can also receive $100 for passing.

“(The union) is standing in the way of innovation,” school Superintendent Carol R. Johnson told the Herald. “I think we have to realize we can’t do business as usual. . . . We have to be willing to make changes and give kids the opportunities they need.”

The program also pays for after-school study sessions for AP classes, which can count toward college credit and which some universities use to evaluate applicants.

The incentive program - part of a series of innovations Boston Public Schools wants to roll out - includes drawing outside money to the city’s cash-strapped schools to boost academic performance.

ht Radley Balko