Friday, February 17, 2017

CURMUDGUCATION: IOWA: Gutting Unions + Performance Pay Bombs Across the Pond


IOWA: Gutting Unions

The Iowa House and Senate have voted to gut the public service unions of their state.

Under the new bill, Iowa's public service unions (that, of course, includes teachers) may not negotiate anything but wages. Health care, evaluation procedures, and other language items may not be part of contract negotiations. And should those wage negotiations stall, the arbitrator must consider management's ability to pay and may not raise wages beyond either a 3% cap or the cost of living index-- whichever is lower. Which means, of course, that local school boards and other management groups don't actually have to negotiate at all.

The bill also kills the automatic deduction for union dues and requires the union to be recertified before every new contract negotiation.

In short, this bill is aimed directly at busting unions in the state.

The bill was supported only by the GOP (a handful of GOP reps defected to vote against it), and it appeared magically from behind closed doors, like Venus rising from a lily pad, just ten days ago. GOP lawmakers didn't run on a promise to bust unions, there were no big public demonstrations or even spirited calls from friendly astro-turf groups. The GOP won't even identify supporters or sponsors of the bill. The GOP just decided to bust them some unions. Opponents have asserted that this is an ALEC bill, and the whole process certainly smells like ALEC at work, but truthfully, at this point there's no smoking gun-- just assertions. Still, if it walks like an ALEC fat cat, and talks like an ALEC fat cat, it's hard not to conclude it's another ALEC fat cat. 

The justifications have been spectacularly lame:

“This bill, I believe heart and soul, is a win for all Iowans and the delivery of a promise from Republicans that we would reform governments to make it more efficient for the people for Iowa,” 

CURMUDGUCATION: Performance Pay Bombs Across the Pond:

Performance Pay Bombs Across the Pond

I don't know if this will make you feel better or make you feel worse, but our nation is not the only one caught in the throes of bad education reform.

The UK has a performance pay system in which teachers get an increase of pay based on their job performance. Well, if there's money to pay for a raise. Well, if the raise is within the cap of 1% (aka "not enough to keep up with inflation").

The UK put this system in place four years ago, incorporating many reformy favorites wrapped in a thick helping of baloney. Said education secretaryMichael Gove:

"I am clear that these changes will give schools greater freedom to develop pay policies that are tailored to their school's needs and circumstances and to reward their teachers in line with their performance." There was, he added, "further work to be done" in deciding the best way to implement the recommendations.

Other supporters laud the system's "flexibility," which as usual appears to mean "the freedom to avoid paying teachers very much money."

Recently a joint survey of 13,000 teachers by the National Union of Teachers and Association of Teachers and Lecturers has suggested that mostly the system just beats teachers down. The UK includes its fair share of members of the Cult of Testing (after all, we're talking about the home of Pearson), but the system also seems to include a healthy slice of bias-- your school's "head teacher" can give you a raise based on whatever they feel like basing it on. It could be worse-- Catholic schools in the UK will also judge their teachers on their spiritual performance. Yikes.

In 2016, according to the survey, one in five teachers received no raise (the Brits actually call it a rise). The system has created a great emphasis on more time-wasting paperwork (because you can't 
CURMUDGUCATION: Performance Pay Bombs Across the Pond:

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