Monday, May 10, 2010

The unions' veto

As states compete for the hundreds of millions of dollars that the Obama administration is giving out for Race to the Top funds, it has become clear that one of the criteria that states' applications will be judged upon is whether or not there is buy-in among all the groups involved in education in the state. This gives each group, especially the teachers' union a sort of heckler's veto of their state's application. If they refuse to sign on, the state's chances of winning the funds are doomed.

We're seeing how that union veto is working in Maryland where the teachers' union is refusing to sign off on the state's application because it would base 50% of a teacher's evaluation on student success on standardized tests.

By basing part of the criteria on whether or not a state will win the RTTT funds on buy-in from the teacher unions and school districts, the administration has given those who would be reformed a veto over those very reforms. That is not a recipe for true reform.