In the fight to close the achievement gap and ensure all kids have access to great public schools, what is the role of the teachers’ union? I’m not talking teachers, we know how essential great teachers are to learning and achievement. But when we talk about reform, shouldn’t the unions be part of the solution, rather than an obstacle protecting the problem?
The CEA claimed that linking evaluations and staffing decisions was “beyond [its] wildest nightmare”; it’s mounting a full-fledged campaign against any attempt to establish the link. It’s convinced some teachers to fear any linkage — so teachers have been shouting down the governor at town-hall meetings and even calling him a liar when he tried to correct the misconceptions.
What of the AFT? The national union, led by former New York City teacher-union chief Randi Weingarten, has been a key player in the development and early implementation of similar evaluation systems in states and cities across the country. The Connecticut chapter will be at odds with its national affiliate if it blocks key reforms — yet Weingarten’s silence has been deafening so far.