LANSING, Mich. - Teacher unions in at least three states besides Michigan are trying to put the brakes on their states' Race to the Top applications, in each case saying the reform measures would affect teacher assignment, evaluation or pay, according to a report in Education Week. Michigan is attempting to capture up to $400 million in the competitive federal grant program.

The Michigan Education Association said Wednesday it will advise local union leaders not to sign a "Memorandum of Understanding" indicating support for the plan, according to The Detroit News. The union is opposed to a new state law as well as language in Michigan's application that calls for linking teacher pay or promotions to students' performance on standardized tests, The News reported.

In Rhode Island, affiliates of the National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers want "recourse" in their state plan to prevent giving administrators too much power over teacher assignments, Education Week reported.

The Tennessee Education Association supports joining the Race, but is arguing with other officials over whether student test scores should count as 35 percent or 50 percent of a teacher's evaluation, the report said. Federal guidelines say test scores should be "a significant part," according to Education Week.

The California Teachers Association also is urging local affiliates not to sign their state memorandum; it objects to performance pay, Education Week reported.

Teacher union signatures are not required on Race applications, but would help states win points in the competition, The News reported.

SOURCES:
The Detroit News, "MEA won't back Race to Top," Jan. 14, 2010

Education Week, "Unions and 'Race to the Top' Update," Jan. 11, 2010

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Digest, "Unions: 'Race' memo goes too far," Jan. 5, 2010

Share