States, Teachers’ Unions Clash Over Contest-Driven Reforms
By Michele McNeil | Ed Week
April 23, 2010
With the second-round deadline for federal Race to the Top Fund grants less than six weeks away, states are rushing to raise the stakes on their education reform plans as they fight over the remaining $3.4 billion in prize money.
But in doing so, states from Massachusetts to Colorado are tangling with their teachers’ unions as they test how far they can go to meet federal officials’ demands that they be aggressive, yet inclusive, in devising a road map to dramatically improve student achievement.
“On one hand, the federal government is saying, ‘Be bold,’ which implies significant challenge to the status quo, which then tends to be disruptive and generate resistance,” said S. Paul Reville, the education secretary in Massachusetts, where the American Federation of Teachers affiliate has revoked its support of the state’s second-round application over teacher issues. “Yet at the same time, the federal government is asking us to get full [district and union] support,” he said. “That’s the dynamic tension.”