Sunday, April 26, 2009

Data Point: Textbooks + Stimulus Package + Teachers Unions

@Teacher Beat:
Will the Unions Have A Say on the Stimulus?:
"Another put it more succinctly: 'Quite obviously the priority goes to academic shovel-ready projects,' quipped Mary Cathryn Ricker, the president of the St. Paul Federation of Teachers. She said she worried that the pressure to get funds out quickly would give vendors of pre-packaged or commercial approaches an edge over homegrown reform efforts.. . .

Following up on Ricker's point, an associate professor of labor studies at Rutgers University in New Jersey, Saul A. Rubinstein, asked Smith if the competitive applications or RFPs for the $5 billion fund would require collaboration among districts and unions. Such a requirement could result in innovative plans with strong teacher buy-in, and possibly produce more innovative plans with better implementation, he suggested.

Smith said officials are still considering the shape of the RFP, but he said the administration might even release draft RFPs for comment before putting out a final one.

The new opportunity is with "homegrown reform efforts" and getting the support of the unions. They're the only one with enough pressure to do something new.

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