Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Smaller teachers union backs Colo. reform bill

Now this is really quite remarkable: the NEA and AFT opposing each other in Colorado (and ERN in Colorado has played a major role in what's happening there):

Legislation that has drawn the ire of Colorado's largest teachers union has been endorsed by a separate, smaller union that has a large influence on national teacher-labor issues.

The American Federation of Teachers, the nation's second- largest teachers union, which has 2,500 members in Douglas County, on Wednesday announced its support of Senate Bill 191 — the controversial measure that seeks to tie student academic growth to teacher evaluations and change the way teachers obtain and keep tenure.

The AFT, vocal in labor issues across the country, is led by outspoken president Randi Weingarten, who has become a celebrity in the education world for her views and high-profile media exposure.

Weingarten on Wednesday said AFT threw its support behind Colorado's legislation after the bill's sponsors agreed to introduce amendments that "included the voice of teachers."

"What has happened here is that the bill sponsor worked with us to try to create a better bill," she said. "They have totally worked, in terms of the amendments, to ensure evaluations are done with teachers, not to teachers."

Weingarten and AFT's support shocked the education world, spurring tweets throughout the nation.

"To have her come out and support this is pretty massive," said Van Schoales, director of Education Reform Now, an advocacy group. "This is the first major union endorsement in Colorado and one of the first in the country."


Smaller teachers union backs Colo. reform bill

By Jeremy P. Meyer and Colleen O'Connor
The Denver Post


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