We’re rounding up reaction to the agreement between the UFT and the city on mechanisms to implement an option for educators who have 25 years or more of service to be able to retire at age 55 without a reduction in benefits and a pilot program establishing voluntary school-wide bonuses in a number of New York City’s highest need schools. Look for more reaction to come.
Brian Lehrer at WNYC interviews UFT President Randi Weingarten.
A look at the gender equity aspect of 55/25, here at Edwize:
One of the important benefits of the 55-25 pension improvement that is often lost in discussion is that it creates greater equity for women teachers, by making it easier for them to retire at an age comparable to their male colleagues. This is an issue of fairness, but it is also a question of building a strong profession of career educators. Women will be more likely to commit to teaching as a life-long profession if they know they will not be penalized for taking a few years off to raise their own children.
and over at Ed in the Apple:
The teacher who took two full child care leaves reaches age 55 with 26 years of service. Under the current law they can not retire with full benefits until they reach 30 years of service . . . [at] age 59.
The newly negotiated pension agreement will give the teacher referenced above the right to retire at age 55 – with 26 years of service.
Ed at the AFT Blog Let’s Get It Right take a closer look:
Another issue is that individual merit pay can pit staff against each other. I’ve read accounts of experiments in the UK that underline this. The city is implementing a team-based reward. The hope is that this will create opportunities (and incentives) for collaboration and teamwork. The program has due process. It only comes into effect if the principal of the school and 55 percent of the UFT staff agree to it. Finally, if I’m reading this right, the plan covers not just teachers, but teaching assistants and a number of key administrative staff as well. A labor-management committee will, if a school meets the benchmark, figure out how to distribute the money, and again, the membership in the school has a chance to ratify the plan.
AFT issued a call to dramatically improve that [teacher] compensation. But I’m under no illusion that we can achieve that goal by simply doing more of the same. This is a step toward a system that both does something different and that can empower the people that do the work.
Can you guess who made this point?
In the schools, it is a much more collaborative effort. It’s really hard to tell whether it is just you or whether it is other teachers in the schools that support you. They in fact may have kids for parts of the day that you don’t have them.
AFT President Edward McElroy takes a broad view:
The United Federation of Teachers and Mayor Bloomberg have worked together to develop a locally negotiated, voluntary, schoolwide initiative that rewards and promotes the collaborative work environment favored by educators. Such initiatives have long been advocated by the AFT. The agreement also provides pension equity for all current and prospective teachers and paraprofessionals. We know that changes in compensation systems work only if, as in this system, they have been developed with—and have the buy-in of—teachers directly affected by the changes.
The money will go to the entire school – not just individual teachers. A team, made up of teachers and administrators, will decide how best to allocate the money at their local school to continue to boost performance. It’s an incentive for an entire school’s staff – teachers and principals – to come together and improve student achievement.