Could collective bargaining prevent cheating?

Yesterday we brough news of the massive cheating scandal unfolding in Atlanta. The full report to the Governor is now out and it's an absolute doozy.

Teachers, in many cases, were bullied and subjected to intimidation and fear in order alter tests to boost school performances. Indeed the report's findings even has a section titled "Culture of fear". The report cites

Many principals humiliated teachers in front of their peers for failing to meet goals. For example, at Fain Elementary School, the principal forced a teacher to crawl under a table in a faculty meeting because that teacher’s students’ test scores were low.

Pressure from the district's administration was intense

Virtually every teacher who confessed to cheating spoke of the inordinate stress the district placed on meeting targets and the dire consequences for failure. Dr. Hall articulated it as: "No exceptions. No excuses." If principals did not meet targets within three years, she declared, they will be replaced and "I will find someone who will meet targets." Dr. Hall replaced 90% of the principals during her tenure.

You can read the report here:
Report Vol. 1
Report Vol. 2
Report Vol. 3

The report also finds that Atlanta Could Have Averted Its Cheating Scandal If It Had Listened To Its Local Teachers Union. But in Georgia there is no power of collective bargaining so teachers were helpless and unable to apply pressure on the administrators to stop the abuse and cheating. When they tried, they were subjected to retribution and retaliation. Instead of this problem being dealt with early and decisively, the high stakes environment with no employee protections led to widespread cheating, and now serious repercussions for the Atlanta Public Schools system and the children who have been hurt by it.

Notes from Colorado

We thought this might interest a few people.

Almost a year ago, Colorado passed a controversial bill, S.B.191. The Denver Post gives us this synopsis

The legislation would revolutionize teacher and principal evaluations in Colorado, basing 50 percent of their performance on supervisors' reviews and the other half on student growth on standardized tests and other measures. It also would change the way teachers achieve tenure and make it easier for them to lose that job protection — a controversial move that attacks a core tenet held by the teachers union.

Opponents call the legislation an unfunded mandate that places too much financial burden on cash-strapped school districts. They fear it would create a school system where educators "teach to the test" to save their jobs and one where longtime teachers are picked off without due process.

A play by play of this bill, can be found here.

So why do we mention this now? Well the Colorado Department of Education just released their proposal for implementing this bill. The full details can be found at the link, here's the executive summary.

SCEE Executive Summary

The Colorado Education Association's response can be read here.