Tuesday, September 2, 2008

OR Measure 60: Determines Teacher Pay By Undefined "Classroom Performance", Removes Seniority Pay

OR Elections: SUMMARY: Local public school district boards currently fix salaries, and retention and other contract terms of employment for teachers within their respective districts, subject to state laws regarding collective bargaining, merit, competence, licensure and the Accountability for Schools for the 21st Century Law. Measure eliminates seniority as criterion for pay raises and requires that pay raises for teacher by based solely on that teacher's "classroom performance" (undefined); provides that if a school district reduces teaching staff, the district must retain the "most qualified" teacher, identified by "past classroom experience successfully teaching the specific subject" and academic training in that subject. Measure supersedes any conflicting law or policy, but applies only to teacher contract extensions and new contracts made after the effective date of measure. Other provisions.

[_] Yes

“Yes” vote makes teacher pay raises dependent on "classroom performance," without regard to seniority; specific subject training, teaching performance determine retention if lay-offs occur.

Portland Mercury

Jack Bogdanski
OR "Family" Council
Victoria Taft

[X] No

“No” vote retains current laws allowing local school boards to pay and retain teachers by qualifications, including teaching competence, experience, educational attainments, licensure and seniority.

EMO (pdf): ". . . Instead of allowing public schools to retain the most qualified teachers, this measure is likely to drive many good teachers out of the public schools, especially teachers serving in schools serving low- and middle income Oregonians . . ."

Just Out
The Oregonian

Basic Rights OR
OR Working Families Party
• Ecumenical Ministries (pdf)
NARAL Pro-Choice
League of Women Voters

MY FIRST IMPRESSION: I'm leaning toward a no vote. I do agree with some of the broad goals of this law such as removing seniority pay; however, it seems too vague. What "performance standards"? It seems a school's administration could easily define performance standards to circumvent this law's intention. It also seems this law's vague definitions could be challenged by teachers unions. Over all, I don't like the idea of micromanaging school districts via a state-wide ballot. Ultimately, locally-elected school boards are responsible for teacher contract negotiations.

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