The Wall Street Journal took a look yesterday at the ”Cleveland plan” school overhaul legislation recently signed into law. The headline: “A School Fix Without a Fight.”
Under the plan, the district will be able to share tax dollars with local charter schools, but the city and voters will also have more control over who can open a charter in the first place. The plan also gives more weight to teacher performance during layoffs, a big shift from the formal tenure and seniority-heavy layoff method.
The Wall Street Journal’s Stephanie Banchero says the legislation “marks a departure from the bitter animosity over school funding and treatment of teachers that has divided many U.S. cities.”
She goes on to note that’s at least partly because the union faced a “united front” of other powerful interests including local business groups, the governor and the mayor (who controls the Cleveland school board).
Banchero also quotes a Stanford University political scientist who’s obviously not a glass-half-full kind of guy:
Some advocates of tying teacher contracts to student performance worry that the pact could still be watered down. Terry Moe, a Stanford political scientist who has written a book on teacher unions and has been critical of them, called the Cleveland changes “meaningful,” but added, “These are things that should have been done 30 years ago.” He predicted that, as details of the plan get negotiated, union leaders will “do whatever they can to water them down and make them as non-threatening as possible.”
The Cleveland teachers’ union president rejects that idea.