Un-"progressive" Boston Teachers Union Gives Important Policy Lesson

If there’s such a thing as being the opposite of “progressive” when it comes to education personnel practices, this example from the Boston Herald is it:

Grinchlike union bosses are blocking at least 200 of Boston’s best teachers from pocketing bonuses for their classroom heroics in a puzzling move that gets a failing grade from education experts.

The Boston Teachers Union staunchly opposes a performance bonus plan for top teachers – launched at the John D. O’Bryant School in 2008 and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates and Exxon Mobil foundations – insisting the dough be divvied up among all of a school’s teachers, good and bad.

“It’s insanity,” said Jim Stergios, executive director of the nonpartisan Pioneer Institute. “They’re less concerned about promoting the interest of individual members than maintaining control over their members.”

Insanity from the perspective of someone whose first priority is education excellence and student achievement. Business as usual for the Boston Teachers Union.

Teachers union power is good for self-preservation: security, membership and the bottom line of the union. Everything else — including rewards for high-quality teaching — takes a back seat. Without significant outside competition, there is little or no incentive for this fact to change, either.

An important policy lesson to be gleaned for those who have yet to learn it. A valuable reminder for the rest of us.