Monday, September 22, 2008

Weingarten Supports Closing Salary Gap - Maybe

One intriguing comment from Randi Weingarten today in Elizabeth Green's report on Tim Daly's report on ATR's (see our post later this afternoon) in the NY Sun as a way to cut down on the reluctance of principals to hire higher salaried teachers:

The president of the teachers union, Randi Weingarten, said in a statement responding to the report that she supports evening the financial playing field between senior and junior teachers.

Is this a sign of a crack in the UFT's slavish commitment to equal raises across the board? Will future contracts have differentiated percentage raises and limits on the top?

While the concept has been raised in ICE at times, I look at Randi's statement as just something for her to say for PR purposes (I'm shocked), with no real plan. In fact it is not well thought out as a solution to the ATR problem because with 50% of new teachers leaving and Tim Daly lobbying for a lifetime contract to train new teachers, principals will always have a pool of bottom salaried people to plug into a 2 for 1 deal.

Currently, the gap between entry level and top salaries is $55,000. Most of the big raises start coming as people get into their 2nd decade of teaching through longevity raises at various points based on years of service. I haven't followed things that closely, but the gap still remains large for many years. But them again, even with a top salary of $100,000, the DOE and the UFT don't expect all that many people to get there. Thus, they could raise the top to $120,000 without worrying about it costing too much, while firming up the middle.

If she were serious, the key to doing this is to raise the jumps in salary at the steps in the first 8 years.

This is an idea that bears looking into - in theory.

Remember, this is the UFT which will manage to screw up even a good idea.


  1. I've now read the Weingarten quote both here and in the Sun, and I still have no idea what it is she's talking about. If you do, please enlighten me.

    Giving more money to teachers at certain salary steps is nothing new, though, and I recall it happening on several contracts. I think it was 02 when they gave a big bump to beginners, though I could be wrong.

  2. I think the idea here was to make it appear the solution to not hiring higher salaried people is to close the gap which is not really possible. As expected this is not thought out or with any kind of plan.

    But in real terms it would mean higher percentages for lower people down the scale and less at the higher ends.

    Right now there are steps through 8 and then it shifts to longevity raises. When these first came in we opposed them since max was reached at 8B for a brief time. They would have to kill those and incorporate the step system to reach max much earlier. Really not feasible at all. So she was just blowing smoke.

  3. Norm-

    On this one, I think you are totally off base. She was talking about what a teacher costs to a school's budget. Higher priced teachers cost more than newer teachers. This was the evening she was referring to I do believe. In the past we were all charged equally.

  4. Oh, you're probably right. Evening means that schools have no disadvantage in who they hire by keeping payroll at central? Then that simply means get rid of fair funding.

    She out it a weird way. But it's not a quote so that could be Green's interpretation.

    The bigger idea is my (wrong) interpretation where everyone reaches max in 10 years. Dream on.

    Anyway, I'm coming around to NYC's original point. Who the hell knows what she is talking about?


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