Here is a pertinent section of Jersey Jazzman's post:
There is, however, no doubt that the merit pay system will use standardized tests to determine who gets the bonuses. Which makes it even more amazing, to my mind, that the leadership of the Newark Teachers Union and their national umbrella organization, the American Federation of Teachers, supported the use of merit pay in the contract.
Because Randi Weingarten, president of the AFT, has gone on record denouncing the use of tests to measure teacher effectiveness as "junk science." She's right - but she still supported its use to determine merit pay bonuses in the Newark contract. She even went so far as to tacitly agree with Chris Christie that the contract was a model for other districts - even if those districts don't have a California internet billionaire willing to drop a pile of money into their district.
So now Paterson's teachers have to reap what Weingarten has sown. What's worse is that the local - like the vast majority of locals in the state - is affiliated with the NJEA, and not the AFT. So Paterson's teachers have to live with the consequences of deal negotiated by labor leaders they didn't even elect.
I said this back when the members of the NTU were considering whether to take the deal that Weingarten and NTU's president, Joe Del Grosso, negotiated for them: despite my many misgivings, I can't blame any teacher in Newark for taking the deal. Those educators had worked without a contract for years, and a big pile of money was put in front of them, albeit with strings attached. I'm willing to give Weingarten and Del Grosso the benefit of the doubt that this was the best deal they could get, and I think it was fine to put the deal in front of the members (although a little more engagement with the teachers opposed to the deal would have gone a long way to help unity).