By Paul Kersey
Director of Labor Policy
A couple of weeks ago I noted that a performance incentive program for teachers and staff was one of the bones of contention in the Evergreen Park teacher strike. These proposed incentives were based on district-wide performance on the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) exam, which measures students’ academic growth.
The bonuses were tied to how many children met or exceeded their expected learning during the year, paid out to all or none, meaning that the risk of favoritism among teachers was nil. Nonetheless, the Evergreen Park Federation of Teachers wanted to do away with the bonus.
I am pleased to report that the union and school board ratified the new contract, which is available on the district’s website – and the bonus is still there, essentially unchanged. The union will be able to propose a new program in March 2013, but unless it can persuade the district that a new program will help evaluate students more effectively the MAP-based incentive will remain in place.
Quality teaching is one of the most important factors in how a school district performs; certainly more important than class sizes. With the bonus provision intact, teachers in Evergreen Park will have an incentive to work together and provide the best education possible, which is not a bad thing at all. Parents might want to ask why the union found this bonus system so objectionable in the first place – and what this objection says about the union’s representation of the district’s teachers.
image credit: Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media