News briefs: Thursday, December 20, 2012

  • Michigan passes anti-union ‘right to work’ law December 20, 2012

    The Republican-led Michigan Legislature approved a pair of bills that allow workers in unionized workplaces in the public and private sectors to opt out of paying union dues if they wish, dealing labor unions one of their biggest setbacks in years in this state known as the cradle of American unionism.

  • Wisconsin AFT, NEA in merger talks December 20, 2012

    Smarting from last spring’s failure to recall the state’s anti-union governor, Wisconsin’s two largest teachers unions may unite. Leaders of both AFT-Wisconsin and the NEA-affiliated Wisconsin Education Association Council cite membership declines of 30 percent since the state’s draconian collective-bargaining law took effect in 2011.

  • Los Angeles union agrees to test scores, but not value-added, in evaluating teachers December 20, 2012

    Leaders of the AFT-affiliated United Teachers Los Angeles and its school district tentatively agreed on Nov. 30 to use student test scores in evaluating instructors, as long as these elements will not be “sole, primary or controlling factors” in the final evaluation.

  • Florida retracts botched teacher evaluation data December 20, 2012

    Florida’s first-ever teacher-evaluation report was a loser. Released on Dec. 5, it was quickly retracted. Within hours, the Education Department pulled the numbers off its website and sheepishly admitted that much of it was wrong after finding that thousands of teachers were mistakenly double-counted.

  • Court rules Louisiana voucher plan unconstitutional December 20, 2012

    Voucher supporters in Louisiana took two recent hits. A state judge in late November shot down the state’s sweeping school voucher program on the grounds that it was constitutionally bound not to use funds set aside for public education to pay private-school tuition.

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