Pinellas teachers union: Too many unanswered questions about Race to the Top
If the Pinellas school district is going to score any of the federal Race to the Top money, it's going to need support from the local teachers union. But at this point, executive director Marshall Ogletree says, the union has a lot of concerns and frustrations.
"There are more unanswered questions than answered questions right now," Ogletree told The Gradebook this morning. "We're taking the approach that most of the locals are taking, which is of great caution."
Ogletree's comments come a day after the Pinellas school board gave an initial okay to participating in Florida's Race to the Top application, which could bring up to $700 million to Florida and up to $21 million to Pinellas. They also come after the Pasco union said it will not sign the memorandum of understanding that's due to the state by Jan. 12.
Among other concerns, Ogletree said the RTTT application appears to be too prescriptive on how districts and unions should handle things like performance pay and teacher evaluations. He said it's unclear which portions have to be bargained and whether some of the initiatives could be imposed on teachers. And he questioned the dramatic reach of the changes it's pushing.
"It's just so much, so fast, and so different," he said.
Ogletree said the union and Superintendent Julie Janssen "were on the same wave length" with some of the programs they thought might be in play with Race to the Top. But that was before the state released more details about its application last week.
"I'm not sure, based on the prescriptiveness of the memorandum of understanding, that we can do some of those things," he said. "That's what we're going to have to sort through and figure out."