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Union shows its priorities aren't about education

Re: Performance pay is insult to teachers, Feb. 26 letter to the editor:

The letter from the president of the Hernando Classroom Teachers' Association, Brian Phillips, opposing performance pay for teachers, is just another example of how the teachers' unions will oppose anything - and I mean anything - that attempts to measure results and link teacher compensation to job performance. Woe be it to anyone who might dare suggest actually rewarding good teachers who excel at the job they were hired to do: teaching children.

No one will dispute that we need to recruit and retain the best possible teachers and do everything in our power to increase their compensation based on their performance, just as is done in private enterprise. The Florida Department of Education's performance pay proposal is a step in that direction.

Mr. Phillips' whining provides glaring confirmation that the unions' agenda and priorities are not a sincere concern for supporting efforts designed to help provide the best possible education for our children. His crying is just another example that the union really cares more about increasing pay without any commensurate accountability for actual teacher performance. One just has to look at how the unions consistently oppose any and all efforts at accountability for results, be it FCAT testing, school grades, school vouchers, or performance-based compensation, and their agenda becomes crystal clear.

If there is to be any hope for reversing the downward spiral in our public education system, then an important step in the right direction is for us as parents and taxpayers to demand that our excellent teachers be well compensated for their efforts and results. If this results in some teachers - those who produce inferior results - earning less than the high achievers, then so be it. If this brings whining and crying from the teachers unions, then it only confirms we are on to something good.

Mr. Phillips' assertion that "it is clear the (Florida) Education Department and current administration are not doing an effective job of creating a climate of professional respect and collaboration in our state's schools," is simply union talking points which really mean, "Union panic time! How dare they suggest basing teachers' pay on actual achievement and results! What do they think this is, capitalist America?"

Yes, parents, we must be on to something good. Join me in writing letters to the state Department of Education and ask its members to support this fair proposal that will help attract and keep the superior teachers we so desperately need.

Grady Sykes, Tampa

Process leaves out

teachers and students

Re: Performance pay is insult to teachers, Feb. 26 letter to the editor:

The recent meeting between the Hernando County School Board and the administration with Sen. Paula Dockery is yet another example of how those who are directly affected by our Legislature, school employees and students, are left out of the equation.

Although I commend our School Board for arranging the meeting with the senator, I am disappointed by the board's inability to include all of those involved in this process.

The members of the Hernando Classroom Teachers' Association are well-versed in the issues that face us in Tallahassee and Washington. We often have expressed our desire to work with the board and administration, but once again, this desire is lost on the politicians who hold these offices.

The HCTA and our administration have expressed an interest in the collaborative process of negotiations and we in the HCTA had hoped this interest would carry over to all areas affecting the employees and students in this district.

Until the School Board recognizes we can achieve greater success when all stakeholders work together, little to nothing will be accomplished within the halls of our state and national legislatures.

I sincerely hope our local elected officials will see the light and begin to work like a team to benefit us all.

Christopher J. Becker, vice president

Hernando Classroom Teachers' Association

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