Education Week - January 6, 2016 - (Page 23)

UNION FEES: HOW NONMEMBERS ARE CHARGED jobs of certain teachers could be saved. But the local union instead pressed for a pay increase, and several teachers were laid off. Freedom to Lobby The NEA's O'Brien said collective bargaining is not the same as political lobbying. "If you seriously consider that claim, it fails at the very threshold," she said. "Collective bargaining is controlled by the states. A state like California can decide that certain topics are off limits in bargaining, such as tenure and layoffs, which are controlled by state law." Besides, said O'Brien, the objecting teachers "are free as citizens to take any stand they want and lobby the government." She says public-employee unions take seriously their obligation to represent everyone in the bargaining unit-union members and nonmembers alike. "Employers value exclusive representation, and the only way that works is if they impose a strong obligation to represent everyone in the workplace," O'Brien said. O'Brien argues that overturning Abood would call into question thousands of contracts between government agencies and public-employee unions, governing not just teachers but also law-enforcement officers, firefighters, and others. Although both sides are tamping down the rhetoric that has surrounded the question of whether eliminating mandatory agency fees would be a severe blow to the unions, O'Brien said: "All you have to do is look at the difference between right-to-work states and non-right-to-work states to see that [the challengers'] arguments do not take into account certain economic realities. Unions that are forced to carry people in the unit for free are weaker." Pell, of the Center for Individual Rights, the group backing the challenge, countered that public-employee unions needed laws requiring agency fees when those unions were just getting off the ground. "But now, the CTA is the most powerful interest in the state of California," he said. "Once the union has become that big and powerful, it is hard to take seriously its reliance interests on compulsory [fees]." Friedrichs also believes a win for her side would not seriously dent the power of the unions. "I think it would make them more accountable to their members, and they would have to up their game," she said. "Right now," she contended, "they are totally entrenched and focused on their own preservation." fits-all, top-down approach to improving schools, they encourage state legislators to include them in the conversation when making policy. "This can't be just a check-the-box mentality, that we had a meeting," said Tom Gentzel, the executive director of the National School Boards Association. "We're going to be looking for and promoting meaningful and substantive consultation with state and local officials. This model is one that can spur innovation and collaboration at the local level." With state waivers, the federal Education Department required states to design plans to turn around their worstperforming schools and include test scores in teachers' evaluations. In 2015, four states-Arkansas, Georgia, Nevada, and Pennsylvania-laid Ed. Dept. Budget Sees Slight Boost In FY 2016 Deal The Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association case involves "agency fees" paid by non-union teachers-the proportion of union dues related to collective bargaining. Here are some examples of CTA expenses and the degree to which non-union members could be charged for them, based on a typical notice sent to agency-fee payers. By Andrew Ujifusa Chargeable (to Non-Union Members) Category Governmental Relations (examples: lobbying, government liaison) NonChargeable 0% 100 % 0 100 Legal Services (arbitration, training, law library) 41.6 58.4 Regional Services (UniServ collective bargaining assistance to locals, regional conferences) 93.1 6.9 Negotiations and Organizational Development (negotiations database, bargaining strategy) 96.6 3.4 Communications (media contacts, California Educator magazine, video services, Web page) 54.3 45.7 Association for Better Citizenship (funding to CTA-recommended candidates for office) Human Rights/Community Outreach (women's leadership training, gay/lesbian program, unconscious-bias training) 54 46 Instruction and Professional Development (efforts to advance teaching profession, educational policy) 94.5 5.5 Accounting (budget and recordkeeping) 100 0 Business Services (purchasing, software and business systems) 100 0 Media Advertising Fund (paid advertising about achievements and needs of public education) 0 100 Initiative Fund (to support ballot initiatives that advance quality public education and to combat those hostile to CTA's mission) 0 100 SOURCE: Court records in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association Title I aid for the nation's neediest students is getting a $500 million boost, up to approximately $14.9 billion, while state grants under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act are rising by $415 million, up to $11.9 billion, as part of the omnibus federal budget deal for fiscal 2016 signed into law by President Barack Obama last month. Those and other spending increases are part of an overall budget increase for the U.S. Department of Education of $1.2 billion. The total increase for the U.S. Department of Education's budget is about 2 percent, up to about $68 billion. In addition, Head Start, which is under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is getting a $570 million increase, up to $9.2 billion, under the omnibus budget, and the Child Care and Development Block Grant under HHS is rising by $326 million, up to $2.8 billion. "We're particularly pleased that very few programs were cut," said Joel Packer, the executive director of the Committee for Education Funding. Some Reductions Title I program evaluation, however, has been cut by just short of $1 million, and the Transition to Teaching program has been eliminated. Although, going forward, the recently signed Every Student Succeeds Act eliminates the School Improvement Grant program, which was expanded and revamped by former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, it does receive funding for fiscal 2016 in the new spending bill to the tune of $450 million. That's a decrease, however, from the $506 million it got in fiscal 2015. So the SIG program will be able to continue for at least another budget year. And another Obama initiative, Investing in Innovation, known as i3, is flat-funded at $120 million for fiscal 2016. (The ESSA includes a similar research-based program.) The budget also clarifies that formula-funded grant programs will continue to operate under the previous reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act-the No Child Left Behind law-for the 2016-17 academic year. In short, the ESSA isn't really relevant for this budget bill. Funding Highlights the groundwork for state-run districts to turn around low-performing schools. But districts will have more power under ESSA to design their own turnaround models. Several urban districts will be lobbying their legislatures to roll back punitive turnaround measures. Separately, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, said last month that he would be willing to abolish that state's controversial state-run district if the legislature adopts his proposed turnaround model. Teacher Tensions On the teacher-evaluation front, teachers' unions nationally have c ompl a i ne d for ye a r s t h at t e st PAGE 24 > " Legislators are superexcited. They've been asking for a decade for some of these changes." MICHELLE EXSTROM National Conference of State Legislatures Among the program highlights in the budget package: * Charter school grants will receive an additional $80 million, up to $333 million. * The National Assessment of Educational Progress will receive an additional $20 million, up to $149 million. * The Striving Readers program will receive an additional $30 million, up to $190 million. * 21st Century Community Learning Centers will receive an additional $15 million, up to $1.17 billion. * Impact Aid will receive an additional $17 million, up to $1.3 billion. * Promise Neighborhoods will receive an additional $16.5 million, up to $73 million. * Safe and Drug-Free Schools and National Programs will receive an additional $5 million, up to $75 million. * Rural education will receive an additional $6 million, up to $176 million. "These numbers, I predict, are going to be fairly similar to what we get next year," Packer said. EDUCATION WEEK | January 6, 2016 | | 23

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - January 6, 2016

Education Week - January 6, 2016
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Wash. Ruling Could Inspire Charter Opponents Elsewhere
As New SAT Looms, Anxious Students Ramp Up Testing
Digital Directions: U.S. Ed-Tech Plan Calls Attention to ‘Digital-Use Divide’
Standards for Principals’ Bosses Sharpen Focus on Role
Blogs of the Week
Inside ESSA
High Stakes in Union-Fee Case Before Supreme Court
New K-12 Law Adds to Buzz as State Legislatures Set to Convene
Ed. Dept. Budget Sees Slight Boost In FY 2016 Deal
Blogs of the Week
Amanda VanDerHeyden, Matthew Burns, Rachel Brown, Mark R. Shinn, Stevan Kukic, Kim Gibbons, Ggeorge Batsche, & W. David Tilly: RTI Works (When It Is Implemented Correctly)
Ron Wolk: To Change Education, Change the Message
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Paul Herdman: As Feds Step Back, The First State Steps Up

Education Week - January 6, 2016