To some, it would certainly seem enticing from the outside: The use of monetary incentives to bring in the “best and brightest” teachers to some of the most struggling CCSD schools to help improve student results. At the CCSD School Board Meeting on Thursday, January 24th, Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara announced that district teachers chosen to work at one of eight middle schools can earn an extra $10,000 per year. Sounds promising, right?
However, once you look at the fine print of the plan, you realize it's not the dream job that it appears. Using money to attract “highly effective” teachers is not a new trick in education. Merit pay can show some success in the short-term, but it has not proven to improve student success in the long-term. This doesn’t take into account the damage it causes to school culture. The nature of the use of merit pay will not promote a sense of collaboration and may even pit teachers against one another.
What is the most alarming in this new three-year pilot program is that each teacher will need to be hyper-aware that they have NO due process. It is stated in the plan that any teacher can be asked to leave at any time, for any reason. If this doesn’t frighten you, it should.
“It is understood by both parties that the removal of a Recruited/Retained Teacher from a targeted school during the length of this pilot program...will not be subject to the grievance/arbitration procedure in Article IV of the Negotiated Agreement between the Clark County School District and the Clark County Education Association” (Three-Year Pilot Program - Teacher Recruitment and Retention, 2019, p. 3).
In addition, Superintendent Jara is doing this in a "partnership" with CCEA. The union that states they represent “all CCSD teachers” has partnered with CCSD to give away your due process. Why does this matter?
It matters because unions have been struggling for decades to keep due process within negotiated contracts. Due process for teachers is under attack across the country. Some states have already legislated away the due process rights of teachers. This destructive move leaves teachers vulnerable to unfair and arbitrary practices of some administrators and school districts.
In the past, teachers have depended on their collective bargaining unions with state and national organizations helping to protect their rights of due process. But what do you do when one of those organizations is the one giving away your rights?
Last week, the CCSD Board of Trustees voted to approve this three-year pilot program unanimously even though several of the trustees expressed some concerns. In fact, all of the public speakers spoke against this program except CCEA themselves.
The worries of everyone are valid. The fact that CCEA has had it written into a binding policy that they will help choose the teachers to fill these positions is concerning. To realize that teachers can be transferred at any time out of their school regardless of the status of their evaluations is even more concerning. Knowing that hundreds of teachers, some who have dedicated years to their school, will be asked to leave or reapply is most worrisome.
It is unfortunate that CCSD and CCEA, two entities that are supposed to be representing the best interests of teachers, are putting so many educators in an unfavorable situation. If you are one of those teachers, NEA-SN is here for you! Please reach out and tell us how we can help you. Please feel free to reach out to us through our Facebook page or email at NEASoNevada@gmail.com.