May 07, 2008
If you're a wealthy philanthropist keen to expand AP courses and pay more to the teachers who do the best job of teaching AP classes, Washington state wants you to buzz off. That's what it told the National Math & Science Initiative (NMSI), which was forced to withdraw a $13.2 million grant after officials in Olympia couldn't figure out how to accept the free money without violating the state's collective bargaining agreements. The NMSI said that in negotiations it "tried to be as flexible as possible," and it pointed out that other states were able to work around existing collective bargaining agreements and receive the grants. In the end, though, the group had either to revoke the grant or risk changing the program's essential character. Rich Wood, spokesman for the Washington Education Association (WEA), said that the initiative, which would've started more AP courses and paid bonuses to educators whose students scored well on AP exams, was trying to set up a new pay system for local teachers. "That's not how it works in our state," Wood noted. Here's how it works: Because the WEA is completely intransigent about paying teachers for their performance, kids in Washington state will have less access to AP classes than they otherwise would. And a worthy national education program will have no base in Bill Gates's home state.
"$13 million grant for AP teachers lost over pay dispute," by Linda Shaw, Seattle Times, May 6, 2008