Nevada’s largest teachers union treats its own employees much differently than how it insists the school district handle teachers.
In November, the Clark County Education Association raised member dues by more than $200 a year. It plans to use the money to push two tax initiatives that would raise $1 billion a year for education.
To assist with this major undertaking, the union is going on a hiring spree. Postings on UnionJobs.com reveal it’s looking to hire six new employees.
When the CCEA negotiates with the Clark County School District, it insists the district pay teachers based on experience and continuing professional development. Notably absent is pay relating to performance, even though classroom ability is a teacher’s most important skill. Obtaining a master’s degree isn’t a good proxy for teacher quality. Even the liberal Brookings Institute has found that a teacher getting a master’s degree has no impact on student achievement.
Nor is the CCEA interested in removing ineffective educators. At the Legislature, it successfully supported a bill to water down student achievement as a factor in teacher evaluations. The bill also made it harder for school districts to fire ineffective teachers.
What a difference it makes when you’re the one doing the hiring.
The union is looking for a director of strategic initiatives. It isn’t just going to hire someone based solely on experience and education. It’s looking for candidates who can “demonstrate through previous work experience and accomplishments” that they have “excellent analytical and problem-solving skills.”
If principals applied these standards to teachers, the CCEA would hit them with a lawsuit for violating the union contract.
The CCEA says the salary range for the position is $120,000 to $150,000. That’s around $25,000 to $55,000 more than any teacher can make in base pay.
As an aside, membership in the CCEA is optional. Teachers who want to save more than $825 a year by opting out may leave the union. The union may make them wait until July 1-15 to submit notice, but they can leave.
The other job descriptions are full of items the union would complain about if the district took a similar approach. The field representative is eligible for a “lucrative performance incentive plan.” The organizer position “requires extended work hours.” In contrast, the union contract with the district strictly limits a teacher’s required work time to 7 hours and 11 minutes. The political director “will be held responsible for implementing CCEA’s political, policy and legislative programs.” Good luck to a principal getting the CCEA to sign off on holding teachers responsible for their performance in the classroom.
The CCEA’s hiring standards aren’t outrageous. Far from it. It makes sense that a group running a multimillion-dollar campaign would demand accomplishments and accountability from its employees. If only the union didn’t prevent the school district from applying those same standards to teachers. Hypocrites.
Victor Joecks’ column appears in the Opinion section each Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. Listen to him discuss his columns each Monday at 10 a.m. with Kevin Wall on 790 Talk Now. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.