The controversial Newark teachers contract vote is this Wednesday, November 14. Sandy pushed back the vote to this late date; now the teachers will have to decide whether to ratify a contract that features a whole lot of private money in exchange for accepting a merit pay system.
I really don't have much to add to my last post on the subject. The private funds make this an unusual situation, so, as much as I have worried about this being a precedent for the rest of the state, I think it will be hard for any other district to make the case that their teachers should follow suit.
Tom Moran can call the teachers opposed to this contract liars all day, but that doesn't change the facts: merit pay doesn't work, and the Newark teacher evaluation system is far too unreliable to distribute the bonuses fairly. In addition, there are some real concerns from the deal's critics about back pay, step guides, hours, work conditions, and many other factors.
I will say one additional thing: rumors have been circulating that the district needed to have a ratified contract in hand so they could apply for a district-level Race To the Top grant. That's a very bad reason to approve a contract if teachers don't like its provisions. Jersey City's teachers just said no to an unfair proposal that was being rushed through to meet the RTTT deadline; the small amount of money up for grabs wasn't going to be used in the classroom or to help settle their contract anyway.
Newark's teachers will do what's best for them and their students. They are more than capable of weighing the pros and cons of this deal and acting accordingly. The facts have been laid out by both sides; let's see what they decide later this week.