The Stockholm Nashville Syndrome?

Here’s AFT’s Howard Nelson in Ed Week’s write-up of the Vanderbilt performance incentive conference:

“Both [national] unions are really not against such [pay-for-performance] plans, but we are against full-scale implementation without experimentation,” Howard Nelson, the lead researcher at the American Federation of Teachers, said of his organization and the National Education Association.

OK then. Let’s go to the videotape! Here are a few salient aspects of the National Education Association’s official position on the issue:

The Association further believes that performance pay schedules, such as merit pay or any other system of compensation based on an evaluation of an education employee’s performance, are inappropriate.


Any additional compensation beyond a single salary schedule must not be based on education employee evaluation, student performance, or attendance.

Hmmm…I think that counts as being against it…

But, leave aside the ridiculousness of that position in a field that is supposed to be about results for kids. What’s especially weird here is that the AFT, where Nelson works, is much better on this issue than the NEA, more progressive and willing to embrace some reforms (see pp. 14 of this paper for some discussion). In fact, the AFT frequently pleads with people to make the distinction between the two unions on this and other issues…

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