Hawaiian teachers recently rejected a contract calling for performance-based evaluations and compensation, a requirement by the Race to the Top (RttT) grant their state won from the Obama administration, according to Valerie Strauss.
67% of 9,000 teachers, counselors and others in the Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA) rejected the contract, the first time in the union’s 44-year history that its members rejected a contract already approved by the state board of education. As a result, Hawaii was warned by the U.S. Department of Education that its $75 million RttT grant was on “High-risk status,” something Hawaiian teachers should be proud of.
HSTA is the first state teachers’ union to reject the poisoned Koolaid from the Obama after it had already been granted administration. This rebuff, coming from Obama’s home state, is a particularly harsh blow to his signature RttT and portends increasing rejections by other state teachers’ unions.
In order for states to win RttT grants, they must expand charter schools, evaluate teachers based on students’ standardized test scores and implement other “reforms” that increase private investors’ opportunities to profit from public education. Because states have been starved of revenue due to years of corporate and personal income taxes cuts, most have been jumping on the bandwagon and accepting this nominal federal assistance in exchange for giving away their public education systems to private educational management organizations, for-profit charter operators and test publishers.