Photo courtesy of the Associated Press

The news in the dropout nation this Monday morning:

  1. In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie is drawing a line in the sand on the state’s expensive teacher and public employee retirement benefits, according to the Star-Ledger. Garden State teachers, many of whom currently get healthcare gratis, will have to pay 1.5 percent of salary towards healthcare and another 1.5 percent towards their pensions. As seen in Vermont and Pennsylvania, expect the state’s NEA chapter to express strong opposition to any changes that aren’t in its favor. But as more than $600 billion in pension and retirement health care deficits continue to grow, expects to other states to take similar actions (if not anything more radical).
  2. Speaking of retirement benefits: Read my latest Labor Watch report, this on how the collapse of the NEA’s Indiana affiliate may force additional scrutiny on other teachers union-run (but state- and locally-financed) health insurance plans and lead to reform of the traditional teachers compensation system. Also, listen to the Dropout Nation podcast on why taxpayers will demand reform, and a report I wrote last year about the cost of teachers pensions and healthcare benefits.
  3. At the Quick and the Ed, Chad Alderman makes a few more points about teachers compensation and the effectiveness of teachers through a chart. Essentially, he points out that the average teacher is no more effective after 25 years of experience than she is after four. Which leads to some additional things to consider on the teacher pay front.
  4. In Denver, school superintendent Tom Boasberg tells principals that the district will eliminate the  forced placement of laggard teachers, especially in the district’s worst schools. If the district succeeds, it will be a major move for better performance management that others can follow.
  5. In Rochester, Mayor Bob Duffy’s effort to take control of the upstate New York school district’s school board is opposed by local black preachers, according to WHAM-TV. The official reason: The mayor would get too much power and deny the right to vote on the school board. But let’s be honest: It would likely disturb their ability to use the district as a jobs program a la pre-Michelle Rhee D.C.
  6. And Andy Rotherham points out the sobering graduation rate facts about yesterday’s Super Bowl.

Check out this week’s Dropout Nation Podcast on civil rights and school reform. Enjoy.