A growing number of education groups are insisting that a $23 billion bill intended to avert hundreds of thousands of teacher layoffs should include reform-minded stipulations and accountability requirements (see here, here and here).
The Keep Our Educators Working Act was recently introduced by the two congressional education committee chairmen, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Rep. George Miller, D-Calif. Some groups are arguing that the legislation should include changes to the teacher tenure process and fix a "loophole" that may allow states to backfill their budgets rather than hire or retain teachers. Harkin, however, last week rejected the idea of including teacher reform in the measure, saying that such policy efforts should be dealt with in a more "thoughtful" way in separate legislation. The heads of the two largest teachers unions, Randi Weingarten and Dennis Van Roekel, also dismissed the notion of including teacher reform in the bill.
Should the jobs bill be tied to reform? What will serve the best interest of kids, and why?