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20121029 Union Strength Delaware

20121029 Union Strength Delaware

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Published by lps2001

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Published by: lps2001 on Oct 31, 2012
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02/13/2014

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STRONGERWEAKER
1. RESOURCES  AND MEMBERSHIP OVERALL 2. INVOLVEMENT IN POLITICS  3. SCOPE OF BARGAINING 4. STATE POLICIES  5. PERCEIVEDINFLUENCE 
 AREA 1: RESOURCES AND MEMBERSHIP TIED FOR 9TH 
Delaware’s state teacher union benetsfrom reasonably strong resources from itsown members and sees substantial fundingfor K-12 education. Fully 90.1 percentof teachers in the First State are unionmembers, the 16th-highest unionizationrate among 51 jurisdictions. The NEA-afliated Delaware State EducationAssociation (DSEA) brings in $547annually per teacher in the state (18th).Spending on K-12 education in general,and specically on teacher salaries andbenets, is comparatively high in the state(see sidebar). Education accounts for 24percent of state expenditures (12th). Of the$11,905 that is spent per-pupil in the stateeach year (22nd), 56.5 percent goes towardteacher salaries and benets (11th).
 AREA 2: INVOLVEMENT IN POLITICS 
 2
TIED FOR 29TH 
Compared to teacher unions elsewhere,Delaware’s gave moderately to state politicsin the past ten years. Contributions fromthe union amounted to 0.32 percent (36th)of donations to candidates for state ofceand 0.55 percent (36th) of donations tostate political parties. Union representationat the Democratic and Republican nationalconventions was moderate as well, with 12percent of Delaware’s delegates identifyingas teacher union members (tying for 28th).
3
DELAWARE
OVERALL RANK: 19TH
1
 TIER 2 (STRONG)
19293691815
Overall Rank: 19th Tier 2 (Strong)
DELAWARE
 
 AREA 3: SCOPE OF BARGAINING15TH 
Delaware gives its teacher unions a fairamount of room to bargain. It requirescollective bargaining—one of thirty-two states that do so—and the scopeof bargained provisions is broad. Oftwenty-one items examined in this metric, just one is prohibited as a subject ofbargaining: transfer/teacher reassignment.Five provisions are required subjects ofbargaining, one is explicitly allowed, andfourteen are implicitly included becausethe state does not address them. Onlyone item—teacher transfers—may notbe bargained. Delaware lets its unionsautomatically collect agency fees fromteachers who are not union members (a keysource of union revenue), but it does notpermit teacher strikes.
 AREA 4: STATE POLICIE36TH 
Delaware policies are less aligned withtraditional union interests than are policiesin most other states. Student achievementdata must be the preponderant factor inteacher evaluations and taken into accountwhen granting tenure. Teachers are eligiblefor dismissal after multiple unsatisfactoryratings, and districts can decide on thecriteria for layoffs. Still, districts are notobligated to base layoff decisions onteacher performance (as opposed toseniority), and Delaware teachers aredismissed due to poor performance at alower rate than in all but one other state(Arkansas). While many state policiesencourage the expansion and autonomyof charter schools (positions typicallyopposed by unions), the state offersprospective school operators only limitedauthorizing options.
 AREA 5: PERCEIVED INFLUENCE 18TH 
Delaware stakeholders reported a strongerunion than most. They rank teacher unionsas the second- or third-most inuentialentity on education reform, alongside thebusiness roundtable/chamber of commerceand education advocacy organizations.They report that both Democrats andRepublicans often need teacher unionsupport to be elected; the former is similarto responses from other states, but inmost states, Republicans rarely need unionsupport. Delaware stakeholders note thateven given budgetary constraints, teacherunions are effective in protecting dollarsfor education and in warding off educationreform proposals with which they disagree(see sidebar). Interestingly, the union mayplay a role in changing legislators’ minds:Respondents report that policies proposedby the governor in the latest legislativesession were only somewhat aligned withunion priorities, but that enacted policieswere mostly in line with those priorities.
4
OVERALL19TH 
Delaware’s teacher union has substantialresources from its members and seeshigher spending on K-12 education thanin many other states. State laws give itample room to bargain and, while manyteacher-employment and charter policiesare not aligned with typical union positions,Delaware stakeholders report that it isactually quite inuential—perhaps due to itsreputation for collaboration (see sidebar).
Overall Rank: 19th Tier 2 (Strong)
DELAWARE
 
Delaware, “The First State,” was also rst to receive Race to the Top (RTTT) funds (about $119 million) in April 2010, in partdue to all of its local unions endorsing reform legislation.
5
The Delaware State Education Association (DSEA) had previouslycollaborated with politicians, philanthropists, business leaders, and advocacy groups on education reform, and the state’sRTTT application was no exception: Then-president Diane Donahue even co-presented Delaware’s application to the RTTT judgesalong with Governor Jack A. Markell. Markell lauded the team effort: “In Delaware, you don’t have to choose between consensusand bold [action]. In Delaware, you get both.” Donahue’s thoughts on the collaboration were more blunt: “We’re taking a risk…[but] I’d rather be at the table than on the menu.”
6
As a part of the application, the unions agreed to teacher evaluations thatinclude student-growth data, bonuses for highly-effective teachers who work in high-need schools, and decreased job securityfor ineffective and probationary teachers. But as of January 2012, the evaluations as originally designed are on hiatus. Thestate secretary of education announced that Delaware would not be using the value-added metric for teacher evaluations inthe upcoming school year due to insufcient test data and an unproven system. Instead, state ofcials and teachers woulddevelop measures based on data other than standardized tests. (Note that other states are implementing value-added teacherevaluations despite union objections that the systems are untested—see, for example, the District of Columbia, Colorado, andConnecticut.)
7
Other news in early 2012 made it clear that the unions are very much not “on the menu.” In a February statement to the statenance committee, the DSEA gave thanks for past salary increases, praised increases to education spending in the budget, andasked for another raise (which it got).
8,9
With bargaining rights, teacher employment policies, and dollars for education in thecrosshairs of legislatures across the country, the DSEA’s mode of collaboration appears to pay dividends.
THERE’S NO “I” IN “TEAM” 
Overall Rank: 19th Tier 2 (Strong)
DELAWARE

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