Teachers union: Yes to tying pay to student performance

WASHINGTON (AP) - The American Federation of Teachers says it supports President-elect Barack Obama's idea to tie pay raises in part to student performance.

In a speech at the National Press Club in Washington, the union's newly elected president said today there is a role for that approach. Randi Weingarten previously served as head of the New York teachers' union and, last year, negotiated a system with Mayor Michael Bloomberg in which school-wide bonuses are based on overall test scores in high-poverty schools. She says the system is working and if it's "collaborative and fair, teachers will embrace it."

Many teachers dislike the idea of tying pay to scores, and Obama drew boos when he's mentioned it at past union meetings.

In her speech, Weingarten did not address the thornier issue of whether individual teachers should have their pay raises tied to student performance, as opposed to school-wide bonuses.

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