NEA on the Adjunct Teacher Corps: Opposed
NEA is concerned about the creation of the Adjunct Teacher Corps because it fails to take into consideration the quality and support needed for all teachers and students to succeed in the classroom.
The program assumes that anyone with subject matter knowledge can be a good teacher. This is simply not true. Teachers need to know their subject matter, but this is not enough. It is equally important that they know how to best teach the subject matter to students. This requires the knowledge of pedagogy based on the best research into how students learn and the content-specific teaching methods shown to be most effective with all types of students. Given the fact that classrooms are more diverse than ever, a far greater level of pedagogical expertise is required to deliver challenging academic content successfully.
By exempting the adjunct teacher corps from the highly qualified definition, the program undercuts the goal of the No Child Left Behind Act to have a highly qualified teacher in every classroom. In addition, it places adjunct teachers in the highest need schools, the very schools that need the most highly qualified teachers.
- The program would allow—in addition to school districts—a public or private "educational organization or business" to recruit and train the adjunct teachers. This is the responsibility of the local education agency and should not be outsourced. Furthermore, there appear to be no provisions to ensure that private entities doing the recruiting and training do not discriminate in the manner in which they conduct these activities.
The program allows grant recipients to "reimburse outside entities for the costs associated with allowing an employee to serve as an adjunct teacher, except that these costs shall not exceed the total cost of salary and benefits for teachers with comparable experience or expertise in the local education agency." In collective bargaining states, this is a clear violation of state laws that specify that compensation is the first area covered by collective bargaining.
Finally, there are 14 states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia [certain local governments], Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Rhode Island [certain local governments], and Texas certain local governments]) affected by the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) of the Social Security Act. The WEP reduces the Social Security benefits of people who worked both as public employees in jobs not covered by Social Security and in jobs in which they earned Social Security benefits. For example, the WEP affects educators who do not earn Social Security from their jobs in the public schools, but who change careers, moving from a job in which they earn Social Security benefits (private sector jobs) to a teaching job in a state that is not covered by Social Security. The continued existence of the WEP serves as a disincentive for many mid-career professionals to leave successful private sector jobs to enter the classroom and would negatively impact many individuals moving from the private sector into teaching as part of the Teacher Adjunct Corps.
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