If you are a great teacher who is helping increase student proficiency, AP test participation and graduation rates, and the state wants to recognize and honor your hard work with a $5,000 or $10,000 bonus, should a teachers union be able to step in and decline for you?
Because that’s what the National Education Association-New Mexico and the Albuquerque Teachers Federation appear to be planning to do.
This week, Gov. Susana Martinez signed off on a budget bill that provides for $5,000 and $10,000 bonuses for exemplary teachers in New Mexico. And while she used her line-item veto authority to strike the language giving teachers unions the ability to decide whether the school districts and charter schools they represent will participate, one union leader says her group might still be able to block the bonuses by invoking their collective bargaining rights under state law.
NEA-NM President Betty Patterson says “school employees can rest assured our local associations will use negotiations to locally determine whether their district will go forward with this wildly unpopular ‘merit pay’ program that undermines collaboration among school teams.”