Ogden, UT –
It's been more than a year since the Ogden School District's contract with the Ogden Education Association expired, and this year, the Board of Education decided to try something different. It sent letters to the district's teachers, telling them it was replacing the traditional salary structure, which provides additional pay for longevity, with a merit pay proposal -- although the details of that weren't specified. And it told the teachers they could sign the new deal individually by July 20th or their jobs would be declared "open for hire."
That ultimatum has been condemned as a repudiation of collective bargaining rights... and applauded by conservative legislators and others who say it's about time somebody shook up the system and moved toward paying teachers for performance. One educator who's been watching this with great interest is Steven Laing, the former state school superintendent. Laing is now on the education faculty of Utah State University. He spoke to KUER's Dan Bammes from his office in Logan.