WASHINGTON (AP) — A teachers' union said it is open to President-elect Barack Obama's effort to tie pay raises to student performance.
Many teachers dislike the idea; Obama was booed when he mentioned it at union meetings in 2007 and again this year.
Yet Randi Weingarten, the newly elected president of the American Federation of Teachers, said Monday there is a role for teacher raises based on how students are learning.
"Of course there is," she said in a speech at the National Press Club.
She described the teacher pay system in New York City, where school-wide bonuses are based on overall test scores in high-poverty schools. Weingarten, as head of the New York teachers' union, negotiated the system last year with Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The new system is working, she said: Teachers already are getting bonuses for improving student achievement in 128 of 200 eligible schools.
"If an innovation is collaborative and fair, teachers will embrace it, and it will succeed," she said.