Tomorrow kicks off the first House Education Committee meeting, which in my mind is a sure winner for highest drama-to-bill ratio. One such bill up for discussion tomorrow is HB81 (sponsored by voucher swiiiiiing-and-a-miss voter Brad Last) which proposes a task force to study a perennial right-wing silver-bullet favorite - merit pay for teachers (http://le.utah.gov/~2008/bills/hbillint/hb0081.htm).
The 19-member task force consists of 12 legislators, a governor’s designee, 2 state school board members, 2 local school board members, and 2 teachers. In the Compensation section, it states that the legislators on the task force will be paid full salary for their time - as if they were in special session - to the tune of $100 each per meeting. And what do these same legislators deem as appropriate compensation for the teachers and the school board members? How about $0?
Since all that is needed to pass official action is a quorum, four of the legislators can go home after a long day receiving lobbyists’ gifts and the remaining legislators – personally appointed by Greg Curtis and John Valentine – can still vote on whatever they want, completely ignoring any input from the teachers, school board members, and governor’s designee. Think - 8 legislators + 7 figureheads = guaranteed majority.
How about 8 "we're the good guys" legislators, 4 "you pick the label since it doesn't really matter" legislative figureheads, and the 7 aforementioned public ed figureheads? It doesn't really matter...you get the idea.
Hand-picked supermajority legislators’ time – A hundo each per meeting.
Figurehead teachers’ and school board members’ time - $0.
Getting your way, lining your pocket, and feeling superior at the same time all while under the guise of warm collaboration – Priceless.
This gives a whole new meaning to the phrase merit pay. It’s gonna’ be a great session!