Reporting on a merit pay plan for public school teachers in Houston, ABC’s Gigi Stone left out one detractor’s status as a labor union activist.
“Texas is engaged in a massive $300-million experiment to find out whether big bonuses can produce big gains in student achievement,” Stone explained, noting that teachers can receive bonuses if students improve on standardized tests under their instruction.
Stone included a teacher who favors merit pay, but later added that other “teachers in Houston caution merit pay puts too much emphasis on test scores.” A clip of history teacher Andrew Dewey followed, as he charged that “it makes the teachers forget the curriculum” and forsake high standards in order to focus intensely on passing standardized tests.
Although just seconds earlier Stone told viewers that “the country’s powerful teachers’ unions oppose merit pay” because “they want to raise salaries across the board,” Stone neglected to mention that Dewey currently serves as vice-president of the Houston Federation of Teachers (HFT), a local affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and a member of the AFL-CIO.
Dewey’s colleague and HFT president Gayle Fallon was quoted in a January 13 New York Times story on merit pay. Fallon “condemned the program as misguided” and “called for across-the-board raises” for Houston teachers.
“You can learn more from both sides in the debate over merit pay and weigh in yourself at ABCNews.com,” anchor Charles Gibson informed his audience following Stone’s report.