Wednesday May 12, 2010 | 02:09 PM

Is the Maine Education Association warming at all to Maine's intentions to apply for Race to the Top money?

In a word, maybe.

The teachers' union has issued an updated list of frequently asked questions meant to advise local affiliates as they consider whether to sign onto the state's Race to the Top application. (Thanks to Brian Hubbell for posting this link.)

In response to a question asking if local teacher association presidents should sign onto the memorandums of understanding the Maine Department of Education is soliciting from school districts, the union responds, "maybe."

"If your local association is willing to commit to engage in the implementation of that draft work plan, then the MEA would recommend that your local association president consider signing the MOU," the advice document reads.

If a school district indicates plans, however, to link student achievement data to teachers' compensation, the MEA leadership says local union leaders should not sign onto the Race to the Top efforts.

In fact, the union -- which was granted a full copy of the Race to the Top application for review -- indicates it suggested that the Maine Department of Education take out portions of the Race to the Top application that referred to performance-based teacher compensation.

The advice document indicates the union is open to Maine's Race to the Top intentions, to an extent. That's a change from the union's earlier advice to local affiliates not to sign onto the Race application.

None of this will matter, of course, unless the MEA, Maine School Superintendents' Association, Maine School Boards Association, Maine Principals' Association and the Maine Administrators of Services for Children with Disabilities sign off on a teacher evaluation model that incorporates student achievement data.

Today is the groups' last day to do that, and the MEA appears to be endorsing a move to simply add a student achievement data component to an evaluation technique already in use in a number of Maine school districts: The Charlotte Danielson Framework for Teaching.

Stay tuned.

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