Sunday, October 28, 2012

Guest Post by a Colleague: What We Won in the Strike

A colleague and friend at my school wrote this on her Facebook page. She is very, very smart.

We could call this another letter to my brother.
For those of you that have been asking... Here is what we won in the teacher strike (see below)! This is just an outline, so if you're curious, I can explain in more detail why these are such great things.

Overall, we need a system that makes teaching a sustainable career that can attract and retain highly qualified teachers in the urban environment. The system must also be set up in such a way that teachers have a chance at being successful with all of their students, despite the great obstacles that many students face (poverty, crime, drugs, gangs, etc.). These small victories in the contract help move towards these goals.

  • Better resources for students with special needs and better support for special education teachers 
  • More transparency for teachers in evaluation 
  • Fairer, more detailed and reliable systems for evaluations and ratings
  • Less emphasis on student test scores 
  • Greater due process protections for non-tenured teachers
  • Better opportunities for teachers to take care of themselves so that they can be the best teachers they can be
  • Paid family and maternity leave
  • Continuation of our current pay scale and salary schedule (instead of a misguided version of "merit pay")
  • More art, music, and PE teachers [for elementary students. Most elementary schools only have one of these three "specials." --mb]
  • More social workers and nurses if we get gambling money from the state (fingers and toes crossed!!!!)
  • Slightly more money for supplies (from $100 per teacher per year to $250 per teacher per year)
  • Textbooks must be available for distribution on the first day of school
  • Current class size protection language kept the same (the board wanted to eliminate limits on class sizes) and $500,000 put aside to hire new teachers in order to alleviate problems with large class sizes
  • $500,000 to hire new special education teachers to alleviate exceptionally high case loads for SpEd teachers