Unionized reform

New Haven’s new teachers’ contract, lauded as a reform model, is “loaded with union giveaways that will hamper reform, not advance it,” argues the New York Post.

While the contract allows performance pay for teachers, the bonuses must be paid to the entire school, which puts less pressure on individual teachers to raise student scores, the Post complains.

New Haven is taking the baby step of allowing district schools to be converted into charter schools . . . (The contract) mandates unionization, guarantees no layoffs, preserves grievance procedures and keeps in place full transfer rights of staff.

. . . Even worse, the New Haven contract requires the approval of 75 percent of teachers in a school to opt out of the master contract’s work rules (66 percent in a failing school slated for “turnaround”). This means that a minority of teachers could block important changes such as a longer school year or school day. Plus, the contract includes a bizarre provision that allows the New Haven union to veto work-rule reforms even if 100 percent of the teachers in that school approve of them.

Awarding performance bonuses to an entire school’s staff encourages teamwork and makes it possible to reward teachers who teach untested subjects and support staff.  However, New Haven won’t have effective charters if the new schools have to employ teachers by seniority and can’t write their own work rules.

Rhode Island Commissioner Deborah Gist has told superintendents to eliminate seniority hiring when contracts come up for renewal this year.  The unions are not on board. Via Teacher Beat.

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