New Haven contract isn't a model

New Haven’s widely praised new teacher contract isn’t all that great, editorializes the Washington Post.

The editorial cites Thomas W. Carroll, president of the Foundation for Education Reform and Accountability, who  complained in the Huffington Post that the “contract preserves tenure, prevents good teachers from getting paid more than bad teachers, lets a minority of teachers block work rules to allow innovative programs and makes no commitments to close any specific bad schools.”

Instead of the “uncharted waters” and “new territory” proclaimed by (Education Secretary Arne) Duncan, New Haven is pretty much business as usual.

The Post suggests the real leader in teacher contract reform is D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, who is fighting “the stranglehold of seniority” and trying to reward the best teachers.

About Joanne


  1. DC chancellor has worked really hard at “getting rid of the bad” but has done nothing present a solution that is positive, corrective and sustainable. She has no real track record of success, yet she is hailed as a great reformer.

    Meanwhile, there are many schools that have implemented a PLC model and rather than simply replacing teachers, they have pushed toward accountability, cooperation and teacher training. I’ll take the PLC approach above a loud reformer any day.

  2. Roger Sweeny says:

    Professional Learning Community?

    I’ve seen the words but don’t know exactly what the “approach” consists of–and how it differs from talking to and respecting your co-workers.

  3. Here ya go, Roger:

    “The term professional learning community describes a collegial group of administrators and school staff who are united in their commitment to student learning. They share a vision, work and learn collaboratively, visit and review other classrooms, and participate in decision making (Hord, 1997b). The benefits to the staff and students include a reduced isolation of teachers, better informed and committed teachers, and academic gains for students. Hord (1997b) notes, “As an organizational arrangement, the professional learning community is seen as a powerful staff-development approach and a potent strategy for school change and improvement.”

    Or more succinctly, edu-crap.

    The organizational equivalent of gilding a horse dropping – from a distance it might present an unusual perhaps even attractive appearance but once you get close enough the true identity is unmistakable.

  4. Roger: it involves actually collaborating with your co-workers — watching each other teach, developing and tweaking curriculum together; when admin is involved, policies can be experimented with. We have PLCs (but not PLCs TM — nothing works when forced — we’d not be a study group since we’ve adapted to model to suit us), and, despite some drawbacks, have seen big gains in both behavior and achievement. I think elementary teachers work together far better than secondary teachers, so it has been a good thing for us.