Walter Rhett

A New Contract for NYC Teachers

In Perlo on May 3, 2014 at 12:47 pm

Half full; half empty? The cynical and ever suspicious, the ideological and union bashers, the balance sheet tea readers, will paper the agreement with questions, assumptions, and bad faith to find fault in what is clearly a better deal for both the city and its teachers, esp. for its students with innovation, flexibility, and new options to help keep great teachers in classrooms built into the agreement.

New York was a leader in public education. Its schools modeled many around the country. After turf wars, power struggles, dysfunction on both sides (yes, the dreaded reserve room is feather bedding at its worst, but recall Bloomberg’s hire of the bureaucrat Joe Klein, followed by the disaster of Cathleen Black, waivered in and chased out) the contract directly addresses adult issues with real dialogue and doesn’t seem to be a ploy.

The gradual increases make sense. With strong real estate, construction, and retail markets, the city can absorb the increases with current taxes. It also sets a significant limit on new contracts for the city’s other labor units.

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The key is will this contract, after teachers worked without security for 5 years, lead to improvements in the quality of student learning? That’s its purpose. That’s its mission. 

Last year the Brooklyn school (Edward R. Murrow) with the long streak of chess championships had problems rising money for trips. Let’s hope the city finds a little money in its budget for its amazing students, providing them with the experiences that restore the proud traditions of New York public education.

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