A contract that puts 'children and teachers first'
By George Parker
The tentative contract agreement reached between the Washington Teachers Union and the D.C. Public Schools should be celebrated as the start of something exciting for our students and teachers, not simply the end of a turbulent period [“Fenty, teachers union promote deal,” Metro, April 8]. While there has been much coverage of the financial terms, important provisions that will prove invaluable to raising student achievement have received little media attention.
Once the contract is ratified by WTU members and approved by the D.C. Council, teachers will get the tools, resources, quality professional development, and safe and orderly learning environments they need to ensure high-level learning. Teachers will have a greater voice in shaping the reform agenda; safeguards will protect them against arbitrary and capricious acts by those in authority; and there will be new checks and balances on staffing decisions, to ensure that these decisions are based on performance and not on a teacher’s relationship with his or her principal.
This agreement provides more opportunities for input and involvement by teachers and parents in decision-making. It is also a triumph for collective bargaining, because labor and management worked through their differences together and used negotiations as the vehicle to improve teaching and learning. This contract puts children and teachers first, not the chancellor or the union, and it should become the foundation for a new path toward improving student achievement across DCPS.
The writer is president of the Washington Teachers Union.
| April 14, 2010; 5:00 AM ET
Categories: D.C., HotTopic, schools | Tags: D.C. teachers contract, George Parker, Michelle Rhee, Washington Teachers Union
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