.

Menino: New Teacher Contract Reforms, But Not Enough

In a letter to the editor, Mayor Thomas Menino says the new contract between the School Department and the Boston Teachers Union erases old baggage without breaking the bank for taxpayers.

The following was submitted by Mayor Thomas Menino's Office:

Today, here in Boston and nationally there is a lot of conversation about teachers unions and contract negotiations – from political posturing to a strike in Chicago. I can imagine how difficult it is to separate the substance from the noise. I believe it becomes clear when you ask a parent and student how they feel about their school, how they feel about their teacher and how they feel about the quality of the education they are receiving. For the first time, under contract terms agreed to by the negotiating teams for the Boston Teachers Union and the Boston Public Schools, our teacher evaluation process will do just that. 

Some on the extremes will say the contract doesn’t give us much, we didn’t fight hard enough and we didn’t take it to the streets. I say this contract has cleared the road blocks we once had to evaluating out poor performing teachers, rid us of the bureaucracies that stifled principals from hiring the right teacher for the job and freed our system from the constraints of having to give further pay increases to those teachers who have been found to be unsatisfactory.  This contract does give us reform. 

And this contract removes old baggage without breaking the bank for the taxpayers. Negotiating a contract is not like starting with a blank slate.  There are decades of past deals and obtuse language that is outdated and in need of change. Getting these changes to the contract at a cost we can afford allows us to continue to invest in the other educational needs of students like technology and arts, sports and music.

I am proud of the contract we settled, and I anticipate its ratification by the union and its approval by the School Committee, but that doesn’t mean I am satisfied. This deal is not the end of reforming our schools, rather it is another step in reforming our entire educational system.  

 I am committed to continuing to fight for reforms benefitting our students in the State Legislature and in Congress. We still need more time and the flexibility to keep students in the classroom longer without it costing taxpayers a premium – and we will get it.

I will continue to fight for our students in Washington. We still need funding for more innovation in our classrooms – we can make that happen.

I will advocate for our students in our neighborhoods and among our many city partners. We still need more after schools opportunities that are tightly tailored to the school curriculum and tightly linked with classroom teachers – we can do that together. 

I will work with our students and their parents and their families.We still need more parents to be more involved in their children’s education – if we support them properly, they can do that.     

We must have more flexibility. We must have equality in our system, making all schools places where progress and change can happen. This we can accomplish through a package of reform, not just through one track or the other. That’s why the education reform law that passed in the legislature in 2010 was so important. That’s why our district-charter work is so crucial. That’s why more change in our own student assignment process will be essential. And that’s why I am not done pushing for new rules, new flexibilities, and new ways. In Boston, we realize that we have more in common as a society because public education is a bond we all share regardless of race, religion or culture, and that we all expect the very best of what it can and should provide.  I remain confident in our fight.

Thomas Menino
Mayor
City of Boston 

AM September 19, 2012 at 03:03 AM
I'm disappointed in Menino. Extra instructional time is not going to improve education. It has been done elsewhere, and the results did not improve student's performance. What we need to do is revamp all the teacher prep. programs,and require they only take the top 10-15 percent of students. Also, if you want to attract the best teachers, let them go to graduate school for free,and give them a stipend like doctors and lawyers currently receive. Second, we need to rid of standardized testing. Our school districts spend millions and millions of dollars a year,and they have provided the results the Pearson corporation promised. You get rid of these tests and there is your money to provide more programs that will enrich the education of our children. Finally, teachers need to band together and tell our politicians to stop gambling our students lives away. We may have to storm capital buildings and D.C., to demand a seat at the table when it comes to the policy that affects our ability to teach. I would recommend voting for people who have a progressive agenda(usually third party candidates) because Dems. and Repubs. seem to care more about themselves.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something