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Boston teachers agree to new contract linking test scores to raises

Mayor Thomas Menino speaks at a press conference announcing the tentative labor agreement. Carol Johnson, superintendent of Boston Public Schools, stands behind him. Richard Stutman, president of the Boston Teachers Union, stands on Johnson’s left. (Monica Brady-Myerov/WBUR)

From the Boston Globe:

The Boston Teachers Union and the School Department reached a tentative agreement early this morning on a new contract after 27 months of contentious negotiations, city and union officials said today.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino, flanked by leaders of the school system and the union at a City Hall news conference, said the agreement “will take our schools to new heights. Change is hard and often hard-fought,” Menino said.

The new agreement is expected to bring sweeping changes to the way the School Department evaluates the performance of its roughly 5,000 teachers by relying on the use of student test scores. Teachers with an overall rating of unsatisfactory will be unable to receive a pay raise and could face a more speedy termination than in previous years.

The city’s approximately 125 schools also will have greater flexibility to hire teachers transferring from another school.

Previously, schools for the most part could only interview the three teachers with the most seniority who applied for the position.

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Discussion and Debate on yesterday’s ‘Chicago teacher’ post

After posting my friend’s comments on the Chicago teaching strike here yesterday, I posted the link of that post to social site Reddit.com’s Education sub-section, hoping to spur some debate in our comments section from the engaged community there.

That didn’t happen, but there was a lively debate in their comments section, which I feel some of you may be interested in checking out.

http://www.reddit.com/r/education/comments/ztrf4/a_friend_who_is_a_chicago_teacher_posted_this_to/

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Thoughts from a Chicago teacher on strike

Chicago teachers on strike

Photo via the New Yorker

A friend of mine from my college days is a Chicago teacher, and she posted this to Facebook yesterday evening. There has been a lot of debate among my teacher friends on social media regarding this Chicago strike – let us know what you think on the situation in the comments if you’d like.

This TRUE post is for all my CPS teachers who need all the support they can get – my second year of teaching in a Chicago Public School (in one of the better neighborhoods) during the state exam, one of my 32 4th Graders was shaking and teary eyed during testing. I did what any caring teacher would do and reassured her that I was there if she needed to talk about something. Thankfully, even though I had limited resources and a very crowded classroom, I had built a relationship with each of my students, including this very upset little girl. Later that day she shared that she had been sexually abused the previous day. Her mother who worked two jobs was not home and one of her older brother’s friends took advantage of her. Instead of worrying about the state exam, I worried about my student. I got her help and we cried together. She probably got the lowest score in the school for all I know. Now, under the plan that is being proposed, I would be poorly evaluated for that decision. My overall rating would go down for not forcing that student to sit and “do her best” on the state tests.

For anyone who has had a moment in their life that was greatly changed for the better because of a teacher (which I’m sure had nothing to do with a state test) – help a teacher today and support them in their fight to help children. Don’t listen with an indifferent ear when people and the media bash teachers – be proactive and stand with them!

 

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NY Times: Confessions of a bad teacher

William Johnson, in his classroom

William Johnson, in one of his classrooms (Photo: Elisabeth Real for The New York Times)

From the New York Times:
I AM a special education teacher. My students have learning disabilities ranging from autism and attention-deficit disorder to cerebral palsy and emotional disturbances. I love these kids, but they can be a handful. Almost without exception, they struggle on standardized tests, frustrate their teachers and find it hard to connect with their peers. What’s more, these are high school students, so their disabilities are compounded by raging hormones and social pressure.

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