The following is a statement from Richard Stutman, President of the Boston Teachers Union, regarding unveiled on Wednesday night.
The Boston Teachers Unions welcomes the proposal offered by Supt. Carol Johnson last evening. Her movement is a step in the right direction and we gladly accept her proposal to extend the school day for two hours with compensation, as we would have had she made the same offer 24 months ago, when we first began bargaining on a successor contract.
The contract language proposed by the superintendent has been in the collective bargaining agreement—without change—since September 1, 1986, and the Timilty Middle School in Roxbury has been operating under that agreement for the last 26 years. We welcome the opportunity to replicate the Timilty model.
While we support the superintendent's proposal without qualification, we need to point out that we offered a similar, cost-neutral plan to the school department’s negotiation team two days ago that would have nearly doubled the scope of the superintendent’s plan while keeping a clear focus on academic rigor.
With only six exceptions, each of the other 40 or so BPS schools that currently offer an extended school day keep their extended academic time to an hour or less. A majority of these 40 schools have the unilateral right to extend their school day well beyond an additional hour. Yet they have chosen not to do so. Their reasoning may vary, but many educational experts believe that adding an additional two hours of purely academic time goes too far. The BTU, therefore, had proposed that the district offer each school either an additional one hour of academic time or two hours of a combination of academic and enrichment services. The latter of which would be offered by lower-cost outside non-profit providers. The latter proposal also follows the model of the highly successful Edwards Middle School. Our proposal would have allowed the Superintendent to stretch her resources over a wider population of students without sacrificing academic rigor.
We gladly accept her proposal, though it is flawed, as a step forward, and we look forward to settling our contract as expeditiously as possible. We are seeking a contract that is good for students, affordable to the city, and fair to our members.