Teachers Union vs. Boston: Who's Right?

Both sides agree to new rules that weaken seniority, but the union wants a better notification system for underperforming teachers. The city says the union wants to keep failing teachers in the system. Who's right?

The long, hard negotiation between the Boston teachers Union and city just got uglier, with the union against the city and the city appealing to the state to break the impasse at the bargaining table.

At issue are the details surrounding a controversial new measure that . Both sides agreed to the new rules, which diminish seniority in favor of performance standards. But the union believes the rules must come with some system to help struggling teachers.

“The school department wants to have a simplified process, without giving people notification when they are not doing as well as they should. What we are looking for is timely and constructive feedback, time to improve and notification of the rating evaluation cycle,” said Union President Richard Stutman, according to WBUR.

Boston officials balk at that plan, saying the union simply wants to delay the school system from firing bad teachers. 

What do you think? Is the union stonewalling to protect its long-time members, or does the city owe veteran teachers more time to improve before they're fired? Tell us in the comments below.

[Editor's Note: This story is posted on all Boston Patch sites.]

Liz O'Connor August 30, 2012 at 12:50 PM
The raison d'etre for schools is to educate our youth. All should follow from that simple statement, informed by a basic sense of decency and commitment to treating our hard-working teachers with the respect and fairness they deserve - and often are denied. That said, protecting jobs for under-performing teachers at the expense of school leaders' ability to transform their institutions goes beyond the requirements of decency and fairness, and my guess is that most teachers would agree - who wants colleagues who are dragging down the school's progress?
Jerry O'Connor August 30, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Anyone unfortunate enough to face the task of educating that unkempt ruffian appearing in your profile picture certainly deserves the gratitude of our entire community. But can you please provide an example of a hard-working teacher being denied fairness and respect? Thank you.
Rick August 30, 2012 at 07:09 PM
THINGS AREN'T ALWAYS THAT STRAIGHT FORWARD. If you checked historical data, there was a time when school administrators had the power they were looking for and it was abused , which is why teachers unions came about. Then the pendulum swung in the other direction as teachers unions gained more power. What this tells us is that there should be a middle ground because the kids hurt in BOTH situations. There should be a system to help teachers who may be struggling but not an excessive system. Remember, yes there are teachers that make bad decisions in the classroom BUT there will also be administrators that make bad decisions that affect the whole school. So a system allows us to tweak as we go along because right now no one has the solution and the means to solve the educational problem that we have. Whose fault is it when rules and regulations change with the political winds? Whose fault is it when a budget decreases? Whose fault is it when there aren't enough educational supplies for the classroom? We cant blame one person and this is the reason why we cant put absolute power all in one place.


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