“And if the focus is student learning, who knows students better than their teachers and their principals? Decisions such as the amount of instructional time, interventions needed for students, professional development needed for teachers, amount of collaboration, length of school day — and even school year — are decisions best left to each school community”, stated the Lt. Governor in an article in the PDN dated June 22, 2012.
We absolutely agree with the Lt. Governor and we are glad he acknowledges the importance of teacher input. With that being said, the Teachers’ Contract is a vital document that will ensure good working conditions for our teachers. Ultimately, the working conditions of a teacher result in a learning environment for our children. We want to ensure our children have reasonable class sizes, learning resources for children, and time for our teachers to concentrate on teaching. All this can be protected in a binding contract, the Teachers’ Contract. GFT’s negotiation team is ready to get back to the table and start negotiating. It has been a difficult process working with the Board. Lt. Governor, like you, we are ready to empower school communities but through negotiations. We seek to encourage democracy to choose the best reform programs within our schools through a healthy dialogue, not dictatorship. With enough support from teachers, parents and even students, we hope to get this negotiation process going again. We ask that the Governor and Lt. Governor provide full support to our teachers in getting a contract in place by including this as a top priority with the Education Reform Task Force.