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September 19, 2012 at 5:45 PM

Coalition to lobby for more changes in teacher contract

A coalition formed two years ago to push for changes in the contract for Seattle’s public school teachers will be involved once again when negotiations for a new contract begin next year.

In 2010, Our Schools Coalition lobbied for changes in the way that teachers are supported, paid and evaluated.  For one, the coalition’s members wanted teachers to be evaluated in part on how well their students perform.  They also wanted the school district to be able to base any teacher layoffs on performance as well as on seniority.

The group, largely made up of community organizations, had no official role in the negotiations, but waged a public campaign to pressure the union to accept its ideas.  It was pleased with much of what ended up in the new contract, which does call for student performance to play a role in determining how well teachers do their jobs.

At a meeting Wednesday, coalition leaders said they are monitoring how well that contract is being put into place, and they are gearing up to influence the next contract.  Negotiations are expected to start sometime in the middle of 2013.

Some of what the group is considering promoting this time:  Linking teacher raises to effectiveness rather than just seniority and credentials.  Including student feedback in evaluations, as well as reviews from a teacher’s peers.  Giving principals the authority to select the teachers best suited for their schools.

“We are here because contracts matter,” said Sara Morris, president and CEO of the Alliance for Education, one of the coalition’s founding organizations.  “We are all stakeholders in this process.”

Comments | More in Education | Topics: education, Our Schools Coalition, Seattle Public Schools

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