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Thompson: OKC Teachers Propose "Slimmed-Down" Contract

Aft The Oklahoma City AFT local has presented its reform blueprint in which the union calls for a new teacher evaluation system that may include student growth measures, teacher attendance and other factors, along with an expansion of the district’s peer-evaluation system.  The AFT local is offering to mend seniority, consider pay for performance, and help address hard-to-staff schools. As part of the deal, teachers also want a student behavior plan that is enforced, including alternative education settings for students who violate the plan, and behavior contracts for everyone, from teachers and students to school board members. They seek to use input from students, parents and teachers to remove poorly performing principals. The union proposes an independent hearing officer at termination proceedings. In essence, the local is offering a "slimmed-down" contract. Ed Allen, the AFT/OKC president, says that collective bargaining has traditionally been limited to certain topics, but he would like to see those limitations to the dialogue waved. This could be the most important proposal. I know and respect OKC's central office administrators as talented and sincere, and I would second Allen’s praise for the district’s superintendent. But the OKCPS, like other systems, is under continual pressure from all governmental levels to adopt one ideology-driven "silver bullet" after another. The single best representative of the students is their teachers. A primary responsibility of the union is to bring the professional judgments of educators to the planning process. -JT(@drjohnthompson) Image via. 


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