Friday, May 14, 2010

Teacher union negotiations on longer school day not going so well

Globe story today -- Teachers union, Johnson reach stalemate on plan: Can’t agree on issue of longer school day The gist is that BPS proposed that their turnaround schools should get an extra hour of instruction. However, they won't pay teachers for that extra hour.

This comes on the heels of a Boston Foundation report saying that charter schools in Boston, on average, had at least 62 full school days more school time than the city's public schools. A Globe editorial says charter schools had an average of 8.2 hours of daily instruction compared with BPS' 6.1 hours.

In my opinion, BPS schools do have shorter school days than what I'd expect (roughly 8:30-2:30). My school day growing up was always 8:30-3:30. I'm not saying we accomplished a lot in that last hour. I remember feeling pretty spaced out by the end of the day, but it did leave time for things like a real recess and things that weren't on the test. Imagine that.


Anonymous said...

I'd rather be a problem solver than a problem identifier, but I read the same articles that you linked to and they caused me to have the same reactions again. Here goes:

My biggest frustration w/ the BTU (and unions in general) is that they fight for their members (as they are asked to), but often this is at the detriment to their "clients". In this case, the clients are the kids. The BTU has fought hard over any pay decisions that are driven by the teachers' merits. This isn't good for the kids, b/c the good teachers aren't rewarded for their good performance and the bad teachers don't leave. When layoffs occur, it's last-in, first-out, which is not best for the kids (b/c it should be the worst teachers are first to be let go). These kinds of environments make it so that talented people are not drawn to teaching in the first place, and also teaching in the BPS (over other jobs, still in the education field).

I agree that not only the school day, but also and the school year should be longer. How can I, as an individual, push for this? How, as a parent who will be sending his kid to K1 next year in a West Zone school, what can I do to affect change? How can I work to change the last-in, first-out policies that have removed a generation of young teachers over the past two years?

Why are many of the union's demands detrimental to the kids and how can we work to more win-win-win solutions?

SouthBostonParent said...


Great post. My wife and I are having the "move to the burbs for good schools" now. We also believe the BTU has not had a positive impact BPS...and they are forcing us to have this debate.

Hopefully this changes by the time our son is ready for K1!

On an unrelated note, it looks like all the good elementary schools are in the West Zone. You are fortunate!