Sounds remarkably like us!
In his annual address to the national convention of the National Education Association, union president Dennis Van Roekel made some remarkable comments.
According to Education Week’s Teacher Beat Blog, Van Roekel said of the existing public education system and his union:
“We are part of that system—a system that has not successfully addressed the dropout crisis and allows kids who are poor to be stuck in schools that do not meet their needs—placed into classrooms year after year with the least qualified, least experienced teachers.
It’s not enough to say that most teachers are good. If there is even one classroom with a teacher who isn’t prepared or qualified, we can’t accept that.”
That sounds a WHOLE lot more like what we’ve been saying at the Bluegrass Institute than what we’ve been hearing from leaders of the Kentucky Education Association (KEA), the state-level affiliate of Mr. Van Roekel’s national organization.
In fact, the collective bargaining agreement of a major KEA local, the Jefferson County Teachers Association (JCTA), actually has interfered with getting highly qualified teachers into the lowest achieving schools in Louisville for years.
You can read about the JCTA’s interference with school staffing needs in Louisville in the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission’s Research Report # 377, “Analysis of Collective Bargaining Agreements in Kentucky Districts.”
In that report you’ll find pertinent comments about how the JCTA’s contract impacts staffing in Louisville’s low-performing schools starting on print page 33.
Beginning near the bottom of page 36 in the report, you can read specific details about how the JCTA contract collided with the need to place more experienced teachers into Louisville’s first group of six Persistently Low-Achieving Schools. That at least a partially derailed a worthwhile plan to finally address chronic problems in those schools.
Research Report 377 is reading a lot of people in Kentucky need to do. It’s reading that, just maybe, Mr. Van Roekel or one of his key advisors has already done.