(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) – The Bluegrass Institute will be watching closely to see whether a new collective bargaining agreement between the Jefferson County Public Schools and its teachers’ union reinforces the failure that’s left thousands of low-income, minority and special-needs children behind for decades, or whether there will be substantive changes in the contract that result in offering the kind of financial incentives that put students first by getting the most-experienced teachers into the classrooms and schools where they’re most needed.
“Business as usual will mean failure as usual in JCPS,” Bluegrass Institute president and CEO Jim Waters said. “For too long, the wishes of manipulative union bosses, overpaid bureaucrats and enabling politicians have taken precedence over the urgent need to close academic achievement gaps and ensure every student in Kentucky’s largest school district is prepared for a successful future.”
Changes also must be made regarding the makeup of the Educator Quality Oversight Committee, the group charged with designing and implementing incentive packages in the contract.
Currently, this committee is comprised of an equal number of union representatives and administrators who are required to reach consensus.
“The makeup of and restrictions on this committee ensure needed incentives never happen,” Waters said. “Just because the union bosses say there ‘can’ be incentives does not mean (a) they want them or (b) they ever will happen in meaningful ways.”
Any contract that fails to get the union out of the day-to-day management of Jefferson County schools and ensure the safety, education and well-being of our children is unacceptable, he said.
“We’re hopeful that chairwoman Diane Porter and her fellow board members will dismiss the pressure felt by the intimidation of the union and finally elevate the needs of JCPS students above the games played by union apologizers for failure,” Waters said. “Thousands of poor minority children in JCPS are depending on these board members not to fail them.”
The Bluegrass Institute is Kentucky’s first and only free-market think tank.