May 21, 2014

NYC teachers deliver report card on new contract as voting begins

Educators 4 Excellence – New York Awards a Passing Grade but Points to Many Missed Opportunities

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE*** 

Contact: Kerri Lyon

klyon@skdknick.com / 917-348-2191

May 19, 2014 (New York, NY) — When teachers graded their own contract, it passed but had significant room for improvement. After reviewing 13 components of the new contract, Educators 4 Excellence – New York, a teacher-led organization with 8,000 members in New York City, released a report card on the pact today. A team of 15 E4E members gave the contract an overall grade of C, releasing their rating and analysis as voting on the new nine-year deal begins this week. The teachers judged the contract on how well it prioritizes student learning and on its potential to elevate the teaching profession. The group of New York City teachers delivered high marks to the new provisions around professional development (A) and teacher evaluation (B+) but flunked the deal for failing to improve the due process system (D) and reduce the complexity of the contract itself (D+).  

“With a nine year contract, we had a chance to make great leaps forward towards elevating the teaching profession, but instead we have C-quality work,” said Jonathan Schleifer, Executive Director of E4E – New York. “Even so, we are pleased to see the inclusion of a more extensive career ladder, extra pay for teachers in hard-to-staff schools, and more meaningful professional development – all of which recognize the diverse contributions teachers make each day. Because of this, our Teacher Policy Team members awarded a passing grade, but are committed to continuing to advocate for the transformational changes they want to see.”

GRADEBOOK

Professional development: A

Giving teachers times to collaborate and learn

Teacher evaluation: B+

Creating an equitable and rigorous system that gives teachers support and feedback

Career ladders: B

Building a comprehensive pathway that allows teachers to grow professionally

Hard-to-staff schools and subjects: B

Recruiting and retaining great teachers where they’re needed most

Flexibility and innovation: B–

Enabling schools and teachers to innovate to support students

Absent Teacher Reserve: C+

Creating a financially sustainable system that supports teachers in finding permanent positions

Performance pay: C

Recruiting and retaining great teachers by rewarding excellence

Retroactive pay and base salary: C

Recognizing the hard work of educators

Clarity and brevity: D+

Crafting a contract that is accessible to all stakeholders

Due process: D+

Ensuring a fair, expeditious system for teachers accused of serious misconduct

Class size: D

Reducing class size where appropriate in order to maximize student achievement

Tenure: D

Making tenure a meaningful professional milestone

Pensions: F

Working towards a system that recruits and retains a new generation of workers

GPA: 2.1

Final grade: C

“There are many missed opportunities in this deal, but we're glad our union and district leaders used the contract to take small steps towards ensuring that teachers are treated as professionals here in New York City,” said Lena Cosentino, a member of the Policy Team. “What’s most important now is that teachers work to understand the new contract – by reading our Report Card, as well as other sources of information – and then make sure to vote. For teachers, this is essentially a once-in-a-decade chance to have our voices heard about our contract, and we need to take advantage of it,” said Cosentino, who is a science teacher at the College of Staten Island High School for International Studies.

To read the full report card, visit http://www.educators4excellence.org/nycontract.

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For far too long, education policy has been created without a critical voice at the table – the voice of classroom teachers. 

Educators 4 Excellence (E4E), a teacher-led organization, is changing this dynamic by placing the voices of teachers at the forefront of the conversations that shape our classrooms and careers. With a quickly growing national network of more than 12,000 educators united by the E4E Declaration of Teachers’ Principles and Beliefs, E4E teachers can learn about education policy and research, network at E4E’s event series with like-minded colleagues and important education policymakers, and take action by advocating for teacher-created policy recommendations that lift student achievement and the teaching profession. For more information, please visit www.educators4excellence.org.

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