In 2014, New York City and the United Federation of Teachers proposed a new teachers’ contract. We evaluated the new contract based on the the following principles: A strong and meaningful contract should (1) Be student-centered to ensure a positive impact on students’ learning and development; (2) Recognize teachers as professionals in recruitment, retention, compensation, and career development; (3) Allow teachers and schools the flexibility to be innovative and creative in the use of time, resources and instruction to ensure that they can be highly effective; and (4) Be written in a clear, concise manner so that all stakeholders can use it as a resource.
Overall, this contract receives a passing grade, and we think it takes small, yet important, steps in the right direction. However, the final contract missed many opportunities to significantly elevate the teaching profession and improve outcomes for students in New York City.
About the Teacher Action Team
Our team of 15 teachers met for eight weeks to review research on different facets of the New York City teachers’ contract. We considered evidence from different perspectives, looked at other contracts, held small and large group discussions, and spoke to experts in the field. We created our own set of principles that we believe a new contract should embody, as well as recommendations that address specific policy issues. From there, we compared the proposed contract to our vision, and graded the new contract based on our principles.