The negotiation committee is now down to a more manageable 50. However, from my view in the classroom I am suspicious if the negotiators will really reflect the concerns of the classroom teacher or be controlled by Randi and her non-teaching educrats. Only time will tell. However, here is what's important to the classroom teacher.
Since DC37 has already set the pattern for the first 18-20 months with a 6% raise with no givebacks. The question is how much more money can we obtain? The coalition thinks they can get 7% for the next 14 months is probably wishful thinking. More likely it will range from 3-4%, without givebacks. This would give us a total raise of about 10% (compounded). This would be below the "cost of living" and well below the salaries of the suburbs.
Rather than go into detail here please read my previous blog on October 27Th. At a minimum, we should at least takeback the five priority items I listed there. Failure to obtain "takebacks" in the contract negotiations should result in a mass resignation of the negotiators and the union should not even attempt to bring it to the "rank and file" for a vote. Let DOE try to bring their list of "givebacks" to the table (like they won't anyway). If we refuse to go to PERB the DOE "givebacks" are a non-issue.
School Year Limitations:
Many of the suburbs limit the school year to 183 days and have three of those days as snow days. If all three are not used, they are used as an extended Memorial Day weekend holiday. Presently, thanks to Randi and her friends at DOE we have a 190 day school year, the most ever, and of course no snow days!
Teacher-Directed Classroom Activities:
Using the extra time negotiated in the previous two contracts into a teacher-directed activity, be it tutoring, clubs, or counseling. Further, let teachers teach the way that is best suited for both the teacher and the students. No more micromanagement and "one-size-fit-all" curriculum dictated from the DOE.
Safety & Security:
Tough and fair student discipline codes and penalties when administrators fail to take action. Furthermore, a narrowing of the Corporal Punishment regulations by eliminating the statement "and any other action as determined by the administrator".
Retention rather than Recruitment:
The previous contracts and revisions have focused on recruiting teachers rather than the retention of the existing teachers. This contract should be giving the largest raises to the 5-20 year teacher at the expense of the new teachers. "Eating our young"? Yes, if it means retaining the quality teachers we most desperately need in the system.
Increase in Per Session Pay:
The rate of per session pay should equal the pay of the ten-year teacher not the new teacher. The City has been getting away cheaply by giving inadequate per session pay. This needs to be addressed and changed.
Under no circumstances should we agree to send the contract to PERB. Our experience with PERB is an unhappy one and we already know what the wage pattern is, so what is the advantage? None!
In conclusion, remember the classroom teacher is the bulk of the union, please try not to screw them again as you navigate your way through the negotiations. No contract is better than a bad contract.