The following is an op-ed by Heidi Bennett.
What happens in our classrooms and school matters — it’s one of the most critical components of our children’s lives. More often than not, the school day and our children’s education are determined by the teacher and principal contracts – known as the “Collective Bargaining Agreement” or CBA. About every three years, representatives of Seattle Public Schools sit down with representatives of the Seattle Education Association — the teachers’ union — to negotiate their contract.
The contract, also called the Collective Bargaining Agreement or CBA, determines a lot of things about children’s day-to-day education. During the CBA negotiations , the schools and the union decide class size, the length of the school day, how teachers are hired and evaluated, how families can best interact with their school community, and much more.
At the beginning of the last round of negotiations, a group of community members came together to add their views. Made up of Seattle Public School parents, local employers, community volunteers and taxpayers, the Our Schools Coalition works to express the community’s voice in teacher contract negotiations, to advocate for our children, and to support teachers as professionals.
Together, we were able to share our priorities to district and union leadership and with other parents and people in our community. In September of 2010, the union and schools both agreed to a groundbreaking agreement which included nearly all of our proposals, and for the first time, connected student achievement to teacher performance in its evaluation process.
As the current contract expires in August 2013, now is the time to get additional community feedback and find out what is important to you. Our goal is to increase the community voice at the next round of negotiations by expanding the feedback circle to include more parents, guardians, students, and community leaders on what their priorities are for this year’s contract.
Will you take just a few minutes to complete a short comment form by Sunday, October 28th? Please join this group of parents and community members who have come together to have a voice in the 2013 CBA. Your comments will help us develop a platform that supports the best teachers for our students. Add your voice by filling out this short comment form by Sunday, October 28th. Thank you very much.
Heidi Bennett is a parent and education advocate.
The Our Schools Coalition is made of Seattle Public School parents, local employers, community volunteers and taxpayers. Above all, we are passionate supporters of public education. Our diverse group of nearly 40 citywide organizations and community leaders united to express the community’s voice in teacher contract negotiations, to advocate for our children, and to support teachers as professionals. Learn more at www.ourschoolscoalition.org