Friday, November 23, 2007

Contracts: Meh!

Sometimes it really does pay to read the whole article.

The Wednesday edition of the Yakima Herald had this article that talked about the top legislative priorities for area superintendents in the coming legislative session. The three they decided to focus on:

*Students who have not met state standards in reading and writing from the class of 2008, 2009 and 2010 may graduate from high school without an Certificate of Academic Achievement or a Certificate of Individual Achievement. Similar to the requirement for those who have not met the math standard, additional coursework in reading and writing would be required.

* Provide resources to extend student-teacher contact time for high-poverty schools and schools serving high numbers of students whose primary language is not English, who are known as English language learners.

* Initiate legislation to require cultural competence and language acquisition training for all new certified teachers in the state.
Well and good. It's the piece later on in the article that raises an eyebrow:

The superintendents also did not move forward with their proposal to grant some schools with override authority of negotiated teacher contracts because it was deemed too controversial and not feasible at this time.

Several Yakima teachers spoke out against this specific recommendation during a Tuesday night board meeting where Soria presented the final recommendations.

"How does this help students?" asked Aaron McCausland, a science teacher at Davis High School.
Administrators grumble about the contracts with the teachers. It's just the way of the world, a death and taxes sort of thing. Administrators getting together and developing a plan to get around the contract, a plan that they considered taking to the legislature? That's interesting. Interesting indeed.

Consider, too, that Yakima county was the worst in the state when it came to passing the Simple Majority, only slightly better than Garfield County which is 1/45th its size. There's obviously a lot of animosity in Yakima County towards the schools; are the superintendents trying to deflect that onto the unions?

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