Today’s lesson: Teachers’ unions and administrators work together to improve schools

 style=It’s that time of year again. Children will soon line the streets with their shiny new lunchboxes, waiting for the bus to arrive. As you see your child off to school this year, remember the foundation of a solid education—teachers. A report from the American Rights at Work Education Fund highlights the positive impact labor-management partnerships are having in our nation’s classrooms—and underscores the role collective bargaining plays in improving student achievement.

The report, “Partnerships in Education: How Labor-Management Collaboration Is Transforming Public Schools,” available here, features teachers represented by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA), and administrations that are transforming schools in communities from coast to coast.

One of the schools showcased in the report, Pharis F. Fedde Middle School in Los Angeles is a telling example of the ways labor-management partnerships build better schools. Together, the school’s administration and teachers devised a strategic plan establishing goals in the areas of student performance, parental involvement, community partnership, professional development, and facility modernization. The partnership played an instrumental role in increasing the school’s Academic Progress Index, a composite measure of school performance. “The challenges that a school faces are easier to resolve when everyone is working together,” says Laura Rico, president of the ABC Federation of Teachers, which represents the school’s teachers.       

The report highlights a number of similar success stories from across the country. Labor-management partnerships have led to higher graduation rates in Ohio’s Columbus City School District, extra funding for lower-performing schools like John Muir Elementary in California, and an improved curriculum at Pittsburgh’s Taylor Allderdice High School. These labor-management partnerships are evidence of how collaboration between teachers and administration can benefit students and their communities.

Unfortunately, in cash-strapped states across the country, the collective bargaining rights that make collaborative partnerships possible are under attack. And as we learned in Wisconsin, those attacks have much more to do with political payback for corporate donors than balancing an already fragile budget.

But it’s not just teachers and public employees on the line. As our executive director, Kimberly Freeman Brown, put it, “The schools lifted up in this report make it clear that revoking collective bargaining rights isn’t just the wrong way to address budget deficits—it’s also a threat to the quality of our schools.”

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This entry was posted on Thursday, August 18th, 2011 at 11:56 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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