There is an interesting story developing in Los Angeles. Changes may be made to allow more school autonomy from the school district and limit teachers’ unions:
The agreement, tentative until union members vote on it, doesn’t resolve key contract disputes, including whether teacher evaluations should include students’ standardized test scores, a provision L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy is seeking. And teachers will continue to work under the terms of the larger labor contract that expired July 1.
But the agreement, negotiated over the last couple of months, does provide for significant changes at local campuses that were championed for years by teachers union leaders. Schools would be able to choose their own teaching materials, schedules and campus rules. They could hire teachers and other staff of their choice. If they wanted to diverge from policies of L.A. Unified, officials could not say no, provided that all laws and legal requirements are honored.
But this local control also would limit union authority. If staffers at a school wanted to void portions of the thick union contract, United Teachers Los Angeles could not stop them.
“I think of this very much as unleashing the power of the professional,” Deasy said during a school board meeting. Teams of teachers, he said, are “uniquely qualified” to drive improvement at schools “better than the system writ large.”
One drawback and a question – this basically weakens the Public School Choice policy implemented in 2009. This allowed charter schools and other organizations to take over a failing school.
It was a policy that had some teeth, and I’d hate to see that go. The question I have is where is the influence and power of the parent? The Public School Choice policy seemed to empower more parents than what this agreement will do it certainly seems like this will be a mixed bag – if the teachers’ union even agrees to this (which I doubt).