The new teachers contract includes additional pay and pretty draconian measures for schools that aren’t up to snuff. The Inquirer reports:
In schools targeted for the “Renaissance Program,” the entire staff can be forced to transfer out and only up to 50 percent rehired at the school by its new management. Teachers working in those schools, which are to be identified in the coming months, also will earn more money for working an hour more a day and possibly more days each year.
One of the topics I had planned to research more and write about in the coming weeks on this blog is the city’s antiquated hiring process even with the limited “site selection” process. I’m not going to get into it here, but it is a system that favors seniority over performance. I’m not sure, but it sounds like the new contract is doing away with this system, based on the Inquirer article.
The pact also expands school-based hiring of teachers by leadership teams. All vacancies in the district’s 90-plus lowest performing schools will be filled by leadership teams at those schools, rather than under the district’s existing seniority system.
Even if these new school-improvement provisions were coerced by the Obama Administrations “Race to the Top” and not initiated out of a big picture vision on the part of the district and the teacher’s union, I am happy with the precedent. It is definitely nice to see a contract negotiation that has such a prominent component targeted at improving the system, not just boosting the (admittedly low) salaries and benefits of teachers in the district.
I’m no expert on school reform, but it seems to me that this can only be good for the city schools. I eagerly await the more detailed analysis of the prospective impact of the contract that is sure to come in the coming weeks and months once the ink dries on this contract.
- Performance Bonuses Put Philadelphia Teacher Pact on Cutting Edge, Susan Snyder, Philadelphia Inquirer, 1/19/2010
- Discussion on the topic on PhiladelphiaSpeaks public bulletin board, including my contribution.
- More on the Obama administration’s Race to the Top Program
- Philadelphia Inquirer 1/22/2010 Editorial: Getting Rod of Bad Apples
- Video of Obama’s Speech on the Race to the Top initiative 7/24/2009
- Race to the Top, Contract Deadlines Converging, Dale Mezzacappa, Thenotebook.org 1/11/2010