One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

I'm happy to report that, on Friday, the District agreed to remove the "Component 4G" from all educator evaluations

As we described in the last issue of the Advocate, the District unilaterally added "Component 4G" to the evaluation rubric to assess the educator's progress on meeting student learning goals in direct violation of the PAT/PPS contract. The evaluation rubric can only be changed by mutual agreement, according to our contract. "Component 4G" should be removed from all professional educators' evaluations this year, and moving forward. Please make sure to check your evaluation after Spring break to ensure that it has been removed. 

Sadly, as soon as we solve one problem with the District, something even more serious seems to come up. Next month we are scheduled to go to arbitration about the District giving contracts to temporary teachers that not only violates the PAT/PPS contract, but we believe also violates state law. These contracts state that temporary educators can be terminated at will without any due process. If they can deny due process and just cause to temporary teachers, it's possible for them to do that to the rest of us. Remember, an injury to one is an injury to all!

Another issue we have been working on is the District giving letters to new employees with the intent to hire.  While we support the District making hiring decisions earlier and using letters of intent to do so, the District still needs to follow our internal and external hiring process. Internal professional educators should be considered for posted positions for which they are qualified, before external candidates.  To be clear, we support the idea of giving applicants letters of intent, but do not believe that external candidates should be able to have more hiring/transfer rights than our current educators.

This year, at the urging of our new school board, we've been trying out a more collaborative approach to negotiations to address the serious student safety and discipline problems in PPS. The process, known as interest-based bargaining (IBB), has yielded some forward progress. But as the District knows all too well, IBB only works when operating on a foundation of trust.

Unilaterally changing the teacher evaluation rubric, violating due process and just cause, and giving external candidates more rights than current educators is no way to inspire trust. Quite the opposite -- it makes me wonder how we can productively move forward.  One step forward, two steps back leaves us further and further behind.

In Solidarity,

Gwen Sullivan