As you may recall, the school department and the BTU reached an agreement a few weeks ago not to use our respective electronic newsletters to spread misinformation about our negotiations. We want to settle the contract, and spreading inaccuracies only hurts that effort. We have kept to our end of the bargain. Only when provoked have we responded. Otherwise, we have kept our word. Either way, we report accurate information. We don’t “ and won’t “ publish incorrect information. We do not need to spread misinformation in order to make our case. That’s not true, apparently, with the school department. Consider yesterday’s BPS this Week sent out by the superintendent.
In yesterday’s BPS this week the district highlighted a new, but recycled, column from the Globe that appeared this past weekend. The column in the Globe rehashed 4 proposals that the authors insist be included in our contract. These are proposals that we “ presumably “ oppose.
However ill-informed the authors may be, they can write whatever they want. But the district leadership knows better, and by recycling the misleading piece and highlighting it, it shows an ignorance of what is transpiring at the bargaining table as well as a failure to keep its word. It’s almost as if the media arm of the school department doesn’t know what its own negotiating team is doing.
Here’s a small excerpt from the Globe piece the department highlighted in its introduction in BPS this Week:
“…Schools need greater control over teacher selection to better ensure a cohesive education team committed to the same school philosophy. More flexibility by schools in hiring teachers is an important factor in the success of Boston’s Pilot and Innovation schools and public charter schools. However, in this school year, 370 Boston teachers were part of an administrative process that placed them in schools with little or no involvement of the principal, based only on seniority and certification, not performance.” (bold added by school dept.)
The implication clearly is that the staffing issue is still unresolved and that it is still open for negotiations. Here’s a news flash: The staffing issue is settled. We have a signed agreement on this topic. Surely the district ought to know “ their negotiators signed off on the agreement as did we. When the authors of the Globe piece recycle this tired, designed-to-provoke proposal, they may not know any better. For the district to rehash and highlight it “ well, that shows arrogance and willful intent to mislead the school community.
The same goes for another point the piece in the Globe made on giving parents and students greater input into how schools operate. That, too, is 99% resolved, and there’s no need to mention it except to excite tensions and appear to show divisions where there are none.
On the other issues “ having a more effective performance evaluation and the extended school day “ we are working on both, and hope to reach a suitable agreement shortly. So naturally we have to ask ourselves why the school district would highlight a misleading advocacy piece in the Globe that is designed to put pressure on the BTU. The undeniable explanation “ even after an agreement to change its approach “ is that the department is often working at cross purposes within its various departments. That’s why the department has come under such duress from so many quarters.
The district has been sued in federal court for its failure to provide timely SPED services. The Federal DOJ is looking at the department for its failure to provide ELL instruction. The buses are still late. The mayor has promised that the district will reform the stude
nt assignment process in the next year. BLA is going to move. No “ wait a minute “ it is going to stay where it is. The Fifield is suddenly reopening after closing last year. And the BTU contract is still not settled. And so on.
Here’s our advice to the district: Let’s resolve our contract so we can work on all of the above. There’s a lot of work to do.