Last week, as you have heard, the BTU walked out of our bargaining session when the district jumped the gun by going public with its school calendar change proposal before revealing that proposal formally to the BTU, as the agreed-upon bargaining rules require. Making matters worse, the department also announced it was going to selectively survey parents as to their preference on what calendar changes to propose. The district’s lack of remorse on twin breaches of negotiating protocol caused a sudden end to what would have been the third negotiating session. Six more sessions have been scheduled.
On the issue of surveying parents: On the one hand, either party can survey parents. In fact, the BTU consistently meets with parents, and did so formally on three occasions in the fall as we were putting together our negotiating package. On the other hand, we felt the department was being a little too cute deciding which item it selected for its potential survey.
Both sides have dozens of items in discussion, from inclusion language to the quality of bathroom cleanliness and from lessening class size to improving paraprofessional training. An argument can be made that any of these items have an equal or greater impact on parents and students than the school calendar, though the school calendar is itself important. The Boston Globe had a good report on the walkout and the issues surrounding it.
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This Friday we are re-directing our Sticker Campaign to help out our colleagues in Chicago, who are in the midst of a battle with their mayor and school chief. See an open letter to the 30,000+ CTU membership.
As part of a national day to support the CTU membership, we have printed a new sticker, which we sent out late last week to Building Representatives in each of our schools. Please wear these new stickers Friday, and send us a picture. We will let our Chicago colleagues know we are steadfast in our support of their fight for funding for public education and obtaining a fair and equitable contract.
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Finally, the Math Rocks event is shaping up to be a great event, and we find that we are looking for a few more test proctors and volunteers. Well over 200 outstanding math scholars will be competing from 40 plus schools. We need proctors, score keepers, and other people to help out. Retirees more than welcome! Please email Marimar if you can spend a few hours on Tuesday, April 5, from 9:30 to 12:30.