On October 25, AFT President Randi Weingarten and Superintendent Carol Johnson, among others, will be speaking at The 2011 Expanding Learning Time Convening, a two-day conference at the Hynes dedicated to investigating “how more time, when used well, can lead to increased student achievement and a well-rounded education.”
It’s a great idea and should be a great conference, and we are proud of our schools that have stepped up and are working an extended day. We’re particularly proud of the fact that we had the first extended day agreement in Massachusettss at the Edwards, Umana, and the Timilty (later joined by Boston Arts Academy), all of which work their extended day under a collectively bargained agreement whereby the staff get compensated for their additional work.
The Superintendent, too, is proud of these schools and she has used the Edwards, in particular, on more than one occasion to tout the benefits of an extended day. In fact, the Superintendent has showcased the Edwards for Senator Kennedy and Governor Patrick, as well as others, who heard what marvelous outcomes were resulting from the joint collaboration at the Edwards.
That’s why we find it hypocritical for the Superintendent to maintain her current position at the bargaining table, 15 months into the process: that all staff, including those at the Edwards and other ELT schools, work an extended day without compensation. So, we will hold our own press conference with Randi Weingarten the same day the Superintendent speaks at this conference. We will highlight the benefits of an extended day while pointing out the department’s inconsistency at the negotiating table.
Simply, we agree that an extended day can be worthwhile — but we insist that that we be properly compensated as professionals for providing additional time in instruction. Other professionals we all deal with on a routine basis — accountants, lawyers, dentists, nurses, the IT professionals who work at the BTU, social workers, and so on — get compensated when they are asked to work overtime, take on an additional case, or fill a cavity in one more tooth. We are no different and we ought not to be treated any differently considering our own professional status. And the Superintendent ought to know that.