TFA's Western Front

The Boston Teachers Union offensive against Teach For America continues. Earlier this year, the union sent a letter to TFA essentially saying, "Thanks, but no thanks” for the twenty or so teachers in its first Boston corps. The teachers got hired anyway. Now, the union’s complaints have sparked a Division of Labor Relations investigation into whether the district’s agreement with TFA violates the BTU contract. Two provisions are at issue: The TFA contract guarantees corps members a job for two years (BTU new hires only get one) and if a TFA teacher is laid off, he or she is to be placed in a rehiring pool (BTU teachers do not have such a pool) presumably for the two years of the program. It seems that these stipulations simply mirror TFA’s two-year commitment, rather than being gross or underhanded attempts to circumvent the BTU; TFA has similar agreements with the many other cities in which it places teachers. What is clear, however, is that the union is not worried that a two-year commitment might keep subpar teachers in the classroom or a rehiring pool might privilege less effective teachers over more effective ones; no, they’re concerned about parity. BTU president Richard Stutsman confirms that the union would be fine with the “enhancements” if they were extended to all employees. Yeah, that’s what we thought. The district (and TFA) should fight this onslaught tooth and nail.

"Teachers union's objection bolstered," by James Vaznis, The Boston Globe, October 5, 2009

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