The tentative contract agreement between the Newark Teachers Union and the school district, announced on Oct. 18, is a win for students, a win for teachers and a win for Newark, AFT president Randi Weingarten says.
The agreement “recognizes the quality of educators’ work, values their experience and training, ensures they have a say in decisions affecting teaching and learning in their schools, and makes teacher retention a priority by, among other things, adjusting salaries to allow teachers to earn more money earlier in their careers,” Weingarten says.
“It was forged through a collective bargaining process that allowed the district and the Newark Teachers Union to work through complex issues that required give and take on both sides. I commend both sides for their unwavering commitment to reaching this agreement. Throughout the process both sides maintained a steadfast focus on what Newark’s students and educators need to succeed. This collaborative approach will be critical as the agreement, once approved, is implemented.
“The tentative agreement reached in Newark is framed by the state’s new TEACH law that sets out how teachers will be evaluated. It demonstrates that collective bargaining is not only a vehicle for change, it is essential to reaching consensus on solutions that will improve teaching and learning.” Among the provisions:
Focusing the statutory evaluation process on continuous improvement in order to help all teachers improve their craft, instead of on drive by evaluations and snapshots that fail to offer educators effective and meaningful feedback and support.
Peer review and assistance for teachers to provide support and share ideas and best practices with other teachers.
Empowering teachers to come together to develop and implement changes that promote improvements at their individual schools.
Additional compensation to recruit and retain educators in high-need schools and subject areas.
Allowing teachers to earn more money early in their career by being paid more upfront for receiving approved advanced degrees.