Letters to the Editor

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TACOMA: What’s the status of teacher contract talks?

Letter by Sally Perkins, Tacoma on July 22, 2011 at 2:29 pm | 45 Comments »
July 22, 2011 4:56 pm

Vibrant Schools Tacoma Coalition, a new and growing community group, is pushing for Tacoma teachers’ contract provisions that help improve student learning and close the achievement gap.

Vibrant Schools is focusing on the teachers’ contract because it shapes policies that directly impact student learning. We have laid out a platform that our polling shows is supported by a majority of Tacoma residents. We urge the negotiating parties – Tacoma Public Schools and Tacoma Education Association – to listen to the community’s voice and adopt the platform. The platform and more information about Vibrant Schools can be found here.

We also urge the negotiating parties to be transparent about the process, which includes posting the bargaining framework, proposals and counterproposals on the district website, similar to what is being done in other local school districts, including Bellevue and Kent.

The community cannot be knowledgeable about the situation unless both parties provide regular updates. As of July 20, 2011, neither the district nor the union has provided updated information about the negotiations, beyond their very general initial “interest” statements, despite multiple requests.

On behalf of our students, we’d like to be very clear: School must start on time, with a contract designed to increase student achievement and close the achievement gap. It is past time for the district and the union to update the community on their progress and to tell us how they have utilized the concepts in the Vibrant Schools platform to set the stage for greater student progress.

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