A winner-take-all, take-no-prisoners mentality dominates the current contract negotiations with the Tacoma School District and its teachers. Unfortunately, animosity and gridlock occur when at least one party has a “take-it-or-leave-it” attitude.
Both the district and the Tacoma Education Association agree that the sticking point is the language regarding displacement/involuntary transfer. This is the divisive issue, not teacher pay or class size.
The district wants to make significant changes in how teachers are evaluated, displaced and reassigned. TEA has offered counter proposals, but up to this point the district has refused to look at them.
Perhaps Superintendent Art Jarvis and the elected members of the Tacoma School Board should consider compromising. If their true intentions are to increase student achievement by getting rid of poorly performing teachers, I suggest they look to see what has been effective in other school districts.
Obviously, this is hardly a problem unique to Tacoma. Instead of using the court system to intimidate and bully their teachers into going back to work, I believe time and taxpayer money would be better spent if the district and TEA worked collaboratively to find a solution that both parties can agree to.
It is the grown-up thing to do. Our schoolchildren deserve no less.