A Few Thoughts on Collaborative Conferencing

As teachers vote this week on collaborative conferencing, I wanted to share a few thoughts that we should keep in mind base upon my board experience.

Last year, the TN state legislature did away with the ability for teacher’s unions to bargain. It was replaced with collaborative conferencing which gives the teacher’s union a seat at the table but no ability to dictate the terms of teacher contract/benefits. We will listen but are under no commitment to act on it. For this to happen over 50% of our teacher’s have to vote in the affirmative for it.

As a practical matter, I have been able to observe the functioning of the MEA/SCEA and I can say these things without hesitation:

The MEA is interested in the MEA leadership and membership. Time and again, they allow the recycling of poor performing, seniority based teachers over high performing newer teachers. They are the main reason that the the TN Assembly passed laws last year removing collective bargaining and the state department developed the teacher evaluation rubrick and changed the tenure laws. Memphis is a case study in a heavy handed teachers union protecting bad teachers and board members protecting them. If you want to thank anyone for the new laws, it is them.

The SCEA has only been an association with no need to bargain in the past. However, as of late, it has become an organization struggling to find its place in this merged district. However, the SCEA like the MEA is interested in membership and relevance. Take for instance, John Aitken as superintendent. The SCEA supported board members who supported teachers unions but is against John Aitken becoming superintendent. But those who support John and opposed unions (like me) they turned their back. All the while the SCEA “supported” Mr. A for superintendent while trying to unseat those who supported him.

I am a firm believer that if you have a good superintendent and board, teachers and administrators will always have your ear. I understand that many of teachers believe that this representation will be good for them. Well, I can say that if you are a citizen of this county, that you have unfettered access to the ear of your elected representative. You do not need a talking figure head to talk on your behalf.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: