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Toledo Teachers' Union Reinstates Peer-Review Process

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The Toledo Federation of Teachers has resurrected the acclaimed peer-review process that assigned veteran teachers in the Ohio district to review the work of their colleagues.

The 3,000-member union had dropped the 14-year-old program, known as the Toledo Plan, in April amid a dispute with the school board. The union objected when the district gave principals extra pay for overseeing state proficiency tests. (See Education Week, May 31, 1995.)

The review program gained a new life last month under a 22-month contract extension the union negotiated with the 38,000-student district, said Su Yeager, a district spokeswoman. It will resume in the fall.

Before its abrupt cancellation, the groundbreaking plan had spread to other districts in Ohio and New York.

The union won praise for actively policing its own ranks instead of simply defending its members against criticism from administrators.

Cooperative Spirit

Under the program, "consulting" teachers freed from their teaching duties evaluated the performance of new teachers and also worked with experienced teachers who were not performing well.

Dal Lawrence, the president of the TFF, said last week that the negotiations with the district to extend the contract went smoothly, reflecting a collaborative atmosphere made possible by the departure of a contentious school board member.

"I didn't have any burning desire to continue [the peer-review] program when there was an adversarial relationship," Mr. Lawrence said.

With the extension to the three-year contract, Toledo teachers also won a 3.5 percent pay increase effective this month and a 2.5 percent increase that takes effect in 1997.

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