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The New in a 'New Unionism' Contract

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The New in a 'New Unionism' Contract

Many aspects of the new three-year teachers' contract in Montgomery County, Md., which about 75 percent of voting members approved, are aimed at creating a 'culture of continuous quality improvement." Among them:

Negotiations carried out using interest based bargaining and conflict-management training. Labor and management brainstorm solutions to issues of common concern. Result: For the first time in district's history, mediation unnecessary.

Establishes quality management councils at all 183 schools within three years. Councils have authority to set policy in such areas as instructional programs, hiring, and budget. Teachers elect representatives. If majority on committee disagree with principal, they can appeal to an external joint committee made up of union members and administrators.

Contract opens with explanation of importance of agreed-upon "core concepts" to school improvement: giving teachers authority over decisions affecting teaching and learning; providing continuous and rigorous professional development for teachers, and holding all staff members accountable for ensuring improvement in schools' quality.

Contract creates committees to examine teacher evaluation policies and to consider new peer review and -assistance programs that allow teachers to coach and evaluate each other.

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