The state teachers’ union in Hawaii has approved a new contract that members overwhelmingly rejected earlier this year.
Hawaii State Teachers Association President Wil Okabe said the contract was ratified last month with two-thirds of the vote. Rejection of the contract would have authorized union leaders to call for a strike.
It’s not clear, though, whether the state will accept the union vote. Gov. Neil Abercrombie, a Democrat, had insisted January’s agreement is no longer valid and new negotiations are required.
Officials on both sides hope a new deal will prevent Hawaii from losing $75 million in a federal Race to the Top grant for educational improvement.
The U.S. Department of Education has warned that the money could be taken away if better progress isn’t made on promised changes, including using student performance when evaluating teachers and determining compensation. The evaluations have been a sticking point in the contract.
A version of this article appeared in the June 06, 2012 edition of Education Week as Hawaii Teachers’ Union Approves Contract