Research has shown that when teachers collaborate, their practice changes, and student learning improves. But when the superintendent of Florida’s Palm Beach County district mandated that all teachers spend 90 minutes a week in group meetings, he received an onslaught of complaints from the teachers’ union. Union officials said the requirement took away from teachers’ planning time, according to the Palm Beach Post. They threatened to file a federal unfair-labor-practice complaint.
After about a week, Superintendent Robert Avossa dropped the plan, calling the opposing teachers “isolationists” and “divisive.”
Teachers and union officials took issue with Avossa’s characterization of teachers as being opposed to collaboration. They said teachers already work together and want to collaborate more, but not by a bureaucratic decree.
A version of this article appeared in the August 31, 2016 edition of Education Week as Florida Teachers Push Back On Mandated Collaboration