Teaching Profession

UPDATED: New Haven’s New Contract Shrouded in Secrecy

By Stephen Sawchuk — October 07, 2009 1 min read

New Haven, Conn., is said to be close to finalizing a collective bargaining pact ... but you’ll have to take teachers’ union and city officials’ word that it’s innovative, because the details won’t be released until teachers vote to approve the new contract.

According to the news story linked above, the agreement will align to officials’ goals to close achievement gaps in six years. Part of those goals included some discussion of increased teacher accountability based on student outcomes, and hiring flexibility, but there is no word yet as to whether any language in the contract supports those ideas.

It’s interesting to consider how few people typically know about teacher-contract negotiations until they are all but a done deal. In Washington D.C., contract negotiations have been subjected to what’s basically a black market in information-gathering. FOIA requests, leaks, blog discussions all point to a cry for more information from parents and students alike.

In D.C., this apparently involves teachers, some of whom wanted the “red-green” plan to go to a vote and others who claimed that the union and Chancellor Michelle Rhee were acting in concert and leaving out crucial details about the contract in presentations to rank-and-file teachers. (Fortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the case in New Haven.)

Will the increasing pressure to make educational decisonmaking transparent ultimately spill over to encompass labor-contract negotiations?

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.