Teaching Profession

UPDATED: Union Veto Power in Race to the Top Agreements?

By Stephen Sawchuk — December 17, 2009 1 min read

To follow my previous post on the MOUs that states are beginning to create for their Race to the Top applications, it’s quite interesting that some states are giving their teachers’ unions seemingly much more leverage over whether or not the district will actually participate.

Some states, like Colorado, are using the Education Department’s model MOU wholesale. (It is in the appendix of the application). That one makes no reference to collective bargaining at all.

Then there’s Massachusetts’ MOU, which adds this language:

Nothing in this MOU shall be construed to override any rights or duties as provided by collective bargaining law or collective bargaining agreements. The LEA and the local collective bargaining agent agree to negotiate in good faith, and those portions subject to collective bargaining shall be implemented only upon the agreement of the LEA and local collective bargaining agent."

That would in effect mean that a district wouldn’t, for instance, have to implement a teacher-effectiveness plan if the district and union reached impasse on pay or evaluation.

And finally we have , Kansas,’ which seems to grant unions veto power over the LEA plan:

The Local Teachers' Association official shall have 30 days following receipt of Exhibit II [the LEA plan] to review its contents and reserves to him/herself the unilateral right to terminate the MOU if the terms of Exhibit II are unacceptable."

Will the ED’s peer-reviewers take into account these small, but significant variations when scoring the plans? Good question.

UPDATED: I mistakenly wrote Kentucky above when I meant Kansas. Teacher Beat regrets the error.

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