A spate of cases in recent years indicates that some judges are inclined to side with management on issues that support “the educational mission,” even if those issues go against language in teacher contracts.
Many of the new rules are laid out in a document called the Basic Education Program, which establishes the bare minimum schools must provide to students.
The state Department of Education rewrote the three-decades-old document to reflect current expectations and shortened it from several hundred pages to 45.
The new BEP took effect last July 1, but its impact will really be felt in this year’s local contract negotiations.
Gist has sought to clarify the ramifications of these new rules by sending out “guidance memos” to districts. No longer will seniority –– the long-held practice of seasoned teachers being allowed to “bump” newer colleagues out of their jobs –– be the sole factor in determining teacher assignments, Gist says.
The new BEP aims to ensure “that highly effective educators work with classrooms of students who have significant achievement gaps,” Gist wrote in an October 2009 memo. “In my view, no system that bases teacher assignment solely on seniority can comply with this regulation.”
In my view, neither does criterion-based hiring. Once we've got an evaluation system that shows that, I'll be happy to sign onto a lawsuit.