Today in Ogden, an estimated 400 people protested the Ogden School District’s decision to forgo collective bargaining in favor of a contract made on its own terms. You can see footage of the protest here, taken by Alexis Young, Sutherland’s multimedia reporter:
Notice the signs that read “Teachers Are Not The Problem.” We agree. The problem in Ogden is not the teachers. The problem, at least one of them, is that the teachers union as an organization has not been able to reach an agreement with the district for several years running and is now concerned about losing more power.
Teachers – individual teachers – should have the ability to form their own employment contract with the district, just like 90 percent or more of Utah workers currently do with their employers.
In other news, the California Board of Education unanimously approved new rules that “would allow a majority of parents or guardians at low-performing schools to petition school districts for major changes, from adding programs or converting to a charter school to shutting down the campus or firing the principal and half the staff.”
These new rules are a step in the right direction for schools in California. They allow parents to have more direct influence on the schools their children attend, which is one important aspect of the idea of Jefferson Charter Schools that Sutherland supports.
A mess of pottage
Finally, the U.S. House Education and the Workforce Committee approved a proposal that would give states and districts more flexibility in how they spend federal dollars under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
As Congress works to reauthorize ESEA, known to most of us as No Child Left Behind (NCLB), Utahns should keep in mind that while any increased flexibility with the federal law would be welcomed, Utah would be better off in the long run to opt out of NCLB.
In effect, with NCLB Utah has sold its schools for a mess of pottage.