The Our Schools Coalition held a "Teacher Quality Town Hall" at South Lake High School tonight. The turnout was good, about 70 people, many of whom were already members of the OSC. The food was good, it was from Maya's. The conversation and the structure were only fair.
Everyone was civil and courteous, as we typically are at these sorts of things. There were some quick presentations on what the OSC has done so far and then they got to the questions for small group discussion. There were eight groups and they had four groups tackle one question while the other four took on another. Then came the report out from the small groups. Then with did it again with another two questions and reported out again and then they closed it up.
There were a lot of people there to disagree with the OSC and what they were doing, but there really wasn't much opportunity for that. There was one thing that the OSC folks did that was irritating, paternalistic, and disrespectful. Everytime someone expressed disagreement with them, they kind of shook their heads and wistfully apologized that they hadn't educated those folks, or those folks didn't properly understand the issue, or they hadn't been clear enough for those folks to understand. No. That's not the case. The people who disagree with you have an excellent understanding of the issues; they just disagree with you. The OSC just isn't open to the idea that they might be wrong. That's not only arrogant, it's a little scary.
Oddly, the OSC's own material shows that they are wrong. They asked teachers what they needed and the teachers said autonomy, time, and professional respect. While the OSC proposals address the time concerns (time for planning and time for collaboration) they do not address the autonomy or professional respect issues at all. When they asked community members what they thought was important, the community's issues were (in descending order) evaluation, hiring/distribution of talen, advocacy, capacity, training and mentoring, and student growth. While the OSC proposals address four of those, they do not address advocacy or capacity. These represent serious oversights and reflect a failure to pay attention to the very people that you claim to regard.
The poll data is badly reported. They do not report the number of people who responded "don't know". For at least two of the questions that answer may have been the top one. It's unclear why they didn't report these numbers.
I think the Our Schools Coalition is aware that they do not have the public behind them. I don't think they have made any effort to get the public behind them. I don't think they really care if they have the public behind them because I think they know that the public doesn't matter. Honestly, I don't know how much they really believe that they will have ANY impact on the teacher contract negotiations.
I can't imagine that either of the parties to the negotiations give this flea circus any notice at all.