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Monday, January 30, 2012

Creative Approach MOU Put on Hold

The Creative Approach MOU has been postponed from the Board agenda for this Wednesday's meeting.

It seems that the Board may have read the whole thing and realized that it was beyond tweaking and needs some serious thought. 

Additionally, it seems like teachers and parents really have not heard/understood this issue and they really should as it could radically change some schools.  I know that parents are busy and often can only devote attention to their own schools and miss these issues and then wonder what happened. 

I appreciate the School Board wanting to get this right to benefit all the parties involved. 

Good call on their part.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Here is the SEA leadership's version of engagement, being open, being inclusive, democracy ...

Thursday, Dec. 8

An email to SEA building representative containing the first mention of the MOU. The MOU is to be voted on at the Monday 12 Dec. Representative Assembly (RA). The MOU doesn't exist !!

Monday, Dec. 12

The non-existent MOU is tabled or something-ed, so that it will be voted on at the next RA in Jan.

Tuesday, Jan. 10

Here is an email with the MOU for Seattle Education Association members to READ! I exist, therefore I am.

Monday, Jan. 24

At a packed SEA meeting with all kinds of people who never show up, the MOU is overwhelmingly approved.

I've heard for years of the Mushroom Theory Of Management - Keep 'Em in The Dark and Feed Them Crap - since that is how mushrooms are grown.

SEAShroomCaucus

Mycelium said...

SEAShroomCaucus...you have nailed it. This was a stealth operation whose promoters intended to keep us "shrooms" on the dark. The Board has seen through the B*...I mean growing medium. This fungal (SEA) culture needs to see some daylight.

Signed...Mycelium Squad...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mycelium

anonymous said...

Process, process, process, and meanwhile, hello charters!

Gofigure?

anonymous said...

Well of course it's been put on hold. This is Seattle after all.

IheartSPS

Anonymous said...

What does this tell you about the SEA leadership, also known as the Enfield fan club?

Mr. Ed

Anonymous said...

We voted to table it in December until we had the documents and time to discuss it. We tabled it against leadership's advice. In fact, Olga almost ranted us to death about it and Jonathan was beside himself. But we voted (including me) to table it.

I passed out the memorandum to staff; I read it. We talked about it My AR partner and I sat at a table with other ARs who show up all the time and had an active discussion. In the end, everyone at our table except for one person (6-1) voted for it.

You can't change the facts even if it doesn't go your way.

I am glad that it is being vetted again. No harm in that. More vetting is always better. But the idea is still there and viable and probably will pass. It does need to be tight.

I posted after the last board meeting that Jonathan was the only voice among three (Thompson, Brockman and Knapp) that guaranteed it to be airtight and ready. I expressed my concern over that proclamation especially when Thompson and Brockman were rather quiet. Less bravado on Jonathan's part would serve us better.

More than tweaking? Maybe. I don't know until I hear more. Any tweaking at all would put it on hold until the language is right.

n....

Anonymous said...

I have been a long time reader of this blog. I consider myself quite well educated on these issues being both a teacher and a parent in this district.

Lately I find many of the comments being extreme and always looking for the worse possible meaning behind anything. As a result, I'm worried that little will change with both "sides" being so extreme.

As an educator, we are trained to weather the storm in ideologies. I think I'll take a time out and wait this one out.

Regarding the MOU and creative approach schools... you have to see that this is the unions REASONABLE (I agree) approach to counter the intense legislation coming down regarding charter schools and the privatization of our amazing public school system. Teachers are allowed such little choice and we are constantly told what to do by people who are not experts in the field. I do believe this MOU (and perhaps whatever else may come in place/modified) was/is an attempt to give public school teachers some of that professionalism back.

It's unfortunate that the public is so reactive and perceives everything the union does as "pro-Enfield." Don't forget, we voted no-confidence way before the public did. Give us teachers a bit of credit.

- SPS Professional Teacher

Sahila said...

@SPS Professional Teacher ... dont be so quick to claim credit for voting no confidence before the public did... you were way behind the 8-ball in moving on MGJ... and TFA ...and evaluations based on test scores... and... and...

Anonymous said...

n...

I sent the copy of the MOU out over 30 days AFTER we were told about the MOU, and 29 days after we had voted to table something we hadn't seen.

I tried SurveyMonkey at my school - over 100 people got the email.

All of 7 responded - 2 against, 5 for.

People had a chance to participate, and for the most part they didn't -

and, in my NOT humble opinion, they barely pay attention to SEA stuff because it is so haphazard and random and last minute.

Jonathan and Olga and sundry other union 'leaders' act like I've got nothing better to do than track down 20 or 25 people who skip meetings & spend 5 or 10 minutes chatting them up, and, they act like the reason barely anyone participates is because the ARs won't spend 100 or 250 minutes of their time cajoling people.

If you voted yes based upon 6-1, I don't see anything unreasonable. You tried, you already have a full time +++ job, and you made a decision on the input you had.

I believe that NOTHING should be voted on until it has been posted to the internet for at least a month. Give people time to look things over and to advocate for their positions. If only 7/100 or 7/?? respond, so be it.

To SPS Professional Teacher -

IS this MOU good policy? If it is, post it openly and give people time to read about and think about, lobby and advocate, have a vote.
Good policy is NOT adopting crap policy because the other side has even worse policy - that is cowardice, incompetence, corruption, or a mix of all three. Tip O'Neil, the speaker of the U.S. Congress until 1986 set the bar for agreeing with right wing 'bipartisan' garbage when Ronald Reagan was President. What did that accomplish? We the people have a entire class of 'representatives' who have decades of experience of giving away 1/2 before negotiations start, and giving away more in the negotiations, because it will make it less ... onerous to give away 3/4 in the room?

Run things openly, THE compromise with the 1% AND their minions is that they're NOT in jail - there is nothing else to compromise about.

I'm sick of being in the

SEAShroomCaucus

KG said...

I would agree with anonymous that they have a shroom caucus.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Sahila,
Okay then, you knew about everything wrong in public education before anyone else is Seattle.

Now, can you allow that the teachers and other groups have been doing what they can to keep up and be active?

Sahila said...

no Melissa.... I cant.... too many people with their heads still in the sand, or wearing rose coloured glasses, or sitting on their hands leaving it up to others...

If they were indeed doing what they can to keep up and be active, we would not be at this point...

Sahila said...

@ Melissa - At the risk of being called a paranoid conspiracy theorist yet again, its my perceptions that we've hit the tipping point and we now are all living at the beginning of a revolution - and what's happening in education is part of that...

So - time for people to choose which side they're on... with the oligarchs, or with the people and the earth...

Kathy said...

Kudos to the new board. It seems the rubber stamping days have come to a hault!!!

Sahila said...

Yes Kathy.... it is encouraging to see the efforts of the newest and newer members of the board....

Seems like some semblance of sanity and critical thinking has returned...

Will be good if Carr, Martin-Morris and DeBell get with the new programme....

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a very civil and well-thought out response. Still, I didn't vote yes because my table decided 6-1 to do so. I knew before I got there that I was probably on the yea side. I had read the MOU and understood the intention fairly well. I agree with it philosophically.

I can't be accountable for the language nor would I ever have noted the glitch - whatever it is - in the current language. But the idea is right on target. We need flexible programs out there.

I don't think I understand your antipathy. You've posted that the timeline wasn't long enough. Pehaps not. That could be argued . . . I am okay with it mostly because I don't think there is a timeline that would guarantee participation by everyone. Your point about Reagan seems to support my side: people aren't very involved and don't do the hard work of really thinking things out. I'm in elementary. I can tell you that my colleagues rely on the information I put out and my opinion of it. I try to be honest. It's the best I can do.

No one will read it through and really analyze it. But, I don't think it needs scrutiny. Either flexible programs are a good idea or they aren't. I'll have to trust the the legals at the union to look out for ms. And people on this blog who seem to have the time and dinterest and intellect to scrutinize everything!

Not a criticism, please. I'm grateful for the information I get here. I'm pretty knowledgable about a lot of school stuff thanks to you.

Are you really upset about the time frame or the idea? If you are upset with the idea, tell us why. I'd really like to know. How does it hurt schools, children, educators - anything?

n...

dan dempsey said...

It was written about the MOU:

But the idea is still there and viable and probably will pass. It does need to be tight.

For a decade we have seen little of value coming out of the State Legislature or OSPI. There seems to be an incessant search for the silver bullet.

This MOU falls into the magic bullet category.

{{Note the SBE formed a Math Advisory Panel ... which was terminated before it even got close to reaching the end of its original term .... Let's call that SBE Attention Deficit.}}

The formulation of an intelligent long term plan to increase academic achievement in schools is apparently beyond the capability of education decision makers in Seattle and WA State.

Read John Hattie's Visible Learning for Teachers ... to find how to formulate effective plans for schools that will positively impact student achievement. .... The MOU like most of the recent "cures" is narrow and defective.

============
Meanwhile the Legislature comes up with more plans for TOP DOWN direction while ignoring the need to actual fund what takes place in classrooms.

whitney said...

Here's one thing essentially wrong with the MOU: It implies at its essence that the only way to have creative approaches at schools is to violate the existing teachers' contract. That is a ridiculous premise and is insulting to the teachers who are already spearheading creative approaches in their schools quite within the contract.

I believe the SEA members who voted "yes" to this MOU did so only because they thought it was a way out of MAP or other district requirements. Very short-sighted -- what they really gave away is their own contractual rights.

Also, the notion that we have to approve the MOU or big, bad charter schools will come is negotiating from a position of weakness rather than strength.

I saw this exact same thing at our contract vote two Augusts ago. Our union leaders, Addae and Knapp, got on stage and basically said, "vote for this crappy contract that includes using tests to evaluate teachers, merit pay for teachers, etc. because if you don't, Maria Goodloe-Johnson will get very very mean and scary and you'll get a worse contract. Be very very afraid and vote yes for this contract that includes things we know hurt kids and hurt the education profession, because we are really afraid of MGJ."

Now they urge us: "vote for the MOU or charters will come. Be very very afraid."

I'm tired of our SEA leaders operating out of fear and giving away important principled stands that protect students' education as well as teachers. Maybe, like Wisconsin is showing, people truly can stand on principle and stare down the monied reformers.

Sadly, Knapp and Addae's eagerness to support such compromises rather than standing on principles shows a basic lack of strength, as well as an insulting discounting of the creative possibilities their teachers are already showing in their schools.

So here's my position: "No" on the MOU re: creative approach schools. Instead, let's have schools that take a creative approach within the contract (It is very doable) --

-- and let's vote in new SEA leadership that will negotiate for our students and our teachers from a position of strength, not fear.

Maureen said...

FWIW, I agree with n... and Michelle Buetow about the MOU.

whitney says:
Here's one thing essentially wrong with the MOU: It implies at its essence that the only way to have creative approaches at schools is to violate the existing teachers' contract. That is a ridiculous premise and is insulting to the teachers who are already spearheading creative approaches in their schools quite within the contract.


I don't agree with this. If a school's staff can do valuable innovative work within the CBA, good for them, do it. But there are other models of innovation (that perhaps help a different population than whitney's) that cannot happen within the current CBA.

My kids have gone to a K-8. For most of the time they were there, some part of the CBA was being violated because K-5 kids have a 6 hour day and 6-8 kids are supposed to have a 6.5 hour day. This MOU would allow the K-5 teachers to agree to work a longer day on average in exchange for (something-autonomy?) or maybe allow the 6-8 teachers to ... who knows? They could agree to whatever was best for our kids and for the teachers. Just because whitney feels able to exercise her full measure of creativity within the CBA doesn't mean that all SEA members feel equally free.

Anonymous said...

Maureen states this:
"...My kids have gone to a K-8. For most of the time they were there, some part of the CBA was being violated because K-5 kids have a 6 hour day and 6-8 kids are supposed to have a 6.5 hour day. This MOU would allow the K-5 teachers to agree to work a longer day on average in exchange for (something-autonomy?) or maybe allow the 6-8 teachers to ... who knows? They could agree to whatever was best for our kids and for the teachers. Just because whitney feels able to exercise her full measure of creativity within the CBA doesn't mean that all SEA members feel equally free."



The fact of the matter is that for the past twenty years the CBA has allowed schools to waive *specific* provision(s) of the contract given a 3/4 vote approving the action by the certificated and classified staff at the school. There needed to be an explanation as to why a particular action should be taken.

The waiver request was presented to the SEA Executive Board. The school had to be able to show how the vote was taken, whether it was a 3/4 vote and what type of the voting system was used and the number of SEA members voting. Those who disagreed were able to explain why they objected.
Then waiver was either approved or disapproved. In some cases it was possible the SEA Board could tell a school what it needed to do to get the waiver approved (examples-->make sure that no administrators are present to observe a vote by hands or use secret ballots)...

Whoever is on the Board has to be convinced that the waiver is the right thing to do.

I must admit that I do prefer this approach: to have schools choose carefully what it is that they wish to waive rather than waive the *entire* contract.
Of course this freedom comes with reading and knowing the CBA.


Either with the MOU or without it, it is important for educators to familiarize themselves with the CBA, especially when there have been changes. Some of our colleagues do choose to do this and some do not.

I am also concerned about violation of the law, especially federal law in relation to special education. When a colleague tells me about IAs being forced to push two wheelchairs at the same time at one particular school I know being told to do this *currently* can be remedied because such a practice can be grieved.


If we are going to have the MOU, I am really glad that we have people going though it with a fine toothed comb to make sure that the holes are plugged.

Signed --Modern Sound( in Rio de Janeiro)

P.S. I think it was really fascinating that Mercer Middle School felt *free* to deviate from the district math curriculum. The staff did it without a MOU or a waiver. Students were successful!

Maureen, I don't know whether your child's school asked for a waiver or not--or if they did and it was not approved. It would be useful to know. Getting people to agree on a provision is key.

Disgusted said...

I watched the tape of this board meeting. I find it intersting Knapp felt he (the union) and district should have all the power on this one.

So, the board should relinquish their oversight responsibility and give it to.... the union and superintendent?

Kudos to Peaslee's amendment.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know when the Board will review the Creative Approach MOU or bring it back up?

--Amy