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Current REA contract defines teacher’s role in operation and administration of school district

In the current REA contract, Article 18 establishes the advisory role of the teaching staff in each school building committee setting, dealing with the operation of their respective building and it encourages staff recommendations concerning building operations.

In Article 19 of the current contract, Textbooks and Supplies or Article 20 – Instructional Council – The board recognizes the expertise of the teaching staff in the selection of textbooks, textbook replacements when changing curriculum and supplies in their areas of expertise and that textbook selection originates with the committee staff members.

However, any forms that directly effect professional staff, such as transfers, leave policies, evaluations and other professional forms require mutually agreed upon content between staff and administration, including inservice training programs. This process begins infringing upon administrative and board policy decisions. Data should be required for effective administration and should be the priority in choosing forms format.

Article 21 – Least Restrictive Environment – deals with inclusion of individual students with disabilities in regular classrooms and establishes minimum requirements that prevents this federally and largely unfunded mandate from altering programs of learning for other students, or threatening the safety of either regular or disabled students.

However, this article dictates sums of money be set aside for staff development for all teachers that have inclusion students, plus set asides of $250 per inclusion student for the purchase of relevent materials, as determined by the staff member in consultation with the IEP case manager. This is staff dictating budgetary policy with should not be in their purview.

Article 22 – Staff Hours and School Calendar – does more to create jobs than educate kids. The official length of the day for elementary schools is only 5 1/2 hours, and staff members report 15 minutes before the start of the student’s day and remain 15 minutes after the end of the students day – not a lot of time to consult with those students having problems with some of their courses.

In addition the contract sets up 5 – 30 minutes planning periods a week during the semester. No professional staff member shall be required to supervise more than the maximum permissible class size according to current contract limits, and there will be two 10 minute breaks, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, with the staff member’s class being staffed by another staff member assigned to the building – does that require more staff members than classes, so that all classes be covered throughout the day during the staff breaks?

Next, the blog will show how the contract covers middle and secondary school staff requirements.

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12 Comments

  1. Denny Wallace

    ARTICLE 18 – STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES FOR BUILDINGS
    In the development of the Operating Procedures, the Board recognizes the value and desirability of staff involvement and encourages their recommendation. Consistent with the following policy (School Building Committee), and within the limits of Board Policy, each principal shall develop procedures for the building.

    Sorry but in my opinion it would be a mistake to gloss over this provision without giving it more serious thought…

    Why interfere with the judgment of Principal’s and highly educated\experienced Staff at the School level most with with Masters Degrees (even PhD’s too) by telling the Principal “…each principal shall develop procedures for the building….” and then go on to tell them how they must do it?

    Daaaa Is there some reason why Administration and TEACHERS can come up with unique and innovative ways to operate our Schools?

    Hopefully moving towards self-directed Teacher Work Teams just doing the job they know needs to be done… i.e. Teachers do have substantial Education, school specific training and years-n-years of experience… TEACHERS KNOW WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE…. They needn’t have to wait to be told what to do!

  2. Denny Wallace

    Link to Teachers Contract
    http://www2.rps205.com/District/Documents/CollectiveBargainingAgreements/RockfordEducation.pdf

    ARTICLE 19 – TEXTBOOKS AND SUPPLIES

    Simply question I ask is WHY is this even in the Labor Agreement?

    If our School Administration is so stupid as to not to involve the real Stake Holders in decision-making… especially highly trained and experienced Teachers… The solutions isn’t to add Contract Language that adds little value to what should be the normal course of managing our schools… Such provisions are far from mandatory bargainining subjects…. Can we please have the Teacher Union stay out of what obviously is wihin the NORMAL range of expectations for Management Rights?

  3. Denny Wallace

    ARTICLE 20 – INSTRUCTIONAL COUNCIL
    :…The Instructional Council shall represent staff members in the process of educational change. The Instructional Council will operate under a set of bylaws submitted to the Superintendent and Association…..”

    Again… Why is this even needed in the Teachers contract?

    Beyond the commonsense the Administration sure better involve all employees “…in the process of educational change….” why tie the hands of such a “Council” by inserting Contract Language that will end up being argued about and ultimately lead to grievances by the UNION LEADERSHIP asserting (i.e. maintaining) their iron-fisted grip on our Public Schools.

    Remember, The Teacher Union many times only needs to “raise the bluff” of filing a grievance to extort their influence… Happens all the time in Union\Labor Relations… That’s why the Union prefer as much contract language as possible as it allows for future leverage TO GET WHAT THEY WANT in the future…

  4. Denny Wallace

    ARTICLE 21 – LEAST RESTRICTIVE ENVIRONMENT

    This type of nonsense makes my blood boil…. For crying out loud… not only does the Contract Language start out with “….While the Board and the Association acknowledge that Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) is federally mandated…” i.e. IT’S FEDERAL LAW GOVERNS WHAT FOLLOWS AND IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT ANY CONTRACT LANGUAGE CALLS FOR….

    It also clearly states the obvious “….The Board recognizes and agrees that it will take any and all steps necessary in order to meet the requirements of federal and state laws…”

    Therefore…. WHAT IS THE REAL PURPOSE OF THIS CONTRACT LANGUAGE?

  5. Denny Wallace

    WHAT IS THE REAL PURPOSE OF THIS CONTRACT LANGUAGE?

    Not knowing what accepted past practices have evolved over the years (i.e. unwritten Accept past practices are as legally enforceable as specific contract language) hard to tell what hidden REAL MEANING relates to why this contract language is necessary (Teacher Union Demanded) when clearly the provisions are not subject to mandatory bargaining and simply should remain subject to Management Rights to run schools as they believe to be Best…

    “…Such steps might include, among other things,
    co-taught classes,
    (Who decides and can a grievance be filed if the Teacher Union disagrees?)

    the relocation of programs,
    (Who decides and can a grievance be filed if the Teacher Union disagrees?)

    the establishment of additional classes,
    (Who decides and can a grievance be filed if the Teacher Union disagrees? This would cause the hiring of additional dues paying Teachers…)

    or the reassignment of students both with and without disabilities.
    (Who decides and can a grievance be filed if the Teacher Union disagrees?)

    Hmmmm Wonder what is behind this language???

    Section A: IEP Meetings and Recommendations
    The regular education staff member, who is or will be providing instructional or other services to a student with disabilities in a regular education classroom setting, shall be invited, in writing, to participate in the IEP meeting and any subsequent meetings. Participation shall not result in the loss of leave time or uncompensated planning time.

    Question – What happens if the Staff member isn’t invited in writing????

    Question – Let me get this concept straight ….”Participation shall not result in the loss of leave time or uncompensated planning time….”

    So the Teachers Union is demanding the Teachers be “invited” to meetings i.e. suggesting their is a penalty for not doing so (I wonder what that penalty is?)…. Yet then demanding that such meeting time “shall not result in the loss of leave time or uncompensated planning time.”

    Well sports fans, I’d hazard a guess what this really means is such language forces the Teacher to be paid overtime for any meetings… + since the term specifically used was “invited” it also implies the Teachers attendance at the meeting is OPTIONAL… i.e. If they want the extra pay they can attend or if they really don’t want to… Naaa I mean what do we think this is all about “It’s about the Kids you know” is just propaganda used come contract time or as part of a cute soundbite to deflect attention…

    This is far from the only SPECIFIC Contract language that clearly states Teachers can pick-n-chose when they “feel like” attending meetings or actually attend to what’s in the best interests of the students..

    AND IN ALMOST ALL CASES the contract language requires such attendance require the payment of overtime or extra per-diem compensation.

    Remember… The existing School day is only 5.5 to 6 hours long and by contract Teachers can only be required to report to work 15 before\after the first\last school bell…. Yet the Teacher union has the gall to demand “shall not result in the loss of leave time or uncompensated planning time.”

    To be continued….

  6. Denny Wallace

    More “winnings” at the contract negotiating table…

    “…Staff members shall be eligible for compensation at the lost planning period rate for each period (secondary) or each thirty minutes (elementary) when an IEP recommended paraprofessional is not present after the earlier of the date of the paraprofessional’s placement or the twenty (20) day grace period.

    Interesting “accepted past practice concept” = “…eligible for compensation at the lost planning period rate…” Go ask your boss what your Lost planning period rate of pay is?

    As Paul Harvey radio commentator said… “The rest of the Story….”

    “…If a staff member advises, in writing, the administration of a reasonable basis to believe that the student’s current IEP is not meeting the student’s unique needs, as required by law, an IEP meeting shall be reconvened within twenty (20) days. An IEP meeting shall be reconvened if a staff member advises, in writing, the administration that the student’s participation in the regular education program substantiallyinterferes with the learning of others, even with supplemental services, threatens the safety either of other students or of the disabled student, or requires so much modification in the curriculum that the regular program has to be altered beyond recognition

    So I guess the language of “IF a staff members” advises in writing that a law is being violated suggests Teachers aren’t responsible if they don’t put it in writing? or it’s Ok that the School District violates the Law?

    Or is this all about levergaing for “overtime pay” because the “in writing provision” is all about getting paid without loss of “leave time or uncompensated planning time….” and don’t forget that TBD “Lost planning period rate of pay”???

    Article 21 goes on to say “…If a staff member advises, in writing,… the IEP …required by law, an IEP meeting shall be convened… An IEP meeting shall be reconvened if a staff member advises, in writing…”

    Doesn’t talk about the duty of the Staff Member, i.e. Teacher to ensure the enforcement of the LAW… but seems to just imply IF the Teachers puts notice in writing, they are entitled to collect additional “meeting time” pay because of there busy 5.5 to 6 hour school day makes it unfair to ask that they attend meetings without additional pay or sacrifice “…loss of leave time or uncompensated planning time….”

    But hey… Maybe there is more to it then just contract language carving out more pay for Special Education Teachers… I mean it’s not like it’s reasonable to question why the top paid paid Special Ed teacher recently had reported TOTAL earnings to the State Pension plan of over $100,000 per year (i.e. what there 75% pension check is based upon)…

    Yet funny thing is… we are told that the top of Teacher Salary range is around $75,000 and requires a Masters + near PhD level of advanced education to get there…. Hmmmmm Yet asking about or even wondering about does this make a lick of sense or is it fair to all teachers and you are taunted with Basing Teachers or just being a kook!

    Imagine that?

  7. Denny Wallace

    Section B: District Special Education Advisory Committee

    More go staright to the pay window…. “…The committee and presenter will be provided with release time or compensation to meet…”

    After your boss is revived by the paramedics when you ask about your “lost planning period rate of pay”… Give him a few good breaths of oxygen and ask him about your “…release time or compensation to meet….”

    While you are working your plan for career advancement by causing the death or permanent disability of your Boss… Include telling your Boss that LIKE TEACHERS maybe you’ll attend the meetings he schedules and maybe you won’t… or that it’s not your problem the company suffers serious consequences for violation of the LAW because you didn’t put anything in writing… Your hands are clean… Not my problem…

    If your Boss still has a pulse… tell them that the budget money he faught for and won approval for staff development really wasn’t something you were interested in attending even though your Boss “encouraged” you to attend… As like Teachers it must be “…at his/her option…”

    To hammer the final nail in your Bosses coffin and complete your succession plan for taking over your Bosses job… Wisper in your Bosses ear as the Paramedics rush him to the waiting ambulance… How do you put in for “…a summer salary credit workshop or a two full day in-service with released time…. + four days of release time for planning…”

    Amazing but true stories from the Fantasy world of OZ called Rockford Public Schools…

  8. Denny Wallace

    Hey grand pooba of Teacher Contract Blogs… How about start up a separate blog for this Fairy Tale Contract Laguage?

    ARTICLE 17 – EVALUATION PROCEDURES
    Section A:
    The Evaluation Plan approved by the Board and the Association is incorporated into this Article by reference.

    The building principal and/or designee (limited to assistant principals and the appropriate, qualified special education and special services supervisors and administrators, in consultation with the building principal) is responsible for evaluating all staff members assigned to his/her building. Responsibilities of evaluators, in addition to those specified in the Evaluation Plan, include:

    1. Apprising each staff member upon assignment, and/or at the beginning of each school year, the specific criteria on which the evaluation will be made.

    2. Prior to each observation, reviewing with the staff member the methods of evaluation to be employed. The staff member shall explain his/her objectives, methods and materials to the evaluator. The evaluator will advise the staff member as to when each observation will be conducted. The evaluator shall meet with the staff member after each observation to review the completed observation form.

    3. Assuring that probationary staff members are evaluated once each semester.

    4. Assuring that staff members on contractual and continued service are evaluated once every two years or upon request of the staff member or evaluator. In the years not evaluated, the principal shall place a letter in the staff member’s personnel file, with a copy to the staff member, stating that the lack of an evaluation will not be construed as an adverse reflection on the staff member’ s performance. A form letter jointly agreed upon by the Board and the Association will be utilized.

    Section B:
    1. All monitoring or observation of a staff member shall be conducted openly and with full knowledge of the staff member. In evaluation or observation of staff members, the use of closed circuit television and public address or audio systems are expressly prohibited.

    2. A summative evaluation report shall be preceded by at least three observations of professional performance, one of which shall be no less than 30 minutes. No observation shall take place after May 1.

    3. If the evaluator notes areas in which the staff member needs to improve, the criticism shall be reduced to writing and a copy given to the staff member within ten (10) schools days of the occurrence. All criticism of a staff member shall be in writing and shall contain suggestions for improvement.

    4. A copy of the summative evaluation report shall be given to the staff member within ten (10) school days of the 30-minute observation. A conference shall be held within five (5) school days at the request of the staff member or the evaluator. If the staff member disagrees with the summative evaluation report, he/she may submit a written answer which shall be attached to the file copy of the summative evaluation report in question. Any such written answer will be delivered to the evaluator within ten (10) school days of the conference. Additional conferences shall be held within five (5) school days of the request of the staff member with the appropriate supervisory and administrative personnel to the level of superintendent.

    5. On subsequent observation forms and summative evaluation reports, the evaluator shall comment on previously noted criticisms of the current year.

    6. The observation forms and the summative evaluation reports shall be initialed by the staff member to show that copies have been received. Initialing does not necessarily indicate approval of or agreement with the reports. The summative evaluation reports shall then be filed in the staff member’s personnel file.

    7. During the ninety (90) day remediation period after receiving a “Notice to Remedy” from the Board, a staff member shall not be allowed to transfer to another school without the express written approval of the Board. This restriction shall not preclude movement due to Article 12, Section F, staff reductions.

    8. Should a staff member on remediation be granted a leave of absence, the ninety (90) day remediation period will start anew upon the return from leave.

    Section C:
    With the understanding that any evaluation process includes subjective performance measurement, it is not intended that the evaluation of any professional staff member under the Evaluation Plan, i.e. excellent, satisfactory, or unsatisfactory, be subject to the grievance procedure. The evaluator shall provide in the summative report reasonable, well-defined performance goals for each performance rating of unsatisfactory. Failure of the evaluator to provide reasonable, well-defined performance goals for each performance rating of unsatisfactory shall be considered a procedural defect. Any procedural defects in the evaluation process will be subject to the grievance procedure. Upon the written request of a staff member who receives an overall rating of satisfactory, the evaluator shall, within a reasonable time, provide a written summary of goals for the staff member to achieve in order to receive an overall rating of excellent.

    Section D:
    The procedures set forth above shall be fully applicable to staff members working in extracurricular and co-curricular assignments, except that item “B-2” may be adjusted to accommodate the exigencies of the activity.

  9. Denny Wallace

    ARTICLE 17 – EVALUATION PROCEDURES

    1. Apprising each staff member upon assignment, and/or at the beginning of each school year, the specific criteria on which the evaluation will be made.

    REST OF THE STORY —- “…the specific criteria on which the evaluation will be made….”

    Does this imply that if you don’t “specifically” “Apprise” of the “specific criteria” then whatever else is observed cannot be considered in the Evaluation Procedures?

    REST OF THE STORY —- “…upon assignment, and/or at the beginning of each school year…”

    Does this mean if improper performance, actions, behavior are observed AFTER “assignment” or “beginning of the School Year” cannot be part of the Evalaluation Procedures?

    REST OF THE STORY — How is “Apprising” accomplished? Is there a certain way the “Specific Criteria” must be spelled out? Can a grievance be filed to contest the validity or just raise a question as to procedures followed, forms used… What is the defnition of SPECIFIC… what happens if they aren’t “specific enough”?

    Who determines what is acceptable when it comes to “Specific” or “apprising” even when does “beginning of school year” start and end? Is the 2nd week of the school year no longer the “beginning”???

    Now just with these few examples of “contestable” or “debatable” challenges that I’ve raised (and we are just getting started) can you see how totally useless this contract langauge really is?

    Can anyone really suggest… if the starting point is opening up loop holes you can drive a truck through…. How in the heck can this Evaluation Procedure provide ANY ACTIONABLE PLAN to do anything about poor performing Teachers?

    Yet there are many Teachers (and certainly all Teacher Union Rep’s)who will tell you the only thing preventing doing something about poor performing Teachers is Administrators who won’t do their jobs?

    So again, of course Teachers or the Teacher Union aren’t the problem are they?

  10. Denny Wallace

    “…2. Prior to each observation, reviewing with the staff member the methods of evaluation to be employed. The staff member shall explain his/her objectives, methods and materials to the evaluator. The evaluator will advise the staff member as to when each observation will be conducted. The evaluator shall meet with the staff member after each observation to review the completed observation form….”

    REST OF THE STORY —- “Prior to each observation” So again… Doesn’t PRIOR suggest nothing can be evaluated unless it was reviewed in advanced? So if inappropriate behavior or actions are observed, yet weren’t reviewed “PRIOR TO” then the Teacher gets a free pass or they can’t be considered part of the Evaluation Plan?

    REST OF THE STORY —- So right from the get-go… We got very specific language, clearly stating that the Staff Member, i.e. teacher must be APPRISED… UPON ASSIGNMENT or AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SCHOOL YEAR…. exactly what SPECIFIC CRITERIA they will be evaluated upon…. clearly implying that if any of these requirements are found to be lacking… in the game of Union Labor relations… any Teacher evaluation could be thrown out on a simple technicality…

    NOW WE HAVE ALSO ADDED…. “Prior to each evaluation” highly specific langauge that further opens the door to contest any Teacher Evaluation simply upon a procedural technicality….

    What is the intent or what is meant by “METHODS OF EVALUATION”? Again, is this subject to interpretation or cause for a grievance to throw out the evalaution if a Method wasn’t disccused in advance? The Method’s validity being questioned after-the-fact??? The method wasn’t administered correctly…

    Isn’t it obvious the Teacher Union intent is to contstruct a slippery slope making it very easy to push the Adminsitrator down the path so whatever they come up with in an evaluation… That ample cause for contesting any and all evaluations will always be readily possible… i.e. providing the Teacher Union (and Teachers) political cover to sound-off about… THE ONLY REASON POOR PERFORMING TEACHERS EXIST IN OUR SCHOOLS IS BECAUSE SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS SIMPLY FAIL TO DO THEIR JOB AND PROPERLY EVALUATE TEACHERS!!!

    Yet the real-story is Administration has very little chance to improve Teaching Performance… let alone get rid of Bad Teachers deserving of being Fired.

    Sadly we have only scratched the surface of the Teacher Union Smoke-n-mirrors show!

  11. Denny Wallace

    More REST OF THE STORY…

    “…2. Prior to each observation, reviewing with the staff member the methods of evaluation to be employed. The staff member shall explain his/her objectives, methods and materials to the evaluator. The evaluator will advise the staff member as to when each observation will be conducted. The evaluator shall meet with the staff member after each observation to review the completed observation form….”

    This line of contract language suggests many questions to answer —
    “…The evaluator will advise the staff member as to when each observation will be conducted….”

    “When observation will be conducted” language suggest that the Teacher will always know in advance when there work will be evaluated… and conversely… Anything a teacher would do outside of this “advance notice” can’t be counted against the Teachers Evaluation…

    So I guess we are saying any days Teachers performance isn’t important? That what only COUNTS is the evaluation of Teachers Performance with ADVANCE NOTICE + detailed and SPECIFIC EVALUATION CRITERIA provided the Teacher…

    Who cares if a teaching effort sucks outside of the day the Teacher knows their work is being observed.

    Last but not least…. “…The evaluator shall meet with the staff member after each observation to review the completed observation form….”

    So I guess this means if it’s not on the form it doesn’t count?

    So if the Principal, with a busy work day managing multiple other priorities. they are expected to “immediately complete the observation form” and review same with the teacher? MY BET IS FAILURE TO DO SO IS CAUSE TO HAVE THE WHOLE EFFORT THROWN OUT!

    Oh and by the way… Do you think just maybe the EVALUATOR might want to be able to take some reasonable amount of time to digest what they observed and put their observations together in a meaninful way… rather then simply review some checklist to-do-list form?

    Or is it because everyone knows the Evaluation Process is meaningless going over the checklist can be easily accomplished because NOTHING WILL EVER HAPPEN as a result of the evaluation effort?

  12. Denny Wallace

    ARTICLE 17 – EVALUATION PROCEDURES
    Section A:
    1. Apprising each staff member upon assignment, and/or at the beginning of each school year, the specific criteria on which the evaluation will be made.
    2. Prior to each observation, reviewing with the staff member the methods of evaluation to be employed. The staff member shall explain his/her objectives, methods and materials to the evaluator. The evaluator will advise the staff member as to when each observation will be conducted. The evaluator shall meet with the staff member after each observation to review the completed observation form.

    Yet we have all of the following still left to yammer about… Another day for another rant… Have a good Memorial Day everyone.

    3.
    4.

    Section B:
    1.
    2.
    3.
    4.
    5.
    6.
    7.
    8.

    Section C:

    Section D:

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