Press Release

AFT Lauds New Collaborative Education Reform Law for Cleveland Schools

For Release: 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Contact:

Janet Bass
202-879-4554
jbass@aft.org

AFT's Weingarten:"When teachers are partners, not outsiders, the voice from the classroom is heard and effective solutions can be found for students, teachers and schools."

WASHINGTON—Statement of American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on the collaborative process resulting in the landmark Cleveland Plan for Transforming Schools bill signed into law today:

"This landmark education reform law would not have come about without a commitment to collaboration and including teachers in the process. When teachers are partners, not outsiders, the voice from the classroom is heard and effective solutions can be found for students, teachers and schools. For all students to succeed, educators, parents, elected officials and businesses must work together, committed to collaboration, not conflict.

"What started out as a plan that excluded teachers eventually incorporated the innovative ideas from the Cleveland Teachers Union. The working relationship between the public and private partners demonstrates the long-lasting consequences of the public's repudiation of Ohio's anti-union Senate Bill 5: when all relevant parties, including unions, are at the table, you reach better solutions.

"The legislation developed by the public-private partnership includes significant elements, including:

  • During layoffs, using tenure and seniority only after considering performance evaluations. The CTU proposed this, breaking a significant logjam over the tenure issue.
  • Committing to collaborative efforts to turn around low-performing schools.
  • Protecting and enhancing teachers' voice in building a high-quality education system.
  • Ensuring that taxpayer-supported charter schools have the same high level of accountability as other public schools.

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The AFT represents 1.6 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.