Agreement reached on collaborative reform in Cleveland

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The agreement reached May 25 on a plan to reform the Cleveland public schools is a powerful example of what is possible when the entire community—educators, parents, elected officials and businesses—commit to collaboration over confrontation, AFT president Randi Weingarten says. It stands in stark contrast to efforts by special interests and politicians like Mitt Romney, who seek to demonize teachers and divide the people who work most closely with kids every day from students, parents and the community, she adds.

The deal, which was announced at a press conference with Cleveland Teachers Union president David Quolke, Cleveland mayor Frank Jackson and elected officials:

  • Protects and enhances the voice teachers have in building a high-quality education system;
  • Encourages educators and the community to bring new ideas to the table;Strengthens college- and career-readiness programs;
  • Commits to collaborative efforts to turn around low-performing schools; and
  • Ensures that taxpayer-supported charter schools have the same high level of accountability as other public schools.

Weingarten praised Quolke and Jackson for their efforts to create reforms that focus on truly improving teaching and learning, despite many obstacles. (See earlier story.) They were able to reach an agreement "by working together, engaging parents and the community, and respecting their shared responsibility for educating Cleveland's kids."

"This agreement offers a clear path forward to strengthen Cleveland's public schools and ensure Cleveland's children are prepared for the demands of the 21st century," Weingarten says. [AFT press release]

May 29, 2012