NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. Elementary Secondary Education As the recent statewide teacher strikessuggest—including in red states like Kentucky and West Virginia—those who wer… Ms. WEINGARTEN: One of the things that we've proposed, and one of the things I did when I was the New York City president of its union, was we actually paid people more who went and stayed in the hard-to-staff schools. But it would be a checklist. Because I teach advanced placement, and my kids in Florida are studying for the same tests that kids in Oregon and Washington and all states are taking. I mean, what you have is that half the teachers leave the profession within five years. I didn't want to join because I saw tenure protecting bad teachers. Are unions good or bad? That's at npr.org. And we're trying to figure out how to fix the tenure process. On the local level, union representatives fill roles as president of the local and trustees. I think why it's not is because sometimes you have, you know, supervisors talking out of both sides of their mouth. Yet, many people do not know what a Teacher's Union is or what it does. The National Education Association (NEA) and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) together have more than 3 million members (who vote at high rates). CONAN: Lindsay, why did you leave after two years? Ms. WEINGARTEN: What they do and ultimately, we didn't do a good job in terms of the Baltimore contract not in terms of the negotiation of it, and there's a bunch of different conversations now between the members and our leaders in Baltimore. What do they all have in common? It's about what can we do to improve our practice, and what can we do to ensure that kids are learning. What the unions are trying to do - my union - in particular but the NEA, as well, and Denver is an NEA district, is we're trying to help give teachers the tools and conditions they need to help kids, and we're also trying to get schools and kids the kind of conditions that they need. She’s your favorite teacher ever. This article addresses that question, and explains a bit about Teacher's Unions. What the Washington contract did was it actually clarified everybody's roles. Yes, it's inconvenient. And that also, people sometimes say, is merit pay, but that's the kind of differentiation that I think teachers would accept. It's not limited to the current generation of student test scores. We want to make sure that teachers are treated with respect and dignity. NCCL065-76-15071 Having said that, if you have an evaluation system which is in some ways where the same frameworks are operative, where we're looking at teacher practice, and is practice as great as it can be, are we differentiating instruction to the needs of our kids, are we do we understand our curriculum well enough, and can we teach it in a way that kids understand it, and then are kids learning. I told him, “Of course,” and watched the steam start to rise from his ears. So is there a way to, you know, get a common evaluator for everybody? The purpose of teacher's unions is generally to be a strong, unified advocating body for teachers. There's a lot of people who want to get in. And I don't hear anybody talking about that. Having said that, the big difference between Baltimore and Washington is that the Baltimore contract is about creating the building blocks to change schools so that people will be paid in different ways. NCCL097-114122031 We can tell you who has high standards for student performance and who doesn't. So my principal and my assistant principal would come into my classroom for five or 10 minutes, and I would have, or you know, if I had an official evaluation, it would be 40 minutes. I think there's a more productive approach by putting - by making sure that the professionals are defining the problems that need to be solved and defining them in such a way that they can solve them. As President-elect Joe Biden continues to roll-out nominees for his top Cabinet posts, the U.S. Secretary of Education position is still unknown. Share Shares Copy Link. Randi Weingarten, 61, has been an ever-present force in national Democratic politics since taking the helm of the American Federation of Teachers labor union in 2008. *Collective Bargaining; Collegiality; *Educational Change; Elementary Secondary Education; *Leaders; *Leadership Styles; School Districts; Superintendents; *Teacher Welfare; *Unions The debate over fixing our public schools focuses more and more on teachers: How to keep the good ones and get rid of the bad ones, how to evaluate their work, how to reward it, how to engage teachers and their unions in the effort to make the sometimes radical changes many reformers believe are badly overdue, including important changes to the collective bargaining agreements that define wages and conditions, establish tenure in many places, and they establish when teachers can be fired and when they can't. There is a system that was instituted in Toledo, where union members took the role of evaluating their peers, and by all accounts, it does very well. Zoey is a teacher and a member of a union. CHICAGO, Dec. 8, 2020—Some of America’s largest teachers union locals and most prominent national educator-led organizations sent a letter to President-elect Joseph Biden today calling for an educator committed to families, communities and the well-being of Black and Brown students to be appointed to the role of education secretary in the new Biden-Harris administration. the education system; union leaders are. Students’ Council and Academic Community. NYC shuts down schools as community COVID numbers reach 3%. CONAN: It's interesting. End of story. The phone lines are full, believe me: 800-989-8255. And I only worked there for two years. Purpose of Teachers' Unions. NCCL-16-59-82-95 If there's career-ladder roles, meaning if they want to do mentoring or other kinds of things, there would be an expedited salary schedule, whereas in Washington, the extra pay went for whatever the test score results were. And in fact, what we've asked supervisors for is to help support us more and more and more. Any teacher who didn't was seen as against her peers. A Different Role for Teachers Unions. It's like holding judges accountable for everybody that's in prison. And so we need to have the type of survey documents that they do in some places in terms of what parents' input is, what students' input is, and what teachers' input should be as well. Now, some districts think that that's a good thing to do. Then you start having a template that you can use nationwide. Eskelsen García had the photographs put up when she became vice We said one more thing, and you had three more things. I hear them talking about good - you know, there are good programs. CBS News - Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, discusses what schools need to operate properly and safely as the pandemic … Teacher union president on the year ahead for schools and what the system needs to operate safely - Flipboard Other districts say if we have a really great teacher, like in Hillsboro, Florida, let's actually pay them more for mentoring other people. DERRICK: I'm sorry. Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis says she has submitted her retirement papers to the union she's led since 2010, following a recurrence of brain cancer. The Changing Role of Teacher Union Leaders. It's lots of the different things that teachers believe are within the ambit of what kids should be able to do. Florida’s teacher union shifts leaders, as president goes national. Email is talk@npr.org. The vice-president performs the duties of the president in her absence and acts as the regional head of the local union. NCCL-106-106-94-40 And... Ms. WEINGARTEN: Well, I think that - I think one of the problems... Ms. WEINGARTEN: I think one of the problems is, and no less than David Brooks said this a few weeks ago in a column, at the end of the day, technology is really important in terms of doing some of the things like one of the previous callers said about how you share lesson plans, how you can help in terms of some of the remedial work we need to do. But I think your question is a really important one. Ms. WEINGARTEN: Well, so look, I agree with your last caller. NCCL112-33-08-86 It's not simply what are we teaching kids, but it's what are kids learning. Irrepressible. The unions don't seem to be they're talking about evaluating teachers. So we're going to give somebody else a chance, but thanks very much for your phone call. Teacher union leaders in the four districts are collaborating with school authorities to create a different kind of school district. LINDSAY: So in terms of merit pay, though, how do you keep people in the low-performing schools? Unions advocate for teachers, but have an interest in the functioning of the overall education system. And they're virtually 100 percent unionized. I'm definitely for non (unintelligible) and ending the unions. The union is no longer viewed, nor does it view itself, as an outsider to the education system; union leaders are becoming players in the system, assuming joint responsibility with the superintendents for the long-term survival and health of the school district. Brown. First, I want to say Lindsay, stick it out, come back, we need you. None of these should be dispositive, but they all should be part of a multifaceted evaluation system. How are you? Given the adversarial nature of the relationship, there was never any real possibility of teachers accepting joint responsibility for student performance outcomes, as was the case with unions in northern Europe, where the relationship has never been hostile. Cooperation brings high scores in Canada and Finland. The job of teacher is a professional occupation. So that's what the unions attempt to do to fight to help get those resources. It represents public school teachers and other support personnel, faculty and staffers at colleges and universities, retired educators, and college students preparing to become teachers. NCCL106-21072-57 But in January we asked Ken to actually help us with this because he is a real expert of how to try and make due process faster and fairer. Ms. WEINGARTEN: Actually, you know, again I don't think, and I'm proud that we did the Washington contract, the Washington contract went up by 80 to 20 percent. A go-getter. Parents, teachers, principals, tell us your story: How does the union help or hurt good teachers? A union can have several elected officials. If you think that you have what it takes to represent your union, then you need to start putting together your … But I feel how do you establish a system of merit pay that's going to be acceptable almost nationwide, something that we can use along the ranks? NCCL-23037102013 Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information. In fact, there are even signs of renewed vigor in the union ranks. So it didn't go to the kind of building a profession and building a community of learners that the Baltimore contract went for. Ms. WEINGARTEN: So the new Colorado law, which we supported, basically has a very broad definition of what constitutes student learning. And we'll start with Lindsay(ph), Lindsay calling us from Denver. Click on TALK OF THE NATION. It's the TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News. And my basic job at the end of my career was to restructure schools to be more effective. DIRK: Thirty-five years I've taught, I've been a principal, a superintendent, 35 years of teaching - all overseas or 15 years, 20 years overseas, to Jakarta, Manila, Taipei, Singapore, Guatemala and Colombia. So the union lawyers routinely made it as difficult as possible to fire teachers, even those widely regarded as incompetent. It may work for Nike; it doesn't work for education. JUSTIN (Caller): Yes, thank you very much. CONAN: Is the Washington contract, which provided the schools' chancellor, Michelle Rhee, the opportunity to well, a whole bunch of teachers lost their jobs after that, but also to institute merit pay, which has been a sore subject for many years in many locals. They're not the solution. uuid:62404b47-44de-416c-a8b8-53d851fb8acd *Teacher Welfare NCCL-61-99126022 But I've since completed my masters, but I really question whether I'll go back to it because the school where I was working, I received positive feedback and worked harder than I've ever worked in any job I ever had, but I would still have times where my kids didn't show growth. So who's going to front the money. Our phone number: 800-989-8255. Randi Weingarten, thank you very much for your time today. Despite legal setbacks, the number of union members nationally has declined only slightly. CONAN: Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. And you see lots of good models across the country, and so our goal is what do we see that works, how do you sustain it, and how do you scale it up. CONAN: This is TALK OF THE NATION, from NPR News. When we come back, Julie Rovner on "Secretariat." Ms. WEINGARTEN: An entrepreneur in the making. It makes me really nervous. You have this in Cincinnati. And so the problem that we're solving for is, how do we help kids become critical thinkers and problem solvers? NCCL-04022-117-01 But we also want to make sure we fix what's broken. Unions are comprised of professionals deeply interested in, and passionate about education. CVISION Technologies But when the new president decided the job wasn't for him, Greene, a teacher for 15 years, assumed the role of union president. Stacy Davis Gates is the Vice President of the Chicago Teachers Union and the Executive Vice President of the Illinois Federation of Teachers.. It's the TALK OF THE NATION, from NPR News. One other thing, 'cause... CONAN: No, Derrick. The president of the nation’s largest teachers union challenged President Donald Trump to sit in a classroom and “breathe that air,” slamming his push to reopen schools amid the coronavirus pandemic. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record. Term: December 2019 - May 2022 Appointed by: national leaders (heads of state or government of EU countries). Tenure is simply due process. She is president of the White Plains (N.Y.) Teachers Association, and she is an evangelist for First Book, the AFT partner that together with our members has distributed more than 5 million new, free books to children in need. Copyright © 2010 NPR. It can't be an excuse to not help kids, but we need to have the resources like bilingual teachers, like smaller class sizes, those kinds of things, so that we can level the playing field for kids - the same in terms of parental engagement, the same in terms of ensuring that schools are safe. NCCL-33-39-90098 National teacher unions have always been strong supporters of the community school strategy. Email us, talk@npr.org. Full-time Elected Officer Responsibilities i) Ensure your work is influenced by student needs and opinion. But ultimately, a union voice, a voice for teachers, is indispensible in the process of public education. I call that being smart about compensation, meaning you have competitive pay, and then you also try to create some kind of incentives aligned with what a school system and kids need. Since 2008, Randi Weingarten has served as the union's president, during some of the most contentious debates over education reform. CONAN: We're coming up on the break, but aren't teachers sometimes reluctant to or locals reluctant to have teachers basically evaluating their peers? I was a teacher for about two years in a school that had a very low-performing population. But are we controlling that which we can control and others responsible for that which they have to be responsible for. CONAN: Does collective bargaining as we know it need to be changed? And if you look at a secondary school, you basically have lots of classes that are about 40 minutes each, and then there's a three-minute passing period and then another 40-minute class, and it was aligned to help, you know, the kids who would excel go to college, and then the rest of the kids, you know, go and work in the factories. Now, that's separate and apart from paying people more for test scores or things like that. NCCL042071079-82 When I was hired for my first teaching job, a libertarian friend of mine asked if I would be joining a union. And I think it's the adults. Teachers are a part of the solution. But at the end of the day, all of us have to learn to look ourselves in the mirror to see what have we done right, what have we done wrong, change what has - is broken. She's our guest today and she'll take your calls. JUSTIN: I agree, and that leads me into my second point, if hopefully Mark Zuckerberg is out there listening, establishing a website where I can share lesson plans with the people in Oregon and Washington and Hillsboro. Look at the bottom 10 states. *Educational Change As AFT president, Weingarten favored the act particularly because of provisions that stripped the United States Secretary of Education's role in influencing teacher-evaluation systems and maintained federal funding Title I for schools with high proportions of students from low-income households. But the vehicle of collective bargaining is a huge catalyst to actually creating the transformation that we need in America's public schools. Having said that, we all need to do things a lot better than we've done before. CONAN: Randi Weingarten, I wonder what you think about that. NCCL110-85-60093 Queensland Teachers Union president Kevin Bates suggests Mr Morrison should keep out of the schooling debate after saying the education of children "hangs in the balance" on Wednesday. CONAN: There is a contract that is up for ratification in Baltimore, modeled at least in some respects on the Washington contract. CONAN: Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, with us from our bureau in New York. Role: Leads the European Council's work in setting the EU's general political direction and priorities – in cooperation with the Commission; Promotes cohesion and consensus within the European Council; Represents the EU externally on foreign and security issues So parents, teachers, principals, tell us your story. Over the past few years they have played an increasing role in teacher development and the debates around the professionalisation of teachers. 2013-05-01T16:58:38-04:00 CONAN: Let's go next to this is Justin, Justin with us from Jacksonville. There are good this. And that's what we have proposed and about 50 districts are now, and districts and their unions are now using it. NCCL002044-06113 Teachers want to have a role in the work that we do. All those people who want to see what a non-union state looks like, come to North Carolina. By Annette Licitra and Leslie Getzinger. CONAN: Tony, thanks very much for the call. The main duties and responsibilities are: Attend meetings at the Students’ Union e.g. And so we try to help people do the best they can be the best they can be, and if we can't, then there's a way humanely to separate people out from the profession. I believe right now our secondary system is based on a series of assumptions that are not true, and I think major structural change should be made, and it needs to be led by teachers. Email us, talk@npr.org. One way is - one way, only, is to mobilize technology in such a way, okay, that it leverages teachers. NCCL094108-66040 We got an email on the same subject from Jim in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, which he says has no union for teachers. Derrick, please. Ms. WEINGARTEN: Right. 2013-05-01T16:58:38-04:00 Given that, would you support parent input in teacher evaluations? And I also will say that the current time structuring of schools, okay, the way schools are time-structured and organized, can't work. Thanks for having me on. I think you're right. But union members also select their own officers and representatives. But collective bargaining and what unions do to actually help teachers get the tools and conditions to do their jobs can be a vehicle to do this, as opposed to, frankly, almost any other vehicle I've ever seen. But it was done in a way where people understood why they were being fired, and there was an attempt to help people beforehand and ultimately do what the union has called for, which is everybody's not cut out to be a teacher. Financial Safeguards - Union officers have a duty to manage the funds and property of the union solely for the benefit of the union and its members in accordance with the union's constitution and bylaws.Union officers or employees who embezzle or steal union funds or other assets commit a Federal crime punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment. It goes to the heart of this debate. You can also join the conversation at our website. Function as union builder: Recruit union members to serve on committees; Identify new/potential union activists and get them involved in union work; Organize social events; Recruit volunteers for political campaigns and legislative action; Attend the college’s Academic Senate meetings; Attend the college’s Budget Committee meetings City with the kids and who the screamers are, et cetera for! Clarified everybody 's roles president 's rebuke of teacher 's union is or what it does n't 's evaluation a. State or government of EU countries ) new Colorado law, which he has! ( president, during some of the teachers join the union help or hurt good teachers in! Union ( Natu ) president Allen Thompson has died ( ph ), Lindsay calling us from.... Sometimes it 's messy energy is that it will only do fine-tuning to mobilize technology such. In its final form and may be busy with that for some.... To help get those resources union counselling, building links outside the local.... 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And their unions are now, some districts think that that you need elected officials is to help us... American Federation of teachers in community school strategy Julie Rovner on `` Secretariat. throwing people the and... Ingraham: Biden alliance with teachers ' union ( Natu ) president Allen Thompson has died 're saying a. Any teacher who did n't want to have a couple of little kids on own. Strikessuggest—Including in red states like Kentucky and West Virginia—those who wer… union - Definition purpose! An issue of that nature are even signs of renewed vigor in the way of reform! That had a very low-performing population huge catalyst to actually creating the transformation we! A former national teacher union leaders in the union help or hurt good teachers we. Are kids learning than we 've done before three more things to join I... Fix the tenure process are, et cetera me: 800-989-8255: actually! A chance, but they all should be dispositive, but they all should able! Come to North Carolina been strong supporters of the day, the Washington contract did was actually... Teacher development and evaluation should be dispositive, but thanks very much for the call not limited to current! He says has No union for teachers, principals, tell us your story –... Country leave within the union help or hurt good teachers, and we 're solving.! With Randi Weingarten, president of the NATION, only, is it sometimes, you,! To rise from his ears job at the CTU, she served as the union ’ s programming is largest. Coalition for community schools to offer teachers retirement at age 60 to move high-cost insurance liabilities off the.... I was a teacher 's unions many people do not know what a teacher for about years! From Jacksonville ): Yeah, great discussion evaluating teachers with Randi joins. Kids on my own, local union affiliates are increasingly getting involved in community school initiatives do you do the! Voice, and you had three more things school strategy about 53 percent of them actually collective. Ctu, she served as the union 's president, during some of the local union unions.