Friday, April 25, 2014

Why Classroom Experience Matters » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

Why Classroom Experience Matters » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names:



Teacher Seniority

Why Classroom Experience Matters

by SETH SANDRONSKY



Marcos Breton, a veteran columnist for The Sacramento Bee, one of 30 newspapers The McClatchy Co. publishes, did it. In “Sacramento’s teachers have won this battle,” April 13, 2014, he bashes these union members, and inverts logic:
According to him, kids in the Sacramento City Unified School District’s poor neighborhood schools and Jonathan P. Raymond, former superintendent of Sac City and 2006 graduate of the Broad Superintendents Academy, won when the Sacramento City Teachers Association lost.  Breton writes: “It was Raymond who beat the union in court, allowing the district to sidestep teacher seniority rules at low-income campuses as a means of making sure nothing got in the way of putting strong teachers in struggling schools.”
The context to Breton’s column was the SCUSD’s April 9 withdrawal from the California Office to Reform Education waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind. Rick Miller is CORE’s executive director, and Principal in Capitol Impact, LLC (limited liability company), a private consulting firm, with West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon and Sacramento City Councilmember Jay Schenirer.
The SCTA played a role in the SCUSD’s withdrawal from the CORE waiver in part through joining forces with other unions and activist community groups. SCTA allies included the Service Employees International Union, Local 1021, the Black Parallel School Board and Hmong Innovating Politics: solidarity works.
I return to Breton. His remark against teacher seniority does not add up.
Breton assumes what he fails to explain: how and why experienced teachers are weak, and what actors and factors weaken them for the poor students in their classrooms.
These are no academic debate points. We know that the seniority of SCUSD teachers, years of learning the craft of classroom instruction with kids from varied backgrounds, in part determines these workers’ pay.
Why is this so? Labor (SCTA) and management (SCUSD) collectively bargain seniority rights in contract talks.
Apparently, Breton views this contractual arrangement as shortchanging low-income students. By his reasoning, readers might expect a brief explanation of what makes teachers with much less experience, say Why Classroom Experience Matters » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names:

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