by Max Brantley
The Little Rock Classroom Teachers Association has issued a statement responding to the drubbing they got from the School Board and the superintendent in a Democrat-Gazette report on a recent board work session. Theme: many on the board want an end, or a severe limitation, on union representation of teachers
The education of the students in the Little Rock School Distrct has been the basis for the contract between the School Board and the Little Rock CTA, which was originally signed nearly 40 years ago. It has been updated annually to keep up with changes in education and culture and to continually meet students needs. The Board and the CTA further agreed that developing and fulfilling the highest quality educational programs reqauire harmonious working relationships between board members, administrators and teachers.
We were extremely disappointed in published reports that some board members are willing to do away with this agreement, which is the foundation of the positive relationships that have developed among teachers, administrators and board members over the years. We are comitted to working with the board's representatives in an atmosphere of mutual respect and professionalism to achieve the best possible learning environment for our students.
We are committed to an agreement that supports district-wide teaching and learning standards in every school in the district and for every student in the district.
We see the agreement as a mechanism for change in the district as well as a vehicle for giving teachers a professional voice in policies that affect their ability to learn effectively.
We believe an agreement between board members, administrators and teachers that sets down clear expectations and policies to help teachers and other school employees meet those expectations is necessary for a school or district to run smoothly.
The first sentence of Article I of the present contract says, "The Board and the Association recognize their responsibilities toward each other and to the community for negotiating in good faith to reach agreements which are mutually satisfactory."
That is what we are doing and that is what we plan to continue doing. We firmly believe that people of good will can reach agreement on what is best for our children, even if it requires compromise on both sides. We are meeting with the Board's representatives in the belief that they are operating on the same principle.
Are they, Supt. Brooks?