Posts Tagged 'collective bargaining'

Teacher Contracts Could Be More Like Sports Contracts

key-peele-teaching-center-1By Nick McDaniels – Key and Peele’s “TeachingCenter” skit made me laugh and got me thinking. It’s funny to think about a classroom play-by-play announcer. It’s interesting to think about ways pro-teachers could be more like pro-athletes.

Athletes in some of the major sports benefit from strong unions and strong collective bargaining agreements. In fact, the only time I ever will root for Tom Brady is in Federal Court as the NFL’s fixed appeals process gets challenged and we forget all about deflated balls. There are so many ways that teaching jobs are different than professional sports jobs, not including salary amount, that comparing the collective bargaining agreements across these sectors would be interesting, but not very helpful.

Here’s something to think about, though. What if teachers and schools systems could not only negotiate salary and benefits, but also terms of service? What if, as a teacher, while enjoying base collective bargaining structures, I could also sign a 5-year guaranteed contract for a different compensation package? In this way, we could allow the base CBA to serve as a base for salary and benefits, but could allow teachers to bargain for longer-term, bigger-money contracts.

Imagine a young teacher, who after two years of service (what seems to be the average life-span of many teachers now), is excelling in the classroom, but is, like many millennials, perpetually considering a career change. What if that teacher or, wisely, the school system that should fight to keep this teacher in the classroom, could enter into negotiations that would rapidly increase salary, but would force a teacher to sign on for a longer term of years?

Perhaps a teacher, like, King James, could take her talents elsewhere for a 10 year contract. Perhaps a really great teacher who is considering retirement could sign a one-year more lucrative deal. Perhaps a teacher could build their own incentives. This could address what I see as one of the major problems and central destabilizers of our education system: Teacher turnover.

Allowing teachers to earn more based on their own negotiating ability, while also allowing schools to sure up their “roster” for years to come, could radically change the way we look at school staffing. Such an idea could be the darling of “reformers” who want to see innovative CBAs, but it would not erode hard-fought collective bargaining structures. “TeachingCenter” may be tongue-in-cheek, but then again, Key and Peele, like usual, may be onto something.

Any teachers out there who would like to test the free agency waters?

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