Bad Bill Alert – Protecting Failing Schools

This Bad Bill makes it harder for superintendents to fix failing schools. The bill, “An Act to restore collective bargaining for teachers and other school employees” by Rep. Marjorie Decker (D – Cambridge) would require the teachers’ union to approve any changes made to improve a failing school. This would make it harder to educate some of Massachusetts’ most vulnerable students.

Under the current law, schools that are proven to be failing their students can be taken over by the state and forced to follow a “turnaround plan.” This can mean longer school days, more individualized education for students, firing particularly bad teachers, and/or additional state aid to the school. Only schools that are doing extremely poorly, such as the Holyoke Public Schools, which has the state’s highest dropout rate, are subjected to turnaround plans.

These plans have been proven to work in Massachusetts and throughout the country. Essential to their success is the ability to force change on an institution that isn’t working. If teachers’ unions have to approve every aspect of the turnaround plan, they will be far less successful. When schools are failing, teachers are never the whole problem but they’re often part of the problem. Letting them veto the solution is a recipe for educational disaster.

This bill is great for teachers’ unions but bad for our most vulnerable students. Children stuck in failing schools are having their chance at a college education and a good job stolen from them. Those kids deserve better and Beacon Hill shouldn’t be making it harder to fix failing schools.

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