Friday, January 15, 2010

Teacher Contracts, Unions and Technology

[Note: This post in not for or against the union or the Minneapolis Public Schools. Both sides have negotiated in good faith to make a contract happen. This post is simply stating the facts and exploring the consequences of the failure to agree on a contract.]

The Minneapolis Public Schools and the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers failed to agree on a teacher contract by the January 15th deadline.

As a result, the district faces a penalty of $25 per student. The Minneapolis district has 33,000 students. I used Google to do some math, just to make sure I did it right. That's 33,000 students multiplied by $25 per students. Google says that is $825,000. [Did you know Google could do math?]


I'm focusing on the students. That is why I teach. Do I make enough money? No. Do I make what I'm worth? Probably not. Could I make more money doing something else? Sure. But I'm here to teach and it is about the students.

So what's the consequence?

MacBooks (education discount) = $900.00. That's 916 laptops for students or 31 classrooms that could be 1:1.

Netbooks = $300. That's 2750 netbooks or 92 classrooms that could be using technology for research, writing, and learning.

iPod Touch = $200. That's 4125 Touches or 138 classrooms that could be interactive.

$825,000 not going to student engagement.
$825,000 not going to student knowledge.
$825,000 not going to student learning.

It's about the students. $825,000.

[I'm not sure where the fine money goes. I should look into that. I'm guessing it isn't for technology in the district.]

[Figures based on classrooms of 30 students]


Dan McGuire said...

Next comes the blame game; who's fault is it that an agreement wasn't reached by the deadline. You'd think a group of adults who were committed to students could get the work done on time. I've talked to people on both sides of the negotiating table and it sounded to me like the district was really slow about getting to work. It was almost like they planned on the delay. If the district's letters to teachers (which are questionably legal) announcing the non-agreement had been drafted a couple of weeks ago, as was reported to me, and vetted by the legal department, do think the plan was in place a few days before the deadline?

Alan Stange said...

What an odd sanction to impose on both participants in negotiations. It is rather as if they lined three children up against a wall and threatened to do them harm if the two sides could not agree.

Knaus said...

@Alan, great analogy. It truly is the students that suffer.

@Dan. I've heard the rumors. No matter what happens/happened, it's lost funding for tools. That's no good.