“Teachers now feel that their voice matters and they’re accepted as professionals. Treating teachers as partners in education, not robots, will help improve the quality of education in our parish and the morale of our educators,” said JFT President Cathy Johnson. “We’re thrilled that this school board has a better understanding of what kids need to succeed—commonsense, research-based education reforms and teacher input, not top-down, corporate-driven ideology that doesn’t work to improve student achievement.”
Three years ago, the previous school board created a firestorm in the community by disrespecting its educators, refusing to acknowledge they were part of a union and rejecting their long-standing contractual relationship. Parents, teachers, students, businesses and other community members succeeded in electing board members who wanted to work with teachers. Tonight, they took a giant step in that direction by reinstating collective bargaining.
“This is a long time coming,” said Louisiana Federation of Teachers President Steve Monaghan. “It is a tribute to the teachers and school employees who worked to change the face of the Jefferson Parish school Board, to the voters who supported our public schools at the ballot box, and to the board members who dared to speak truth to the power of the old board.”
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said, “This board understands that the path to student success is making sure educators have the authority to make a difference in the lives of kids. That happens when teachers have voice. That’s why they went into teaching. Teachers need to be seen and heard.”
The new three-year agreement will expire June 30, 2018, and covers more than 3,000 teachers and other school staff. It is considered a “slim contract,” Johnson said, noting it marks the start of renewed collaboration with school officials.