The Cleveland teachers union made it clear yesterday that unions can absolutely be part of the solution, not the problem, in establishing a kids-first agenda in education reform.
The Wall Street Journal highlighted a landmark instance of cooperation in Cleveland, Ohio yesterday, where Democratic mayor Frank Jackson united with the local teachers union to take major steps towards education reform. The union and the mayor worked collaboratively to design a new law allowing for a kids-first teacher evaluation system that will include evidence of student achievement, real adult accountability, and a salary structure that will allow the district to recognize and reward excellence to ensure they can keep their best teachers in the classroom.
This crucial example of collaboration illustrates that teachers unions and legislators can and should work together to do what is best for kids. While we have seen far too many instances of teachers unions attempting to fight parent power and defend an indefensible status quo, the reform agenda set forth by Frank Jackson and the Cleveland teachers union demonstrates how working together can establish positive, progressive reforms for students, teachers and schools. As a progressive, pro-union organization, Parent Revolution believes that the agenda of parents and teachers is far more aligned than the defenders of the status quo are willing to acknowledge, and that we can never fully transform public education throughout the country until all stakeholders come together and consistently decide to put kids first. Yesterday’s news was just another proof point that this vision is possible when progressive teachers unions and leaders like Mayor Jackson decide to put politics aside and work together for children.