California Educator

May 2014

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Advocacy Bargaining I T ' S A B O U T T H E L A N G U A G E , not usually the money. That's the consensus of leaders and staff around the state who have negotiated consultation pro- cesses and agreements, or memorandums of understanding (MOUs), for Common Core State Standards (CCSS) implementation. The better MOUs lay out a well-defi ned process to deal with issues that may arise and include teachers from the beginning. Some issues are not mandatorily negotiable. "If it's good for kids and improves learning, good school districts are talking about those issues at the bargaining table anyway," says CTA President Dean E. Vogel. To be fair, there are "bad actors" and districts that are not collaborating and not including teachers when planning and implementing the Common Core State Standards. Here, though, are three that are doing it right. Lennox In October the Lennox Teachers Association and the Lennox School Dis- trict agreed to a memorandum of understanding creating a Common Core State Standards Committee to oversee Common Core implementation and determine the expenditure of CCSS funds available to the district in the 2013-14 state budget. The MOU ensures that the nine-member committee has a majority of fi ve LTA members, with the LTA president and the dis- trict's director of instructional services serving as co-chairs. "After intense organizing by our members around the concept of shared decision making, the district was pretty cooperative in getting this going," says LTA President Brian Guerrero. "We bargained hard on some minor changes to our initial proposal, but they ultimately embraced a committee structure that shares power in a tangible way." Guerrero sees the agreement as a chance for teacher-led curriculum development and signifi cant change from the top-down, pre- scriptive approach to curriculum creation that had often overwhelmed teachers in a school district struggling to meet state standards without the modern textbooks necessary to do so. To help with the process, LTA has also looked to factors leading to success at the district's four QEIA schools, including Bargaining school improvement, professional development Implementing Common Core State Standards Compiled by Dina Martin, Mike Myslinski and Frank Wells teacher-driven professional development, frequent teacher collaboration, smaller class sizes, and principals who are also curricular leaders. LTA has actively engaged its membership throughout this process, conducting site visits, small group meetings, and one-on-ones to gather opinions and concerns about Common Core, bridging materials, staff development, and the technology needed to successfully implement the new standards. While some feel the process is slow, LTA's early efforts have put its members and the school district ahead of many others when it comes to suc- cessful CCSS implementation. LTA is using the CCSS implementation process as a model for Lennox's Local Control and Accountability Plan development to allocate new state funding. Madera How did the Madera Unifi ed Teachers Association estab- lish a Common Core Steering Committee in their district? "It wasn't easy," says MUTA President David Holder. "We've been pushing since November. It took persever- ance to get it done." Fresh from coming off of contentious bargaining that brought the chapter to the brink of a strike, Holder and MUTA First Vice President Amanda Wade began pushing for more involvement in Common Core implementation in their district. They talked to administrators and went regularly to board meetings to let them know they weren't going to back away from that mission. The result is a memorandum of understanding between the chapter and the Madera Unifi ed School District that was signed in early April. The MOU establishes a commit- tee of 10 elementary and 10 secondary teachers who will work with a team of administrators in identifying priori- ties, making recommendations regarding expenditures, and communicating with the classroom teacher. "That's what it gets back to, the classroom teacher," Holder says. "We're not going to sit on the sidelines and LTA looked to factors leading to success at the district's four QEIA schools, and engaged its membership throughout the process. 34 M AY 2 0 1 4 Educator 05 May 2014 v1.6 int.indd 34 5/16/14 3:21 PM

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