Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Who's in the box, who's out?

I am continually amazed by the perceptions of the media in Colorado when talking about DCTA. Our recently retired Executive Director, Bruce Dickinson always told us that it's hard to be a prophet in your own land.

Across the country, DCTA is hailed as a progressive teachers union; willing to try new things; and even called "out of the box" which led to becoming charter members of the Teachers Union Reform Network . Some other teachers unions resent us and feel that we crossed the line when it comes to alternative compensation. Though most were intrigued by the thought of
DCTA starting a school next fall, we even heard "there goes DCTA again... what are they doing now?" Yet, our friends in Denver continue to bash us for being too "in the box."
Oh, the irony...

I must remind you that DCTA (THE TEACHERS UNION) worked with the district to create the first CDMs in the country, Instructional Issues Council, School Leadership Teams, Beacon Schools, and ProComp. All of these efforts were groundbreaking in CO and are being modeled across the country. We did all of this so that we could work together to increase student achievement.

We also put together our own suggestions on how to increase student achievement called "Promoting School Success." In fact, both papers wrote supportive editorials about our plan.

I am very proud of our union members, and their willingness to try new things. Now, we are working with the district on case loads for Specialized Service Providers, and the Professional Practices Work Group to revamp our induction, mentoring, remediation, evaluation and dismissal processes. By the way, everything listed was negotiated and agreed upon by our teachers.

Are there other teachers unions like us in Colorado? Is DCTA in or out of the box?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

NCUEA Fall Conference

This weekend, Melissa (VP), Lawrence (Treasurer) and I are attending the fall conference of the National Council of Urban Education Associations. We spent time in various sessions. I chose to attend sessions on new teacher induction, mentoring, and web enhancement. We also spent time on new business items pertaining to education funding, the development of a teaching learning institute, and issues related to the reauthorization of NCLB. It's a great opportunity to learn about things happening across the country, network, and gather resources to support DCTA programs. We are always asked about ProComp, and spent time talking with various unions about the settlement also.