I would like a third union to represent me. The union would be solely focused on protecting students’ rights to innovative, humane, experiential pedagogy, and teachers would be certified and placed by that union as representatives of its mission. It would be like a mash-up of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, ISTE, the American Bar Association, Carney, Sandoe & Associates, and William Morris.
The union would evaluate teachers’ work against it’s mission criteria, certify teachers who satisfy that criteria, contract with school divisions to place teams of these teachers in the divisions, and negotiate terms and contracts (including housing/moving allowances and the union percentage) on individual teachers’ behalves, including assurances to protect and advance the teachers’ work in designing students’ authentic learning.
Such assurances might include provisions like these:
- The division will provide the teacher with 1:1 computing environment using mobile computing devices.
- The division will provide the teacher with a 1-time infrastructure grant and access to state vendors to redesign his or her assigned learning space.
- The division will facilitate permissions for the teacher to publish at-will on his or her work in open-access environments.
- The division will facilitate permissions and support the teacher in publishing for-profit with profit sharing between the teacher and his or her school and/or division.
- The division will allow the teacher to manage available technology and provide tech support for the teacher to do so.
- The division will facilitate parent opt-out of testing or agree to hold the teacher harmless for end-of-course standardized tests scores so long as other achievement measures, such as reading inventories, and deliverables are submitted on time and at reflect a high level of learning and quality.
- The division will facilitate fair and equitable access to placed teachers.
- The division will facilitate – with revised, but sensible policies – field trip and student-publishing regulations and parent permissions to allow for ready community partnerships, service learning, and project-based learning outside the school.
- The division will provide time with an employed or contracted programmer for x/y hours per week where x is the programmer’s available time and y is the number of placed teachers.
- The division will allow teacher oversight of partnerships with donors and community partnerships who benefit the classroom in kind with teachers subjected to monthly reporting and auditing of donations.
The teacher deliverables might include things like:
- Publishing apps, curricula, and action research in a for-profit partnership with the division and a collaborating publishing company, journal, and/or software developer.
- Presenting at the local, state, and national level about the work of students in the division.
- Developing and maintaining interactive exhibits of student work on division web pages .
- Providing the division, union, and partners with feedback about the placement.
- Establishing teacher-run schools and/or programs governed by boards of placed teachers, students, parents, and community partners.
- Developing assessment criteria for experiential learning in partnership with teachers placed at other sites to validate new kinds of learning measurement.
- Developing experiential assessments and correlating their results to students’ literacy gains and standardized test scores in alike cohorts over the course of the placement.
- Serving as in-class mentors and partners for 3-5 apprentice teachers in a shared, inquiry-driven learning program
- Overseeing the development and implementation of virtual programs, including mentoring such programs’ teachers.
I would want the union to kick my tail during the certification process so that neither I nor any perspective employer would doubt my capability to fulfill the union’s mission. I would also want a robust social network to support my professional development and help me with any improvement plan. I mean, I would want the process to take years and involve a lot of iteration and demonstration of the teaching and learning such certification would merit. I would want to be turned down a few times and offered targeted feedback on the areas in which I would need to improve to be certified.
The union would use something like a composite index to measure the fiscal health of partner divisions and place surcharges on wealthy divisions to help subsidize the placement and provision of union teachers in needier districts.
What do you think? Untenable? Unnecessary? Unavoidable?