DPS and DFT issue Joint Covenant with major reform initiatives

MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 24, 2009
Contact: Steven Wasko at 313-873-4542 Jennifer Mrozowski at 313-873-8401

Or Contact:
Margaret Weertz, Detroit Federation of Teachers at 313-689-2346

Detroit Public Schools Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb and Detroit Federation of Teachers President Keith Johnson on Tuesday released a Joint Covenant that listed eight major reform areas that the new teachers contract will include:

– Peer Assistance and Review
– Meaningful jointly-determined professional staff development
– Best practices at Priority Schools
– Shared decision-making
– School-based performance bonuses
– Teaching Fellows Program (not to replace a certified teacher but to engage in team-teaching)
– Comprehensive teacher evaluation system
– New schools development
“We are currently at the point in our negotiations where significant reforms are being finalized,” Bobb said. “There are several major reform initiatives that will change how we educate children in the 21st century for Detroit Public Schools.”

The DFT members will have chance to vote on a new contract in December at Cobo Hall. A date is to be determined. There is a two-week ratification process.

“We need to embrace, define and take ownership of this profession. We need to identify those quality initiatives known as best practices,” Johnson said. “We are not going to improve education by doing the same things. We have to do something different if we are going to improve.”

Johnson and Bobb said the bargaining teams are 98 to 99 percent complete in negotiations and are planning to resume next week after the Thanksgiving break.

The joint covenant is below:

DPS and DFT Joint Covenant

The nature of our roles as union and management is that we may disagree on issues, but never on focus. Our mutual focus is to provide the best learning environment for all of our students, at every school, in every neighborhood across the district. We jointly, with all of our resources, commit to transform the Detroit Public Schools through this historic and evolutionary contract. This contract will include:

– Peer Assistance and Review
– Meaningful jointly-determined professional staff development
– Best practices at Priority Schools
– Shared decision-making
– School-based performance bonuses
– Teaching Fellows Program (not to replace a certified teacher but to engage in team-teaching)
– Comprehensive teacher evaluation system
– New schools development
We understand that to achieve what we set out to do, we must eliminate bureaucratic impediments to allow flexibility, creativity, entrepreneurship, trust and risk-taking to become the new reality in our schools.

We mutually agree to transform our schools. We challenge ourselves each day to improve student learning, based on academic rigor, newfound flexibility, meaningful assessments, and true accountability of administrators, teachers and staff, parents and students. The standards we hold for our students must never be lower than those we hold for our own children. To accomplish this, we must focus on each instructional and each operational change to support the children and adults in schools, whom we expect to meet these rigorous challenges.

The academic reforms and increased level of accountability for all those responsible for instruction and instructional support of our students are meaningless unless we simultaneously ensure a comprehensive education with adequate books, supplies and technology for students and staff.

We must also guarantee a safe and secure learning environment for students and staff.

Change must be service-oriented, supportive and sufficiently flexible so that each school’s educational vision becomes a reality. Change must be practical, possible, efficient and timely. Respect for each other and for each student must be unconditional.

Together we will transform DPS. Our students deserve no less!

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