Growing coalition pushes for new kind of Philly teachers contract

A group calling itself the Coalition for Effective Teaching is calling on the Philadelphia School District and the city teachers’ union to think about more than dollars and cents when negotiating the next contract. They’re pushing to pick teachers not just based on seniority.

There are four new members to the Coalition for Effective Teaching, including the Urban League and Congresso.

Sharmain Matlock-Turner of the Urban Affairs Coalition says her group joined to send a unified message to both the teachers and the school district.

“The right teacher in the right classroom absolutely matters, putting together a school culture and a school climate, getting everybody on the same page makes a huge difference on whether or not schools will be successful,” said Matlock-Turner.

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Donna Cooper of Public Citizens for Children and Youth says the coalition want to make important changes in the classroom, not just focus on school budgets.

“Our goal is to put conditions into the union contract that support the thoughtful changes that well informed teachers know make schools great and we know based on research can help children succeed,” said Cooper.

The group wants to give principals the power to select teachers for their schools and choose which ones would be brought back from layoffs.

The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers strongly opposes both ideas. The teachers’ contract expires next month and it’s not clear how many of the 3,800 employees the district laid off will be back on the job in September.

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