Mediation Continues; No New Agreements

Bargaining teams for both the KSD and KEA, along with the two mediators, met briefly today.  This was followed by about 8 hours of work in separate rooms for both teams.  No new agreements were reached during thus far.  Both teams will be back at the table tomorrow.    Let’s hope that both sides are moving towards an agreement!

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7 Responses to “Mediation Continues; No New Agreements”

  1. Got boxes? Says:

    When I took a look at the class size numbers presented yesterday for distribution to parents and the community, it looked like we were not that far apart from KSDs class targets and overloads. Especially in the middle school and high school levels.

    Does this mean we are getting closer to agreement on class size?

    I noticed we are still way far apart as to how to deal with caps though. District wants the teacher to wait over 4 weeks before a decision is made about what to do. And if the principal and teacher can’t agree on a solution, then the superintendent is supposed to make the final decision.

  2. teacher Says:

    Keep barganing team!!! I want a contract to vote on this Monday. I agree that it looked like just how to deal with the caps seems the biggest issue. The district needs to realize that 4 weeks is a LOT of learning impacted…. I also understand that they are probably waiting for those transient students to balance the numbers. I really think we can work this out!! Good luck team!! I know you are working hard for us!

  3. parentwhovolunteers Says:

    What about multi grade and subject classes?
    It seems like this is becoming a trend of getting just below a threshold number – I would think this is extra work for teachers and some students do not learn as well in this type of set up. I did not see this mentioned in KSD’s Workload Proposal dated Sept. 3 on their website. I am a parent, but I would think having to do two curriculums and teach two groups of kids at the same time is extra work – plus not the best for our kids. If I am right, I hope we get this in the contract and I hope it restricts the use of these types of classes (administration seems to use this to get just below the numbers – a shell game??)
    (by the way, I sent KSD Admin. a note about this)

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      This problem is not just in the Elementary School. At Kentwood, all Honors classes have been done away with, in favor of a “Blended Honors” model in the 9th, 10th, and 11th grades for English and Social Studies. Instead of having separate Honors classes, where the pacing can be faster and the depth of the curriculum more intense, any student in a “Blended” class can choose the Honors option. That means that they do additional projects or assignments to earn Honors credit. The belief behind this is that it will increase the likelihood of students enrolling in Honors and AP classes that would not otherwise sign up. The problem is, with all levels from the lowest ELL and SPED kids to the highest college bound students in the same room, a teacher may have to differentiate to 4 or 5 different levels of ability. Put 36 kids into this environment, and the teacher ends up having to choose where to spend the most time: focus on the low kids, and the high ones aren’t challenged. Focus on the high kids, and you get a high number of failures for kids that can’t keep up. At some point, nobody is served adequately. This model might work, if the class sizes made more sense.

  4. Steve Says:

    It would appear to me that the two sides are indeed pretty close on class size. The kicker, however, is in the remedy if/when a class goes into overload status.

    The language in the KSD proposal says, in effect, if they don’t want to remedy the overloaded classroom, they don’t have to. The proposal to cap class sizes at ANY number is a fool’s errand if the teacher has to wait for FOUR WEEKS minimum just to meet with the principal to discuss a remedy. Then, if no agreement is reached, the Superintendent gets to decide on the remedy.

    Anyone want to guess as to how or when this gets resolved?

    Now compare the KSD proposal to the contract in Auburn:

    If a class is in overload status on the first day of school, a three-hour per day para-educator must be assigned within two weeks. Once the school year begins, if/when a class hits overload status, the District has to provide compensation if a three-hour per day para-educator is not placed into the classroom in a timely manner. Teachers may also choose a compensation remedy if/when a class goes into overload status, although this choice is rarely made.

    With these remedies in place, everyone knows ahead of time what happens when you get student number x that puts you into overload status.

    In any class size agreement, KEA needs to be sure there are clear, real, and specific remedies to make sure any class size caps are real, and not subject to the whims of the administration.

    Anything less, and KEA and KSD will be right back where they started.

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      Exactly, Steve. We’d all like to believe that they are “close,” but we really don’t know. If KSD refuses to accept language that holds them accountable for making sure that class overload or other issues are dealt with in a timely manner, then any class size language we do get will be meaningless. KEA’s Bargaining Team will not bring us a toothless contract.

  5. veteranteacher Says:

    Thanks, Parentwhovolunteers. You are exactly right about the split classes. Having both taught and having had my own child in many split classes in Kent, I have concluded that what you say is right on. It isn’t just about HOW MANY students, but the make-up of the class that makes a difference. Also, breaking up classes, students, and teachers from their familiar routines, requirements, and expectations during the school year is a HUGE disruption to the education of students. This class size proposal stands to disrupt classes throughout the school year. If there is no provision for maintaining intact classes and not moving teachers and students against their will during the school year, this class size proposal will do more harm than good.

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