Dr. Linda Lane, Superintendent, Pittsburgh Public Schools
John Tarka, President, Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers
Joanne Weiss, Chief of Staff, U.S. Department of Education
Jon Schnur, Chairman of the Board and Co-Founder, New Leaders for New Schools Across the country, rules regarding teacher accountability, evaluation, tenure and compensation are being re-written at an unprecedented pace and scale. Some recent enactments – and the debates accompanying them – have contributed to a charged political atmosphere that strains collaborative efforts.
Even as pitched political battles garner most of the public attention, there are examples of genuine collaboration and progress on even the most contentious issues. School district officials and union leaders in Pittsburgh, Baltimore, New Haven, and others have negotiated innovative contracts that upend the status quo while giving teachers a substantial role in designing new performance management, accountability, and compensation systems.
Leaders in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – a traditional union stronghold – transformed the district-union relationship from a typical, adversarial dynamic to one of deep, substantive collaboration over the course of several years. This work has catapulted Pittsburgh to the vanguard of efforts to improve teacher effectiveness, and helped secure more than $80 million in philanthropic and federal grants.
In a new paper, Forging a New Partnership: The Story of Teacher Union and School District Collaboration in Pittsburgh, the Aspen Institute Education & Society Program documents Pittsburgh’s journey. Through the voices of the principal participants, Forging a New Partnership tells the story of Pittsburgh’s breakthrough collaboration and highlights important principles that can be applied in other contexts.
Join us for a discussion with the superintendent and union president from Pittsburgh and national leaders to discuss implications from the work in Pittsburgh and the possibilities/challenges in collaborating with teacher unions to advance reform efforts. Copies of the new report, Forging a New Partnership: The Story of Teacher Union and School District Collaboration in Pittsburgh, will be available at the event and online at www.aspeninstitute.org/education on June 2, 2011.