Labor Management Conference Focuses on Elevating the Teaching Profession
By Amy Buffenbarger
Union leaders, state and district school chiefs, and school board leaders from 41 states and more than 100 school districts will meet in Cincinnati, OH this week to exchange ideas and share lessons learned in boosting the stature of the teaching profession.
The teams will tackle issues such as better recruiting, preparation and career development, and evaluations based on effectiveness at the 2012 Labor Management Conference, titled “Collaborating to Transform the Teacher Profession.”
Sponsored by the National Education Association, U.S. Department of Education, the American Association of School Administrators, the American Federation of Teachers, the Council of Chief State School Officers, the Council of the Great City Schools, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, and the National School Boards Association, the event brings educators and administrators together to discuss how they can best partner to improve student achievement.
“It is reassuring that union members and leaders can come together with state and local administrators to talk about what we’re doing to ensure the success of all our students, and develop plans that promote continued collaboration and positive results,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel.
Late last year, Van Roekel introduced NEA’s plan to help advance the union’s goals of leading the teaching profession. The NEA’s Three-Point Plan for Education Reform revolves around increasing the quality of teacher candidates before they ever reach the classroom, ensuring teachers remain at the top of their game throughout their careers and improving student learning by improving the teaching profession.
Showcasing their collaborative work, NEA members will present as part of state teams from Delaware, Kentucky and Massachusetts. Presenting district teams with NEA representatives include Olathe Public Schools Unified School District 233 of Kansas, Montgomery County Public Schools of Maryland, Springfield Public Schools of Massachusetts, Syracuse City School District of New York and Salem-Keizer Public Schools of Oregon. The second day of the conference will include comprehensive workshops to further explore what is needed to develop a successful plan for collaboration to improve student achievement.
“There are innovative and creative partnerships happening in our public schools every day. We need to continue to share these best practices and talk about what’s working, so that more school districts can benefit and join us in working to transform our schools into world class institutions of learning,” said Van Roekel.
The labor management conference is an annual event in its second year. Last year’s conference, “Advancing Student Achievement Through Labor-Management Collaboration,” in Denver, Colorado allowed attendees an opportunity to learn about “what works” from 12 presenting school districts that demonstrated success in building a collaborative relationship between teacher union leaders, superintendents and school board leaders. Those successful relationships helped craft innovative policies such as teacher and administrator evaluation plans, compensation plans, professional development opportunities, and strategic direction setting at a time when collective-bargaining rights were under attack in several states.
Watch NEA President Dennis Van Roekel live from the plenary session at 1 PM EST on Wednesday, May 23 on the Department of Education’s Ustream channel. To see Tweets from the conference, follow the #LMConf12 hashtag or www.twitter.com/NEAMedia.