I believe a fair teacher's contract is one that represents educators' need for fair salaries and working conditions. Essentially it's a contract that demonstrates ways to use resources well to support teachers so they can serve students and families well.
Of course negotiating a fair contract brings many perspectives to the table, but essentially what's important is keeping the main questions forefront, questions such as:
- What does an educator need in order to do a good job by students and families?
- How can resources be maximized in order to serve educators well so they can serve students and families well?
- Beginning with the greatest obstacles to good work and working down the chain, the fair contract tries to create as many just and fair conditions as possible to create an optimal teaching/learning organization.
In the best of circumstances, there's little need for secrets with regard to a fair contract. In fact, I believe greater transparency serves a fair contract well. I also believe that the thoughts from all stakeholders matter in this regard.
Of course one of the biggest questions with regard to fair contracts is how much do you want to spend when it comes to schools and teachers?
Typically teachers go where the money and good working conditions are. As with most things, you get what you pay for. I heard a citizen commenting lately that the school committee should look elsewhere for educators who would love to get lower salaries and teach in our town. He even recommended an international search. The problem here lies in the fact that when the educators arrive in our town they still have to eat, find housing, and take care of their loved ones which costs a lot so they would need a suitable salary.
A fair contract relies on all involved bringing forth their best ideas for a top notch educational community where all educators, students, families, and staff are respected, treated fairly, and taken seriously with regard to their ideas, thoughts, and efforts.
It's an interesting journey working towards a fair contract, one in which I'm happy to participate in and learn from.