Brookline has long been known for its progressive values, quality of life, and engaged citizenry. Today, an increasing number of Brookline residents are calling on the town’s governance bodies and departments to identify and eliminate the structural barriers to participation in Brookline civic life that keep our community from becoming more racially and economically diverse. Such barriers limit access to resources, leave bias unaddressed, and allow the growing wealth gap within our school communities to widen. The Brookline Educators Union is trying to eliminate some of these barriers through the collective bargaining process. We are attempting to stabilize and increase the racial and ethnic diversity of the school staff at every school and all job categories to better and more sustainably meet the needs of all of our students, paying particular attention to the needs of our students of color.
In order to reach this goal, the BEU is calling for a contract between the BEU and the School Committee with provisions that will:
- Attract and retain teachers from under-represented groups by endeavoring to award Professional Teacher Status (PTS), as early as allowed by law: when first hired or after their first year. PTS confers due process rights and such protections make it easier to speak out and exercise leadership. In addition, require that the central office administrators meet with these new teachers regularly to ensure that they are welcomed and supported. Brookline regularly recruits highly effective educators from other districts, who give up PTS in order to join our district. This proposal does not force the Superintendent to award PTS early and would not add additional money to the budget.
- Hire individuals from the Brookline and Boston neighborhoods of our under-represented students into much needed job categories of paraprofessionals — building, lunch and recess monitors and building aides with a dignified, living wage. This will help address the problem of over-scheduling and under-staffing, opening up needed time for teachers and specialists to prep and meet with students and one another, and limit the pulling of paras from their assigned students to cover these duties.
- Pay all educators enough to give a more diverse staff the capacity to gain and maintain a foothold in the middle class if they make a career in the Public Schools of Brookline. The BEU is asking for a 9% cost of living increase over 3 years.
Hiring and retaining the diverse staff our schools depend on requires funding staffing and scheduling that demonstrates respect for the dignity of teaching. Unfortunately the school district has moved in the opposite direction; rejecting our proposals and threatening to impose a contract on educators that would increase the length of the K8 school day for no pay, weaken the right to uphold the contract through grievances, and limit exercise of autonomy by teachers. That stance is damaging morale and making the district less attractive to talented educators.
This community has always stood with its educators and we hope you will join us now in our call for a contract that will attract and retain a more racially and ethnically diverse staff to meet the needs of all our students.
COMMUNITY MEMBERS–PLEASE SUPPORT EDUCATORS BY SIGNING THIS PETITION: