Boston Teachers Union reaches tentative agreement with Boston schools


Schools

The agreement “is about putting in place best practices,” said Boston School Board Chairman Jeri Robinson.

Mayor Michelle Wu and Boston Teachers Union President Jessica Tang during the announcement of the tentative agreement at the AFT convention in Boston on Thursday. Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

The Boston Teachers Union and Boston Public Schools have reached a tentative contract agreement that aims to overhaul the way the city’s school system approaches special education and restructure the district’s inclusion policy.

The deal was announced Thursday morning by union president Jessica Tang and mayor Michelle Wu at the American Federation of Teachers convention at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

The agreement specifically targets an overhaul of the district’s special education by reducing class sizes and strengthening collaboration among school employees to better assess the needs of students who have Individual Education Plans (IEPs). and/or who are learning English, according to a press release from BPS.

“For too long in Boston, students with disabilities and their families have faced a system that neither recognizes nor provides what every child deserves,” Wu said in the statement. “I’m proud of an agreement that supports our educators and takes concrete steps to build a model of special education and inclusion that will help us make Boston a city for everyone.”

In a report released in May, the State Department of Elementary and Secondary Education raised major concerns about BPS’s inability to properly manage its core operations, including essential academic supports for education. special and English language students.

Last month, as part of an agreement to avoid a potential state takeover of BPS, the city pledged to redesign services for these students. The agreement between BTU and BPS appears to embed those promises into the district’s contract with BTU’s 10,000 teachers and other school professionals.

The tentative agreement also makes “significant progress” in improving the district’s inclusion policies and practices, according to school officials.

In the press release, the two parties tout the agreement “will facilitate a higher level of collaboration between general education, special education, related service providers and support staff to implement and model a district fully inclusive school”.

Specifically, the district will expand inclusive practices to increase “opportunities for all students, regardless of their level of need.”

“As educators, the needs of our students are our number one priority and this agreement lays the foundation for achieving what we call ‘inclusion done right’ for the benefit of all Boston Public School students,” Tang said in a statement. “We believe that when fully supported and staffed, all students benefit from inclusive and equitable classrooms. This means working collaboratively to consider the learning experiences and needs of students with disabilities and the needs of English learners and ensuring that those most affected have a voice in creating the conditions for success.

Boston School Board Chairman Jeri Robinson said the agreement “is about putting in place best practices.”

“This agreement takes important steps for our children to ensure their needs are met and ensures that – particularly with regard to inclusion – we collaboratively improve our policies and practices for the benefit of our students,” Robinson said in a statement. communicated.

Other commitments in the agreement include assurances that BPS will have the necessary academic supports for all students through data-driven decision-making, provide more funding for staff training, grant adequate planning time for teachers, to create a liaison position for inclusive education until 2026-2027. the school year and the granting of paid parental leave to all education personnel, among other provisions.

Once the union has ratified the contract, the school committee can vote to approve it at a future meeting.



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