by Andrew Walden
After stalling to the last possible moment, the HSTA last night announced it has agreed on a six-year contract with Abercrombie’s DoE. This is a double victory for HSTA. Not only have they almost certainly destroyed Hawaii’s chances at imposing even the slightest teacher accountability measures by killing RTTT, but before the Obama Administration comes out January 23 to inflict the coup de grace on Abercrombie’s DoE, the HSTA is scoring what is likely a very favorable contract. Ironically, it is the pressure to save RTTT which brought this contract about. HSTA has almost certainly killed RTTT and in pretending to save it, they have captured a contract “en passant.”
The negotiations apparently began in earnest immediately after the US Department of Education December 21 warned Abercrombie: “because of Hawaii’s unsatisfactory performance during the first fourteen months of the grant, we are placing Hawaii’s Race to the Top grant on high-risk status.” After a series of private conferences between HSTA and State lawyers, the December 22 hearing for HSTA’s desultory HLRB complaint was adjourned until January 5 without taking any testimony.
There had been no response to a December 14 warning from Education Week which pointed out, “If Hawaii Doesn’t Lose its Race to the Top Money, Something is Wrong.” This is the key to understanding why the HSTA contract is not going to save RTTT. The Star-Advertiser is a DoE mouthpiece. The editors’ choice not to print anything about the EdWeek article indicates that the DoE/BoE/HSTA is preparing to lose RTTT and want the reasons to be as obscure as possible from the public. They think they can convince people to believe that the HSTA contract settlement really is a last ditch effort to save RTTT.
The six year contract term puts HSTA’s next negotiations in 2017—perfectly timed to disrupt the 2018 gubernatorial elections. In this they will, of course, follow the model used in 2009-2010 by HSTA/BoE/DoE to give the governor's chair to Abercrombie by forcing furlough days onto instructional days and then mobilizing a gaggle of Abercrombie’s Manoa liberals to blame Lingle for HSTA/BoE/DoE’s decision.
The HSTA Board has voted unanimously to approve the contract and is recommending a ‘yes’ vote by teachers.
Unknown at this point is the effect the HSTA contract will have under HGEA’s “favored nation” clause. HGEA is already arguing that the earlier UPW contract settlement triggered “favored nation”.
All three contracts will have an impact on the State Budget, thus creating pressure for tax increases or legalized gambling.
HSTA President Wil Okabe told reporters: "This particular contract for the first time in the history of HSTA, we have a six year contract. So it will start from this year and go all the way till 2017. So therefore it recognizes professional development, and gives respect back to the teachers for what they do in the classroom. Once 2013 comes, we'll have a new salary construct and will get back to the 2009 salary of the teachers. Because throughout these four years we'll have a reduction in pay. As you know, this past year teachers have taken furloughs but on non instructional days we will continue to take furloughs."
According to HNN, “Under the new agreement there would be no random drug testing.”
The Star-Advertiser reports:
Officials said a key point of concern for the Obama administration revolves around Hawaii's dispute with teachers, which has stalled progress on a number of key initiatives, including reaching an agreement on revamped teacher evaluations.
U.S. DOE reviewers are tentatively scheduled to visit the islands the week of Jan. 23, during which they'll look for "clear and compelling evidence that demonstrates that it (the state) has made substantial progress across its Race to the Top plan," according to a letter to the governor from the department.
The settlement comes one day after Abercrombie, interviewed by Beth Ann Kozlovich on HPR laid responsibility squarely at the feet of the HSTA:
"If the conclusion of the HSTA leadership is that they do not want to have Race to the Top...then they'll have to take the responsibility for it."
This finger pointing combined with the contract settlement implies that Abercrombie is letting HSTA walk away with all the marbles even though he knows it is too little, too late to save RTTT.
Remember, its for the keiki.
Civil Beat: Abercrombie On Race To The Top: Teachers Union Deserves Blame
Education Week: If Hawaii Doesn’t Lose its Race to the Top Money, Something is Wrong
Big Victory for HSTA: Obama Admin Seizes Control of Hawaii RTTT Funds
Victory Achieved, so End in Sight for HSTA's Complaint Against Hawaii?
Precisely as Predicted: Four of a Kind: UPW, UHPA get big Fat Pay Raise—and HSTA suit could give one to HGEA
Statement on Reaching an Initial Agreement with HSTA
News Release from www.Hawaii.gov/gov January 6, 2012
Honolulu – The State of Hawai'i and the Hawai'i State Teachers Association tonight came together to agree on moving forward for transforming education. Both sides have reached an initial agreement. Governor Neil Abercrombie, Department of Education Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi and Board of Education Chairman Don Horner issued the following joint statement:
“We are pleased we have reached an agreement in principle.
“Our focus remains on working together to ensure Hawai'i will secure its Race to the Top grant, which lays the foundation for transforming student learning.
“We recognize that teaching is a profession that guides student achievement and we are committed to making the necessary changes in providing the best learning environment for teachers who excel in the classroom.”
In a statement to the state’s teachers HSTA president Wil Okabe said:
I am happy to announce that HSTA and the State have come to a tentative settlement on our collective bargaining agreement. This tentative agreement was unanimously approved by the HSTA board of directors and recommended for ratification vote by DOE and Charter School teachers.
Details of the tentative agreement will be posted on the HSTA Members Only website. We will notify you when more detailed information is available via e-mail sometime next week.
Thank you for your patience and support during this difficult process. We look forward to seeing you at our ratification (dates to be announced).
I would also like to thank the negotiations team, committee, and HSTA state officers for their hard work and commitment to reach this agreement on your behalf.
Hawaii State Teachers Association President
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HSTA Members can view the contract: HERE
The contract has not been released to the media. HSTA members should feel free to forward a copy to editor@HawaiiFreePress.com so we may post it online.