PSU has been working on issues of teacher quality/equity since 2004. At that time we wanted to call attention to the inequitable distribution of qualified and experienced teachers throughout the district. Based on school based surveys and the real experiences of our members we collaborated with the Education First Compact to come up with a Teacher Quality/Equity Platform. We also held a public hearing at City Council that was presided over by Chaka Fattah. We renewed our commitment to this campaign this year, because of the timeliness of the teacher contract negotiations. We are currently organizing to build support for teacher incentive grants, which are pots of money that hard to staff schools could use for a number of incentives to attract and retain qualified and experienced teachers. Some of these incentives could include: more coaching and support, more resources for supplies and materials, smaller classes, extra planning time, financial incentives, and other things. We believe that it is the responsibility of the District, the PFT, and state, and the city, to make sure that teachers have the support they need to go to the schools that need them the most. Using surveys of teachers from hard to staff as well as easier to staff schools, we engaged in creative actions, testimony at the SRC, and created a student-produced video to call attention to this issue. Now the contract has been extended for 60 days until October 31, and we are still working to ensure that we see a change in the equitable distribution of teachers and the implementation of teacher incentive grants.
Research for Action’s "Closing the Teacher Quality Gap"