Oklahoma City American Federation of Teachers

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Text of AFT President Ed Allen’s Address to OKCPS Board of Education, June 20, 2011

I wanted to speak to you tonight about the Oklahoma City AFT SHARED ACCOUNTABILITY AND RESPONSIBILITY BLUEPRINT, which we officially released today.

Our BLUEPRINT calls for a drastic and immediate departure from the ways of the past.  We believe all stakeholders must change their ways if we want great schools.

The Union – District relationship has never been better, and Mr. Springer is the most open and reform-minded Superintendent I have ever worked with, but our relationship can and must be more.

I am not meaning to be disrespectful to anyone in our district; everyone has made great efforts to improve our schools – just not always the right efforts.

The District’s Strategic Plan is not creating a buzz among employees about change or why they, themselves, should change.

Our BLUEPRINT outlines changes all of us need to make, because no one should get a pass on education reform.  The Union is proposing bold action to improve our District.  We are willing to make changes in our seniority system, discuss different ways to compensate teachers, and we are offering a slimmed-down contract for new schools, to see if less regulation improves student achievement.  Other reforms are also proposed.

Now we are asking you to do your part. 

One way is to allow a community leadership team, which the District and AFT would be part of, to help develop, oversee and promote our reform efforts.

Our problems are too big, and our past successes too small, to believe we can transform our schools on our own.  We need respected leaders to help sell the changes that are needed.

Our SHARED ACCOUNTABILITY AND RESPONSIBILITY BLUEPRINT clearly demonstrates that the Union is not stuck in the past.  In fact, our feet are firmly planted in the future.  We ask that you and others join with us so that all have an ownership stake in changing our District.

Please do not underestimate how difficult it is to successfully reform a school district.

A better partnership must be developed, and it is time for you and others to seize the opportunity presented to you tonight.

Ed

Ed Allen

President