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The Learning Curve

The U.S. department of Education wrapped it’s first national summit among teacher’s unions, school administrators and board members.  The summit, concluded on February 16 and was billed by Education Secretary Arne Duncan as a ground breaking effort to build trust between unions and school administrators.  

Duncan told reporters during a conference call that schools should ban “last hired, first fired” policies.  Just as districts should not lay off only older teachers simply because they are paid more.  

“If you have to make tough calls, you have to figure out for the most disadvantaged communities how to keep your best talent.”  Duncan said. Education Secretary Duncan promised union members he’d stick up for them in states where governors have vowed to shut down teacher’s collective bargaining rights.  

Referring to Rep. Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to all but eliminate the bargaining process of most public employees.   Duncan said “We’re going to do everything we can to bring Governors to the table.”   Two big districts missing from the summit were New York City and Washington D.C. schools who pulled out of the conference at the last minute because of ongoing disagreements between teacher’s unions and district management.

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