Letter from MSAD #41 Educator's AssociationJune 13, 2010 - TRCDear Citizens of MSAD 41:As teachers of your children, we believe it is important to communicate clearly our commitment to the quality of education here in SAD 41. We believe that every student in our district has the right to the best education possible. We believe that quality educators are critical to ensure that.Contract negotiations began over a year ago with a proposal from teachers including new language supporting professional growth, time for collaboration amongst teachers and a modest benefit package designed to attract and retain quality teachers. Because of worsening economic conditions the teachers' association is willing to accept a proposal that includes none of the above and has no pay raises for the next two years. They do this with the hope that this will keep programs intact for students. This "no raise" contract still sits un-ratified by the school board even though each side has already reached tentative agreements on each paragraph in the contract. This inaction is troubling as it creates an atmosphere of distrust and the appearance that the School Board is not focused on what is best for students.Volunteer activities such as chaperoning dances, raising funds, and taking students on overnight trips always enhance the quality of an educational experience but there is little research to say these are what create a high quality learning environment.Attracting and retaining high quality teachers, ensuring a collaborative and trusting working environment, and increasing the amount of relevant job embedded professional development opportunities are widely supported district actions that research indicate DO improve student learning. None of these were supported in the contract now held up at the school board level. None of these were communicated in progressively limiting proposals offered by the School Board. Instead, SAD 41 teacher salaries were not only made less competitive but good will for providing additional services and trust in a system that supports quality education is now severely hampered between teachers and administrators.Please urge your school board members to keep their eyes on what really matters, providing high quality, well supported educators for every student in SAD 41. MSAD #41 Educator's AssociationNOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.