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Joint Negotiation

A new report published by the Scheinman Institute reveals a greater level of joint decision-making in the Annual Professional Performance Review process for New York state teachers than commonly believed.

The performance review system, adopted across all school districts in New York in 2012, evaluates the quality of teaching by public school teachers.  

Any teacher rated “ineffective” two years in a row is subject to an expedited hearing for potential dismissal, whether or not they have tenure.

Many believe that this system pits teachers’ unions and school system administrators against each other.

However, the Scheinman Institute argues that labor and management – local teachers’ unions and school districts – are actually collaborating through negotiating local agreements and establishing subsequent appeals procedures.

While the Annual Professional Performance Review system is statewide, its ratings process includes local measures and appeals procedures.

Over half of New York state’s school districts include a joint panel of representatives from both school administrations and teachers’ unions in the decision-making process.

Almost 70 percent of panels have an equal number of teacher and management. In 18.5 percent of panels, managers outnumber teachers, and in 2.7 percent of panels, most members are neutral parties such as outside evaluators.

From this data, the Scheinman Institute concludes that the widespread use of joint panels involves both teacher and management representatives to resolve appeals introduces a collaborative element into the appeals process.

The evaluation system as a whole requires negotiations between teacher unions and the school district. Even though the system appears to entrench the labor-management conflict by giving unchecked power to school districts, it actually encourages cooperation and compromise, according to the institute’s findings.

This research was conducted as part of the Scheinman Institute’s Bargaining for Better Schools project, a multi-year research and public policy project on the state of labor-management relations in New York state schools.