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Nov 052012

On November 3rd, a State Department of Education Arbitration Panel rendered its decision and award in the collective bargaining agreement between the Norwalk Board of Education (BOE) and the Norwalk Federation of Teachers (NFT) for a successor agreement to the existing contract following the end of the 2012-13 school year.

Both parties met 3 times for direct negotiations and after that with a mutually agreed mediator, on 2 occasions, but failed to resolve outstanding issues and so the collective bargaining agreement went into arbitration.   Below is the decision and award in its entirety along with the BOE and NFT  Briefs.  Also included are exhibits that benchmark Norwalk’s contract items against other teacher contracts  in cities and town around Connecticut.

NORWALK 2012 11 AWARD (3)



Norwalk Teacher Arbitration Brief 2012 FINAL 10-19


Norwalk BOE Exhibits 1 thru 18

Norwalk BOE Exhibits 19 thru 37

Oct 082012

The Norwalk Federation of Teachers Contract Arbitration will take place on Friday, October 12, 10am to 4pm; Saturday, October 13, 10am to 4pm and Sunday, October 14, 1pm to 6pm in Norwalk City Hall, Room 300.

This is a formal hearing before an arbitration panel that will take testimony only from witnesses designated by the Board of Education and the NFT.

There will be no public comments permitted although the public may attend to observe the proceedings.

Agendas for the three day hearings will be published when released.

Jul 152012

One of the weaknesses of the reform legislation passed this spring in Hartford was that nothing was done to move educator quality forward by getting rid of the Last In First Out Policy (LIFO) and the forced placement and  bumping that takes place in the event of a reduction in force.  The poor economy is forcing municipalities across the U.S. to  lay off teachers, administration and support staff.  But in lean times, are the best performers being let go?  What is in the best interests of the children?  Norwalk will be handing out pink slips in the next week or so whereby nearly 90 staff will be let go.  Between the layoffs and bumping procedures, every school will be impacted.

Hopefully, in the next legislative session, the State of Connecticut will introduce other factors for consideration, besides the date of hire, in the event that the economy does not improve the tax base or that Norwalk receives its fair share of ECS revenues and more forced reductions  are required.

We have published the seniority lists of the NPS administration and teachers for parents of the different schools to view, so as to better understand the impact of the LIFO process versus performance.  We will be publishing the support staff seniority list shortly.   We have also included an op-ed from the former chancellor of the Washington D.C. school district.

Copy of administrators seniority512

Copy of teachers72012

NFEP Groups 1_2_4_5_6_7_8

Below is an editorial written by Michelle Rhee is the former chancellor of Washington, D.C., public schools and the CEO and founder of StudentsFirst.org, which advocates teacher evaluations and eliminating tenure and making policy decisions based on students’ needs.

End ‘last in, first out’ teacher layoffs  By Michelle Rhee, Special to CNNFebruary 23, 2011 5:47 p.m. EST

(CNN) — State leaders across the country are confronting some of the toughest decisions they have ever had to make in order to balance their budgets amid a massive financial crisis. As a parent who has worked in education for almost 20 years, knowing that budget cuts will soon hit education is far from my ideal.

A wave of layoffs will likely happen this summer, and my group, StudentsFirst.org, calculates that at least 160,000 teachers are at risk of losing their jobs. What makes this even tougher on kids is that the majority of the country’s states and school districts conduct layoffs using an antiquated policy referred to as “last in, first out.” The policy mandates that the last teachers hired are the first teachers fired, regardless of how good they are. As it stands now, teachers’ impact on students plays absolutely no role in these decisions.

When we fold “last in, first out” policies into the budget crisis, our children stand to lose some of the best teachers in the country unless states work very quickly to erase the policies from the books. Most people know by now that international tests show our kids perform behind other developed countries, and far too many American students are graduating without the skills and knowledge necessary to compete for high-skilled jobs.

One thing is clear: We will not reverse this trajectory or regain our global standing without the powerful work of America’s great teachers. Especially now, the status quo won’t do. We have to be more competitive than ever, not less. Yet in almost every state across the country, the last in, first out policy is softening America’s competitive edge.

In difficult times like this, it may be easier to turn a blind eye to the compelling connection between teachers and our future long-term prosperity. We cannot do this to our kids. If we want to come out on the other side of this crisis with public education stronger, we have to do everything possible to keep our best teachers in the classroom. Last in, first out policies actively work against this goal. Here’s why:

First, research indicates that when districts conduct seniority-based layoffs, we end up firing some of our most highly effective educators. These are the inspiring and powerful teachers that students remember for the rest of their lives, and our nation will lose more of them with every such layoff.

Second, last in, first out policies increase the number of teachers that districts have to lay off. Because junior teachers make less money, schools will lose more teachers and more jobs as long as these policies are permitted by law.

And finally, last in, first out disproportionately hurts the highest-need schools. These schools have larger numbers of new teachers, who are the first to lose their jobs in a layoff. High-income areas have more stable systems and fewer new teachers, and they are less impacted by budget cuts. Students who live in these poor areas can’t afford to lose their best teachers on top of those cuts. Yet last in, first out will drain the school systems of their best educators in the neighborhoods that need them the most.

We cannot afford to ignore the effect that such a policy has on kids. It’s time to act.

The bottom line is layoffs should be based on teacher performance and effectiveness, not seniority — regardless of whether the teacher is new or been in the system for a while. Achievement varies from student to student, and so I support a “value-added” growth model that effectively measures a teacher’s impact on student progress.

In early December, I launched StudentsFirst, a national movement to defend the rights of children in public education. Our first major initiative is the national Save Great Teachers campaign, in which we’re urging states to make policy changes ridding the nation’s public schools of harmful last in, first out polices. Those who want legislators to revise state policies should visit StudentsFirst.org to find out what they can do to help.

Together, we can save great teachers by working to hold districts, boards of education and state legislators accountable. Let’s eliminate outdated policies and give our children the quality education they deserve.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Michelle Rhee.


Jun 202012

Today, ConnCAN released its Teacher Contract Database, an online interactive database providing unprecedented access to teachers’ contracts from 173 out of 174 local education agencies (LEAs), including traditional public school districts, regional districts, charter schools, and the state vocational-technical high school system.

This Teacher Contract Database represents the first time in state history that school boards, superintendents, teacher representatives, policymakers and community members will have a reliable statewide source for all things contract-related. This is the kind of transparency policy makers have been asking for.

For each contract, ConnCAN presents core information, including (among other things): union affiliation (CEA or AFT); number of teaching days; number of days without students; workday length; salary; compensated professional development days; reduction in force provisions; and evaluation procedures.

The ConnCAN Teacher Contract Database will allow users to access analyses of key contract provisions, district-to-district comparisons, and information on state trends and notable contract provisions.

We know that many, many teachers work much longer days than what is required in their contract. However, when disputes arise or reforms are sought, the contract is a document that guides decisions and work rules and we believe that we must, therefore, look closely at what these contracts stipulate.

The Database was inspired by a 2007 National Center for Teacher Quality (NCTQ) effort creating a national teacher contract database for select cities, including New Haven and Hartford.


Click here to access the database: