Madison school board’s Ed Hughes: Don’t extend Teacher Union contract without rethinking hiring process

Pat Schneider:

It’s not a good idea for the Madison School District to extend its labor contract with teachers through the 2015-2016 school year without renegotiating it, says school board member Ed Hughes.

Hughes wants Madison School District administrators — especially school principals — to have the ability to offer jobs to the best teacher candidates before they are snapped up by other districts.

One way to accomplish that would be to drop a labor contract provision giving Madison teachers the opportunity to transfer into open positions before external candidates can be offered those jobs, Hughes says.

“To take the collective bargaining agreement in its current form and just change the date without any discussion, to my mind, is creating a potential impediment to our important efforts to attract a highly qualified and diverse workforce,” Hughes said Tuesday.

Hughes said that a labor contract that includes a “last hired, first fired” provision also hampers efforts to hire teachers with experience in racially and ethnically diverse classrooms.

“Why would someone with 15 years experience in Janesville come to Madison and be the first one on the chopping block if there are layoffs?” he asked. “I’m not proposing a specific solution, but we need to address these issues in a collaborative way so we’re not handcuffing ourselves from bringing in the best teachers.”

Related: Act 10, Madison Teachers, Inc and Ed Hughes.

Emphasizing adult employment: Newark School Reform and retired Ripon Superintendent Richard Zimman.

Mr Hughes wrote one of the more forthright quotes on local school matters in 2005:

This points up one of the frustrating aspects of trying to follow school issues in Madison: the recurring feeling that a quoted speaker – and it can be someone from the administration, or MTI, or the occasional school board member – believes that the audience for an assertion is composed entirely of idiots.

Tea leaves: Mr. Hughes was just replaced as President of the Madison School Board. Interestingly, he ran unopposed in three (!) elections. The candor is appreciated, but were there similar comments during the past few years?