2012 Labor-Management Conference Retrospective

Uploaded by usedgov on 29.05.2012

Last year we kind of tiptoed around some of the tough issues. This year's conference has
got to go deeper - it has to go to more action strategies and I believe with the people in
this room and throughout this meeting we're going to get to some really concrete steps.
Number one to me it's an affirmation that collaboration works. It's not something pie
in the sky or made up. You look around this room and there are teams of school districts
and of states who are saying this isn't just a phrase, we're making this work. And number
two it's really a celebration of what's going to happen in the future. This is our opportunity
to take collaboration and really change the system and make it work for every student
in America. These are folks who really get it. Who get
the importance of collaboration - not around the status quo - what I call tough-minded
collaboration to get better, that get the sense of urgency and actually many of them
are getting the remarkable results for children because of their hard work together.
Everyone is facing the same challenges so it's nice to know that others are dealing
with the same problems we are dealing with. The work is hard, it's very challenging.
That everybody has to be on the same page, moving in the same direction for any types
of improvements to happen. When you have one group pitted against another group, it's a
negative for everyone. I think that the most important thing to remember
is this connection, obviously, between collaboration and student achievement but the people that
really benefit very frankly are the children and that's what we're all about.
I love the fact that there were districts that were showing their wares and talking
about all the different types of collaborative opportunities. I picked up several brochures
and information that I know will help our district.
We actually have to think about the skills teachers bring into the classroom. Part of
it is clinical, part of it is content and part of it is we have to care about kids.
So we have to mesh all of this together. Some of it is the preparation, but some of it is
the ongoing continuous professional development we have to have once we're in schools because
there has to be that alignment. So when we talk about it people think it's mushy, but
if engineers talk about it its real work, if lawyers talk about it its real work, if
doctors talk about it its real work. This is part of our real work - the preparation
and continuous development of teachers if we want kids to succeed.
I think to have this prioritized nationally, to make that expectation and to hold us accountable
not just once a year so this feels like a ribbon cutting ceremony, but that this feels
like our job. Collaboration is our job. That's what I'm hoping to get out of the next day
and a half. I really appreciate people sharing the difficulty
they went through and now their sharing the success and I really appreciate it.
To get the big picture of what's happening nationwide, to see what's happening in different
places that are different than what's happening with us in New York and really what sort of
similar things that are happening. It was nice being able to talk with my counterparts
from different places in New York and from different places in the country.
Again, it's very important to talk and communicate and build trust to always say to what end.
And to what end is how we dramatically improve student achievement as fast as we can, increase
graduation rates, reduce the dropout rates. As we will work together. We believe in the
vision of changing the system of public education and I think the proof will be when we actually
show it in actions across the country in districts and in state teams. This is an exciting time
and I can't wait until a year from now and we look back at all that has been done as
a result of this conference.