Teachers Union Reacts To Governor's Education Initiatives

This article is more than 12 years old.

The governor's new pieces of education legislation are raising concern among teachers' union officials.

Gov. Deval Patrick unveiled two proposals Thursday to overhaul education. One would allow the state to take over 30 of the lowest-performing schools by turning them into so-called readiness schools. Patrick says the readiness schools will be more flexible and won't be as bound to teacher union contracts.

But Paul Toner, vice president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, says he worries faculty may not have enough of a voice in creating the readiness schools.

"We certainly feel a sense of urgency for addressing chronically underperforming schools, and for giving school districts an opportunity to do things a little differently," Toner said. "However, we feel that teachers and their local teachers' associations need to have more of a role in how that process takes place."

Patrick's other proposal lifts the limit on how much certain districts are allowed to spend on charter schools. Currently, districts may only spend 9 percent of their budgets on charter schools. The new bill would allow the lowest-scoring 10 percent of school districts to spend 18 percent of their budgets on charters.

Toner says he agrees with the governor's charter school plan in principle, but worries it could draw resources away from public schools.

"We're very concerned that this isn't really going to help those school districts," he said. "It's going to do more damage to their ability to provide services to the neediest students-- most of whom go to the regular public schools."

HEAR ALSO: State Education Secretary Paul Reville outlines the governor's education proposals on WBUR's Morning Edition.

This program aired on July 16, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.