CTU Membership Votes Down Tentative Agreement with Cleveland Schools

[photo: Michelle Faust/ ideastream]
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by Michelle Faust

The Cleveland Teachers Union goes back to the drawing board, after a Thursday vote tally showed members rejected a tentative contract with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

Fifty-one percent of union members voted down the tentative agreement.

CTU President David Quolke says he has a few ideas as to why members defeated the contract by a narrow margin.

“The excessive amount of testing we do: people don't think we address that and a strong enough manner. You know? The evaluation system: we began to make it a fair evaluation. I think our members think we didn't go far enough,” says Quolke.

So, what’s next?

Quolke says the CTU will survey members for further feedback. CMSD CEO Eric Gordon and Quolke both say they will return to negotiations in the coming weeks.

Though the tentative agreement had prevented a strike that would have begun September first, the vote to reject the contract does NOT mean teachers will strike in the immediate future.

Two elementary teachers led a campaign against the agreement, distributing a flier that encouraged CTU members to vote no.  It said the tentative contract allows – quote – “same abusive amount of testing” and said it’s “bursting with vague, open-ended rhetoric.” 

David Quolke says in more than 30 years in the union, he’s seen disagreements before.

“We've had political caucuses and everything over the span of those years. You know I don't know if I'd characterize it as a rift. When you take a look at these issues, these are people who are very passionate about the job of public education,” he says.

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