Tuesday was the first day of class in two weeks for some Catholic students in the Philadelphia area. The Association of Catholic Teachers Local 1776, negotiated for several months, went on a two-week strike and finally reached an agreement on Sunday night.
With 17 schools and 16,500 students in the area, the strike affected a large part of the high school population.
“Our teachers could not be happier to head back into the classrooms,” Rita Schwartz said, union president. “We have been waiting a long time for this day, and we are relieved that it’s finally here. Now it’s time to get back to the real work which is educating our students.”
One of the disputes was over teachers’ job security. “Our teachers stood strong and solid on the picket lines to defend their jobs, and we are so grateful,” Schwartz said. “The negotiation team could not have gotten this agreement if it were not for the commitment and support of our teachers.”
Another concern was that the Catholic education system wasn’t incorporating up-to-date technology in the classroom. Terms agreed upon in the contract include a few technological updates. GradeConnect, an online grading and course management system, will replace previous grade books. Additionally, the contract implements all National Education Technology Standards, and teachers are expected abide by these new guidelines.
With all major disputes settled, and a new contract set in place, both teachers and the Catholic diocese are glad school is back in session. Though most students agreed that the strike was beneficial to the teachers, they’re concerned that their learning will suffer.
“I thought the strike was bad for our school, bad in general,” said 17-year-old senior, Kevin Neumann. “Now we’ll have to rush to learn everything.”
Via The Times Herald
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