Los Banos teachers union considers new standards

cpride@losbanosenterprise.comAugust 22, 2013 

— The Los Banos Teachers Association wants to talk about the common core state standards.

The teachers union, which negotiates its contract annually with the school district, is asking that some concessions be made in preparation for the planned overhaul of how students are taught.

In 2010, California became one of 45 states poised to implement the common core standards, which encourage critical thinking over memorization, embrace collaboration and integrate technology.

The switch to common core is scheduled in the 2014-15 school year.

"We do have the right to control on tremendous subjects of bargaining such as educational objectives, determining course curriculum, modified schedules, selection of textbooks and materials ...," said Anthony Parreira, president of the teachers association. "We want to participate and be part of the process."

The state recently approved a new funding method for schools. Parreira said he'd also like to discuss the district's implementation of the new formula.

Discussions needed

School board President Chase Hurley said he agrees with Parreira on having discussions about funding, but is uncertain about the need to negotiate common core.

"From my perspective, I think a lot of your employees already bought into common core. They spent a lot of their time working hard with Gustine Unified on a program, working hard to put a presentation on for other teachers," Hurley said. "I think we're headed in the right direction."

Parreira said developing a common core curriculum will be more work for teachers.

"Instead of giving you something right out of the box, you're going to be preparing something. We need to talk about how long it's going to take to do that," he said. "Common core is not following a script."

School board Trustee John Mueller said teachers used to provide their own curriculum so common core is really going back to the old way of teaching. Parreira said the district must remember there are young teachers who have never created their own curriculum.

"They're going to need background and training," he said.

Parreira said negotiations between the district and the teachers union can begin as soon as a date is agreed upon.

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