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Discarding Rules to Give Teachers a Say

Organization and Leadership professor Thomas Sobol supports the United Federation of Teachers' proposal for a wide-range experiment that eliminates inhibitive work rules as a way to give teachers a greater say in how schools operate. "It imposes constraints in how you can organize, schedule and operate schools, [and] it has been an excuse for not doing anything," said the former New York State education commissioner about the rigid mandates currently imposed upon teachers.

Sobol's comments are in follow-up to UFT's proposal for 75 to 150 schools to pare-down rules that govern everything from the length of classes to the amount of teacher preparation time. In exchange, principals would work more closely with their staffs, allowing them more flexibility as well as the chance to help develop their individual schools' work rules. "That sounds so enlightened," Sobol said, "it puts me on my guard."

The article, entitled "Teachers Barter With Work Rules" appeared in the September 16 edition of the
New York Times. previous page