Teachers who choose to participate in this type of action will not put in any work hours on a voluntary basis beyond the mandatory workday, nor will they perform any functions outside the strict terms of the contract. This is a situation that is not unique to Andover; many Massachusetts public school districts have taken work-to-rule actions through the years, including other towns in the past year.
Q: Will every teacher participate?
A: The teacher’s union has no supervisory authority over its membership. Each teacher is free to decide to what extent they will or will not participate in any work action that is voted by the teacher’s union.
Q: What will this mean for my child?
A: Most students should experience little impact. Teachers must continue to perform all their contractual responsibilities during the course of the school day, in addition to any stipended or contractual activities that take place before or after school. All required duties, staff meetings, in-service training, events, programs, etc that are typically scheduled during the school work day will continue to take place normally.
Q: Will teachers provide extra help for students outside class time?
A: Teachers are contractually obligated to provide adequate time for extra-help sessions with students. If parents are concerned that this obligation is not being met, they should contact the school principal.
Q: What about extra-curricular sports, after-school clubs or enrichment programs, drama and music groups, etc?
A: Any activity or program a teacher or coach is paid to supervise will continue as usual. This includes all high school sports, middle school clubs, elementary enrichment programs, after-school band, chorus, and orchestra groups, etc. Teachers who supervise clubs, rehearsals, or other activities on a voluntary basis will need to choose whether or not to continue volunteering these services during work-to-rule.
Q: Will Parent Open House nights still be held? What about parent-teacher conferences?
A: Teachers are contractually required to conduct the Open House nights and to provide adequate time for parent-teacher conferences in the same manner as they have in prior school years.
Q: Will teachers be talking about this work action in their classes?
A: No. Teachers may not send any information about this work action home with their students, nor may they discuss the work action, contract negotiations, or any grievances during class time. If parents have any concerns about what is happening in their child’s class, they should contact the school principal.
Q: Will teachers be suitably prepared for their classes each day if they are not going to do any work outside of school hours?
A: Teachers at every level have daily planning time built into their schedules; they are also required to arrive at school 15 minutes before classes begin, to stay 30 minutes after dismissal, and to provide adequate time for extra-help sessions with students. Beyond that, it is and always has been up to each individual teacher to decide whether they will do additional preparation on their own time.
Q: Will my child's teacher write college recommendations?
A: Teacher recommendations are currently written on a voluntary basis, therefore teachers who participate in this work action may refuse to write them. However, do not automatically assume this will be the case. Your child should ask his or her teachers as planned; as always, it will be up to each individual teacher to decide whether or not to comply. Meanwhile, guidance counselors will continue to write recommendations for ALL students. In addition, the Superintendent and principal will provide a letter that can be included in any student's admissions packet explaining why teacher recommendations may be missing. Again, please know that this is a situation that is not unique to Andover; many public school districts have taken work-to-rule actions through the years.
Q: Are there other kinds of actions the teachers might take?
A: Outside of the school workday, teachers may choose to hold signs, pass out flyers, picket, or exercise other forms of their right to free speech. They are free to assemble outside the building on school grounds to do so, and we respect this right. However, signs relative to the teacher’s contract should not be posted inside classrooms, hallways, or other learning spaces within school buildings.
Q: Might the teachers eventually go out on strike if the contract is not settled?
A: Massachusetts General Law expressly prohibits public school teachers from striking.
Q: I have a question about whether one of my child's activities or programs will be affected by this work action. Whom should I ask?
A: Any questions should be addressed first to your building principal. He or she can direct you further if necessary.