How to Negotiate with Teachers

From the solutions-based book “Why We Failed: 40 Years of Education Reform” by Lonnie Palmer

An excerpt from the solutions-based book “Why We Failed: 40 Years of Education Reform.” Coming soon on Amazon.


I based my answers to the school boards’ questions on my previous experience in districts with difficult employee contract negotiations where I had to repair damage caused by long-standing contract negotiations.

I was pretty sure all involved feared being viewed as the “losers” in the never-ending negotiations battle. Saving face and pride are the two biggest impediments to settling long-expired contracts.

My answers to their questions emphasized three key points:
1. The school board needed a simple set of negotiation goals for each unsettled contract.
2. The best way to identify compromises we could all live with was with data showing how Mt. Mason compared with the other school districts in the area.
3. The school board members needed to get out of the way so the interim superintendent could settle the contracts.

Mt. Mason was too small to drive the local employee labor market. Bigger districts do that and then only to a limited degree. The best Mt. Mason could do was make certain their settlement reflected or at least moved the district closer to the norms in the region.

G o to http://www.amazon.com and search Lonnie Palmer for the solutions-based book “Why We Failed: 40 Years of Education Reform.”

Author: Lonnie Palmer

Author of the solutions-based book "Why We Failed: 40 Years of Education Reform"