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Personal Contracts in the Education System: A Step in the Right Direction, but Hardly Enough.

Avrum Tomer, Kohelet Policy Forum researcher of education policy, comments in a Makor Rishon article on the merits of the Ministry of Education’s declaration to allow some teachers to work for the Ministry through personal contracts rather than collective agreement.

The declaration has caused some turmoil, although it only implements a provision from last summer’s agreement between the Israel Teachers’ Union and the Ministry of Finance. According to the new arrangement, teachers can choose to personally negotiate their own contract, rather than be bound by the collective agreement signed by the union. Such contracts would potentially increase their salary but require them to give up the advantages of seniority and tenure.

Teachers now have a choice – do they want the chance for a better salary alongside a risk for future employment, or job security for less pay?

A case study in Wisconsin, which in 2011 found itself in similar conditions, shows that the teachers who mostly benefit by their ability to personally negotiate their contract are the better teachers (as measured by student performance before and after their instruction), while mediocre teachers are the beneficiaries of the seniority system. These are, in fact, the teachers whose interests Yaffa Ben-David and Ran Erez actually serve.

Unfortunately, only those teachers joining the workforce today can take advantage of the choice offered – teachers who are already part of the system have no choice but to accept the collective agreements settled on by the union. 

In future negotiations – such as the upcoming agreement with the Association of Teachers in High Schools and Colleges (Irgun Hamorim) it is important to not only make such choice possible but to include existing teachers as the beneficiaries of that choice.

For the full Hebrew article: https://www.makorrishon.co.il/opinion/655865/

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