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Failed teacher contract negotiation requires state intervention

Boston is facing a state deadline to enact a new teacher evaluation system — that is, a reliable method to identify weak teachers and a timely process for terminating those who don’t respond to improvement plans. The Boston Teachers Union and city officials had been hinting for weeks that they had reached a basic agreement on such a tool. But now that agreement has collapsed.

The state Division of Labor Relations has the authority to appoint an independent fact-finder who, unlike a mediator, makes specific written recommendations on how to resolve the contract dispute. The Menino administration has requested such intervention. The Boston Teachers Union wants to continue negotiations. But there is no evidence that more time spent around the bargaining table will be fruitful. In fact, a mediator has canceled a negotiation session scheduled for Friday.

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