Leadership magazine May/June 2015 V 44 No 5 - Page 12

Effective labor-management partnerships This district’s partnership is about more than civil cooperation. Labor and management actually work together to improve student achievement. 12 Leadership I n recent years, there has been mounting interest in building strong collaborative relationships between labor and management as part of school improvement efforts. The U.S. Department of Education has sponsored national conferences about collaborative models of school improvement each year since 2011. Organizations such as the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, the American Association of School Administrators, the National School Boards Association, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, the Council of the Great City Schools and the Council of Chief State School Officers have been co-sponsors. At each conference, approximately 100 school district teams that include the superintendent, local union president and the board of education president learn more about labor-management collaboration from other districts across the country. I have been asked numerous times to share at these conferences how ABC Unified School District in southeast Los Angeles County created and sustained a successful labormanagement partnership for over 15 years. The power of collective capacity It’s encouraging to recognize that the importance of labor-management collaboration is growing. Michael Fullan, professor emeritus at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto notes: “The power of collective capacity is that it enables ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things – for two reasons. One is that knowledge about effective practice becomes more widely available and accessible on a daily basis. The second reason is more powerful still – working together generates commitment.” Many of us are aware that systemic change requires collaboration, especially in imple- Mary Sieu