â€œEnhanced student achievement based upon high standards and expectations must be the driving force behind every activity of New York City public schools. To accomplish this, we must reinvent schools so that decision making is shared by those closest to students, including parents, teachers, administrators and other stakeholders.Â Layers of bureaucratic impediments must be peeled away so that flexibility, creativity, entrepreneurship, trust and risk-taking become the new reality of our schools. Before the millennium, the factory model schools of the 1900s must make way for the child-centered schools of the next century.â€
â€”First paragraph of the Agreement between the Board of Education of the City School District of the City of New York and United Federation of Teachers, Local 2, American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO
â€œIf you try to follow the contract to the letter and try to run a school that puts kids first, you canâ€™t.â€
â€”New York City Intermediate School Principal
The contract between the Board of Education of New York City and the United Federation of Teachers is 204 pages long. It covers many matters of concern to teachers who work in the cityâ€™s schools: work loads, compensation, assignments, evaluation, promotion, pension and retirement programs, dismissals and layoffs, to name only some. In consequence, it has a substantial impact on the way education is conducted in New York City.