When it comes to school evaluations, student grades by teachers probably come to mind. However, the winter of 1985 saw the teachers of the Boston Teachers Union (BTU) confront a very different kind of assessment: the Boston Public School (BPS) administration and its evaluation of its teaching staff. The cartoon below, published in the January 1985 issue of the Boston Union Teacher, captured the problem: busybody administrators and superintendents looking for reasons to fail teachers and keeping them from educating children. What was going on that school year and how did teacher evaluations play a role?
Just a few quiet minutes to yourself to eat lunch, every day – everyone deserves that, right? Well, for decades Boston educators, especially elementary school teachers, did not have a guaranteed right to a duty-free lunch.
That’s why the BTU made it one of their earliest contract demands.
The calls for a duty-free lunch started early. The Boston Union Teacher newspaper for December 1963 included “duty-free lunch” in a list of topics to discuss at an upcoming membership meeting at the Hotel Bradford. (Side-note: The same issue contained a touching memorial to John F. Kennedy, whose sudden assassination shocked the world only the month before on November 22, 1963.)