In a move that seemed to defy logic, the Connecticut Education Association (CEA) on behalf of its local affiliate the Milford Education Association, filed a complaint claiming that a popular software program, specifically designed to make easier the process of completing paperwork following a Planning and Placement Team meeting (PPT) for a special education student, in fact increased teachers’ workloads. In the case filed with the State Labor Board, the CEA alleged that the software program took teachers nearly twice as long (one to two hours more per student) to compete an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) than it previously took to do it in long hand. The workload of the teachers complaining involved in some cases as few as 6 students.
Rejecting the claim that there was any impact, let alone, substantial impact, the Labor Board dismissed the Union’s case noting that the complaining teachers were simply not comfortable with technology and or refused to avail themselves of technical support offered by the school district, the Milford Public Schools.
Had the Labor Board found that there was a substantial impact, the decision could have presented a significant burden and exposure to those school districts using the software system known as IEP Direct. Thankfully, the Labor Board exercised common sense, something the CEA should have done before undertaking a three year long battle and causing at least two school districts to expend significant resources, because a handful of teachers complained that a computer software program took them more time to prepare a report than doing so by hand.
For those interested, the case Milford Board of Education and Milford Education Association, SBLR Dec. No 4574 (2012) can be accessed via the state labor board’s website.