80% of success may be showing up--though not apparently in Newark

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Some interesting facts in the wake of Newark's contract negotiations with its local teachers union. When it comes to sweet leave deals, it would appear that teachers there have it made. Students? Not so much.

Newark teachers get 18 days of leave each year, compared with a meager 10 days in New York City, 12 days in Washington, D.C., and 13 days in both Philadelphia and Chicago. Adding up the 18 days of leave with the district's 10 paid holidays and 14 vacation days for both teachers and students, Newark teachers have paid leave for 22 percent of their 192-day work year.


A number of school districts offer ample leave packages, but their teachers still show up. Not in Newark. Last school year, roughly half of the district's teaching corps took at least two weeks of leave, on top of their regular holiday breaks. In fact one out of every four teachers in the district took three weeks of paid leave, about every 12th school day, even though most of this leave is technically termed "sick leave".

The average number of combined sick and personal leave offered teachers among the 101 districts in NCTQ's Tr3 database is 14 days, as shown here.

Sounds like an issue that is right up the alley of New Jersey's governor, Chris Christie, who has to approve the district's new teacher contract. We suggest looking to Boston for some answers. Although teachers there are given 15 days of sick leave, the district both carefully monitors and restricts when leave can be used, so that teachers routinely use less than half the time available to them.