Boston Teachers Union reaches tentative agreement with Boston Public Schools

The agreement "is all about putting better practices in place," said Boston School Committee chairperson Jeri Robinson.

Mayor Michelle Wu and Boston Teachers Union President Jessica Tang during the announcement of the tentative agreement at the AFT Convention in Boston on Thursday. Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

The Boston Teachers Union and Boston Public Schools have reached a tentative contract agreement that seeks to overhaul how the city’s school system approaches special education and to restructure the district’s inclusion policy.

The agreement was announced Thursday morning by union President Jessica Tang and Mayor Michelle Wu at the American Federation of Teacher’s convention at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

The deal specifically targets a redesign of the district’s special education through reducing class sizes and bolstering collaboration among school employees to better assess needs of students who have individualized education plans (IEPs) and/or who are English language learners, according to a press release from BPS.


“For far too long in Boston, students with disabilities and their families have faced a system that neither recognizes nor delivers what every child deserves,” Wu said in the statement. “I’m proud of an agreement that supports our educators and takes concrete steps towards building a special education and inclusion model that will help us make Boston a city for everyone.” 

In a report released in May, the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education outlined major concerns with BPS’s inability to adequately manage its core operations, including critical academic supports for special education and English language students.

Last month, in a deal to avoid a potential state takeover of BPS, the city pledged to redesign services for those students. The agreement between the BTU and BPS appears to integrate those promises into the district’s contract with the 10,000 teachers and other school professionals in the BTU.

The tentative agreement also makes “significant strides” on improving the district’s inclusion policies and practices, according to school officials.

In the press release, the two parties tout the deal “will facilitate a higher level of collaboration among general education, special education, related service providers, and support staff to implement and model a fully inclusive school district.”


More specifically, the district will expand inclusive practices to increase “opportunities for all students regardless of their level of need.”

“As educators, the needs of our students are our number one priority and this agreement lays the foundation to achieve what we call ‘inclusion done right’ for the benefit of all students within the Boston Public Schools,” Tang said in a statement. “It is our fundamental belief that – when fully supported and staffed – all students benefit from classrooms that are inclusive and equitable. That means working collaboratively to take into account the learning experiences and needs of students with disabilities and the needs of English Learners and ensuring that those who are most impacted have a voice in creating the conditions for success.”

Boston School Committee chairperson Jeri Robinson said the agreement “is all about putting better practices in place.”

“This deal takes important steps for our children so that their needs are being met and ensures that – especially when it comes to inclusion – we are collaboratively improving our policies and practices for the benefit of our students,” Robinson said in a statement.

Other commitments in the agreement include assurances BPS is dedicated to having needed academic supports for all students through data-driven decision making, providing more funding for staff training, granting adequate planning time for teachers, creating an inclusive education liaison position through the 2026-2027 school year, and providing paid parental leave to all education staff, among other provisions.


Once the union ratifies the contract, the School Committee can vote to approve it at an upcoming meeting.


This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on