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Catholics Speak Out Against Restrictive Teacher Contracts - Stay up to date!

Catholics Speak Out Against Restrictive Teacher Contracts

Catholics who oppose the restrictive new teacher contracts in Catholic schools in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Honolulu and Oakland are speaking up. They are concerned that the rights of teachers in their Catholic schools are being eroded and that the bishops issuing these contracts are out of step with the pastoral tone and teaching of Pope Francis.

In Cincinnati, Catholics working with the Voice of the Faithful used billboards to ask, “Would Pope Francis Sign the New Catholic Teacher Contract?” Regina Brett, a Catholic who writes for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, called the contracts “unchristian.”

The Cincinnati and Cleveland contracts redefine “teachers” as “teacher-ministers.” While the Honolulu contracts forgo a contractual redefinition of “teacher,” the Oakland contract incorporates the new minister language under the list of duties. According to experts in the field, such redefinitions could undermine teachers’ ability to contest perceived employer mistreatment in a civil court or unionize to bargain for better wages and working conditions.

The Cincinnati, Cleveland and Honolulu contracts contain lists of explicitly prohibited behaviors assigning high stakes consequences, up to and including termination, to a very narrow body of Catholic doctrine and teaching on sexual morality. Since the contracts also include language that prohibits “public support” of these listed behaviors without defining the term, many Catholics wonder how these contracts will be enforced and how that enforcement will impact the school environment.

Bob Kloos, a Cleveland Catholic, expressed his concern over the contracts this way. “Parents are the first of teachers…Of course, they want authentic Catholic teaching, but they and their kids live in a world that is witnessing evolving cultures and values. We ALL have to find words that describe our understanding of what is loving and inclusive and supportive. That will look more like the reign of God than the tenor and the content of the contracts.”

Catholics have the power to transform the Church toward justice. On May 28th we issued a statement calling on bishops in Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Honolulu to open dialogue with teachers, parents and other stakeholders in their Catholic schools regarding the purpose, scope and content of the new teacher contracts.

This kind of dialogue is occurring in Oakland where students, teachers and parents met with their bishop asking him to modify the contracts. It is a request he has agreed to undertake. Go to futurechurch.org to learn more.

FutureChurch Statement on the Teacher Contracts

FutureChurch Comparison of Teacher Contracts

Cincinnati Contract

Cleveland Contract

Columbus Contract

Oakland Contract

Honolulu Contract


Lessons in Catholic Judgement?  NY Times  

Cleveland diocese issues more specific "morality clause" prohibitions for elementary school teachers Cleveland Plain Dealer 

Morality pledge violates pope's own morals: Cleveland Plain Dealer

Catholic schools' new "morality clause": The Cincinnati dispute, a key Supreme Court case, and what schools are affected Cleveland Plain Dealer

Catholic teacher contracts specifies banned practices   Cincinnati Enquirer 


Marchers seek change to teachers' contract Cincinnati Enquirer 


Contract that defines teachers as ministers raise labor questionsNational Catholic Reporter


Contract for Cincinnati archdiocese teachers builds walls, not bridgesNational Catholic Reporter


Catholic teachers' contracts and the Culture Wars: Jim Rigg




would pope francis Sign