Miami School District Negotiation Paper
MGT/445 Organizational Negotiations
Miami School District Negotiation Paper
The Miami school district has recently experienced a large number of enrollments and needs to come up with a plan to solve the increase in student population. The school districts solution involves rezoning school boundaries to even out classroom size. Parents have concerns about the restructuring of the boundaries and the school board needs to formulate a plan and select a negotiation strategy to address these concerns. The purpose of this analysis is to identify a negotiation strategy that supports the school boards need to redraw school boundaries, addresses the concerns of stakeholders, and explains how ethics and culture affect the chosen strategy.
To formulate an effective negotiation strategy, both the stakeholders and their concerns must be identified. The stakeholders involved in the Miami school districts rezoning plan are the students and parents. The students will be affected by the decision because many will have to leave their present school and attend a new one. The parents of these students have concerns about the new boundaries and how the changes will affect their children’s quality of education. Additionally, parents are concerned about increased travel time, affects on property value, and the social effects on their children. These parents are also tax payers who will be funding the school board’s decision to rezone the district.
The Miami school district will use a win-win strategy and tactics to convince parents that rezoning will be the best solution for the students. Integrative strategy will be used because the goals of the stakeholders and school district are not equally limited, and there is an opportunity to create value by bringing benefits to the table (Lewicki, Saunders, & Barry, 2006). The school district must create issue “packages” claiming an equal benefit for the students and school district. An analysis of parent concerns must be formed and the school district must decide how to appropriately address these concerns.
The negotiation strategy will be to reassure parents that the goal of the school district is to do what’s best for the students and that the reasoning behind redrawing boundaries is to reduce class size. The school district must be able to show that if class sizes are not evened out, students will ultimately suffer and additional consequences will occur. The goal of the Miami school district is to provide quality education and develop long standing relationships with the parents. The school district will have to take a bilateral approach to the negotiation by having the parents involved (Lewicki, Saunders, & Barry, 2006). The school district must make it clear to the parents that the reason behind the rezoning decision is to maintain a quality school life for the students, without overcrowding the classrooms.
Quality of Education
Quality of education is a great concern among parents. Parents are concerned that the quality of education will change for the students if they have to attend a different school. By redrawing the school district boundaries, students will be removed from their current teachers and classmates and placed in the uncomfortable position of adjusting to new ones. The school district must assure both parents and students that educational goals will not be affected by the new boundaries. School officials should explain that the state currently has sanctions that require teachers be certified through the State of Florida to teach in a specific field. Additionally, all employees must undergo a background check before being hired.
Increased Travel Time
The amount of time to commute for some students may increase dramatically with the new rezoning plan. Parents are concerned about time management issues between home and school because some students will be required to leave earlier and get home later. Parents may also have to adjust their work schedules to accommodate these new changes. Additionally, students may be required to stay in class for a longer period of time. However, a study conducted by The Miami-Dade County school district, showed that longer school days do not affect a students ability to learn (Anonymous, 2009). If the new zoning plan does not get approved, students face the risk of attempting to learn in crowded classrooms and not receive adequate time with teachers. The school board needs to reassure parents that the extra commute will be worth the quality of education and social differences that the students may experience.
Crossing Economic and Cultural Boundaries
Economic and cultural issues will undoubtedly create concerns for both parents and students. The school board must make a strong effort to understand and appreciate the cultural differences and norms among stakeholders. Failure to understand the culture of a person or group that you are negotiating with can be a major mistake (Bauer, 2009). Students with different cultures and economic classes interacting together should be viewed as a positive aspect, however, some parents consider this a negative because of crime and other issues associated with ethical stereotypes. According to Lewicki, Saunders, and Barry (2006), the issue could possibly be unethical or morally inappropriate because students are being judged due to social class or culture. The school district should address the issue but remind parents of the positive implications that culture plays in a student’s education.
Affect on Property Value
Parents are concerned that property values may be affected once school district zones are assigned. Although quality schools tend to increase property values, the opposite may hold true of schools that have a poor reputation in the community. Additionally, some families may be forced to move if they desire that their children attend a specific school no longer located in their area. The school district should acknowledge that it understands schools can be a priority when choosing real estate. The school district can commit to forming an alliance with real estate organizations to ensure buyers that the Miami school district provides the highest level of quality education.
The social effects of the rezoning plan may have both positive and negative effects on students. While younger students tend to adjust to social change more effectively than older students, any change to accustomed routines may cause a student stress. Students that have built relationships at their current school may be traumatized by sudden changes. Additionally, schools tend to resemble the culture that surrounds them. Parents may have a particular opinion of certain areas within the district and may not want their children around any perceived negative influence. Cultural norms, values, and ethics may vary from school to school based on location. What may have been acceptable by parents and students at one school, may conflict considerably at another. Although the Miami school district would like to retain students and taxpayer funding, they should point out that parents have options other than public education. Options such as home schooling, private, or charter schools, are also available.
To have an effective negotiation, the school district must recognize the concerns of students and parents and make every effort to address them appropriately. In contrast, the school district should present their plan in such a way as to gain support and understanding of the necessity to rezone. The school district should prepare a solid defense of their plan and be prepared to address parties that may not clearly understand the issues. Preparing research that compares similar situations with positive outcomes may help considerably. Having a public agenda in a town hall meeting might assure the public that their concerns are important and that the school district is doing everything possible to accommodate them.
Ultimately, ensuring a quality of education for students should remain the top priority. An integrative strategy allows both the stakeholders and school district the opportunity to present their cases while seeking a solution that everyone can appreciate and understand. Though there will be those on both sides that feel that they have come out on the losing end of the negotiation, proper planning and research by both parties will make the process smoother for everyone.
This negotiation analysis examined the Miami school districts rezoning plan and provided a recommended negotiation strategy based on stakeholder concerns, ethics, and culture. Regardless of the outcome, no easy answers exist concerning the topic of redistricting. There will always be parents who are unhappy that their children must change schools, or are being forced to travel farther than they would like. Unfortunately, this is an unavoidable byproduct of an increasing population. Although there are no perfect solutions, it is through proper preparation and an understanding of negotiations, that an appropriate decision can be made.
Anonymous. (2009, August). Longer School Day and Year Trials Yield Different Results.
District Administration, Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database.
Bauer, T., (2009). Organizational Behavior. Retrieved from http://www.flatworldknowledge.com/node/1450
Lewicki, R., Saunders, D., and Barry, B. (2006) Negotiation (5th ed.) McGraw Hill, New York,
NY. Retrieved from UOP eResource