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Teachers' 'work to rule' hurts kids

I am with you in your efforts to gain respect for your profession. But my son cannot get the help he needs because his teachers are "working to the contract."

An Open Letter to EGUSD Teachers:

I am with you in your efforts for an income that truly reflects your value.  I am with you in your efforts to gain respect for your profession. I am with you in your objections to the salaries administrators pull down while cutting programs, classes, teachers, counselors, etc.  I am with you in your outrage that our society no longer wants to pay what it takes to educate our children. I am with you in your cries at the massive bureaucracy and waste and the neverending string of cuts you must accept, and the increasing personal costs imposed on you for you to practice your profession while real reform continues to get pushed down the road.

I am with you in so many ways, as I believe that it is only through education and a system that works for all that we will achieve what we can individually and as a society. I am with you and have been with you for so long.

But, I can no longer be with you when my son comes home and tells me this:  In a year in which he has struggled (for many reasons attributable only to his own decisions and failings), at a time when he is trying to right the ship and make up for his poor decisions, he cannot get the help he needs because his teachers are "working to the contract."  He turns in assignments in which how he does will be critical to showing whether his efforts are showing results, but he must wait weeks for a grade.  He cannot get extra help from teachers because they have a point to make to district decision-makers.  It is impossible for him to talk with his teacher about what he needs to do to do better, because the teacher is simply unavailable. The resources and tools teachers could provide him are no longer available at a critical time of need because his teachers are "working to the contract."

I get the point, I feel your pain and anguish, but in making your point you are, ultimately, doing nothing more than joining the selfish parade of administrators who won't take real pay cuts, bureaucrats who won't look at the excessive cost of redundant layers of bureacracy and do something about it, and taxpayers who no longer want to pay what it takes for a world-class education system. 

I know teachers—most of them, anyway—work hard and are dedicated public servants, providing value that far exceeds the financial and emotional recognition you get from the community at large.  I only wish that the teachers who have decided to "work to the contract" would realize the only point they are making is that they are willing to damage the chances of our children—the individuals who have the least responsibility for the decisions teachers are protesting, but the most to lose as a result of these teachers' decisions.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Marc Daniels February 28, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Let's not loose perspective of what the teachers are fighting and protesting for. They are NOT asking for additional...new things beyond what they currently have. Teachers have paid for health care. Their 2010-2012 agreement included concessions which budgeted for 10% increases to health care for each of the two years. What the district doesn't tell you is that the real increases were only 5%-6%, the teachers over paid for health care through their concessions of furlough days and salary roll backs. I realize that it can be misinterpreted as not paying for health care when there isn't a payment from their paycheck each month. They took an 8% salary cut to pay for health care as well as save class sizes for students. The manner in which they paid for health care should not be manipulated and used as spin to say the district is paying the entire cost. Employees have forgone COLA's, changed providers, increased copays for doctor visits and prescriptions on top of the concessions in paying for health care. In 2010 the teachers voted to take deep cuts in pay/benefits in order the save class sizes. The district told them that these deep cuts were needed, and that agreeing to these cuts would keep them from having to lay-off employees or make benefit changes in 2011. Then, regardless of this agreement, and cuts already made, the district went ahead and made cuts in 2011 anyways. The teachers are fighting to get what the district agreed to do.
Marc Daniels February 28, 2012 at 05:37 PM
The district is spinning this fight as it is all about that $63 they are asking the single teacher to pay. By single, MANY readers take it as meaning individual, as in every teacher would just pay $63. This is evident by comments on other sites such as "$63, what are they whining for I pay $300 every month for my families coverage". By single, the district means "not married, no kids". We have 5 family members on my wife's plan through EGUSD. I looked at what they are proposing, and it is very possible that we could be paying $1000 a month out of pocket just for basic coverage. Having a hard cap leaves the district with ABSOLUTELY no reason to shop for quality coverage and at a reasonable price. They have no stake in it at all. What the voters/tax payers, even those without kids in the district should be outraged by, is that their elected school board, that their public employees are LIEING to them. I would understand these people being upset, but every figure, every statement they are reading in print, and seeing on the news is coming from the district spokespeople. I know the union has their own spin, but their job is to represent the UNION members, not We The People. The leaders of We The People are lieing to us, and we should be outraged.
Graham Stewart March 02, 2012 at 06:27 AM
Video from the protest at the EGUSD board meeting. It states the teacher position rather well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnfOWZ0dh0E&feature=youtu.be
Felicia Mello March 02, 2012 at 05:41 PM
Thanks for posting, Graham!
Stephanie November 16, 2012 at 07:20 PM
I am a teacher in CA and find the debate fascinating. Teachers--stay strong!!! We know how hard we work! Collective bargaining and actions described here are what are available to us as union members. That the public wants to blame teachers for everything is getting BORING. Allow teachers their rights as Anericans. Shame on you for this shame and blame you're trying to heap on educators. I, personally, do not accept it.

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