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.